Dec 01, 2008
MAC129 lecture slides
Day 1 = 3.6m copies sold ($310m)
Week 1 = 6m copies sold (£500m)
Historical business A struggle to define a place for early games (see Marvin, 1988; Poole, 2004)
Historical accounts tend to be lists of names and dates
First game? Spacewar! 1962 (Steven Russell) Tennis For Two 1958 (William Higginbotham)
Cold War kids 1950s …. Emerged during a period of intense socio-economic and geo-political changes: Cold War paranoia (nuclear anxiety) Decline of heavy industry Major changes in life style
Advent of domestic mass communication
Game development “ university computing departments, the military, the interest of the first game developers, the first games and the subsequent development of game playing as an activity embraced largely by young males”
(Kerr, 2006: 14; see also Haddon, 1988; 1993)
First commercial systems Baer/Magnavox Odyssey console Nintendo’s first console!
Nolan Bushnell’s/Atari arcade machine – Pong
1976-1986: 2 nd & 3 rd Gen
The big players in the late 1980s and early 1990s were two Japanese giants: Nintendo with its Nintendo Entertainment System (or Famicom) and the more powerful Super NES; and the Sega, with its Megadrive ... [They] inspired fanatical loyalty. They were the Beatles and the Stones of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Nintendo was the Beatles; wholesome fun for all the family ... Sega, on the other hand, were the snarling, street-smart gang, roughing it up for the hardcore videogame fans
1987-1992: 4 th Gen
1993-2002: 5 th Gen
1998-2006: 6 th Gen
Era of online gaming consoles begins ( sort of! )
2004-? 7 th Gen
Home entertainment devices?
Popular claims Health and violence – negative associations http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/1295920.stm Car-jacking: Grand Theft Auto http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/3680481.stm
(un)Popular claims Surgeons who played games for at least 3 hours a week made ‘37% fewer errors, were 27% faster’ than surgeons who did not play games. (Hall, 2007)
Safe environment to enact fantasy
Representations are never innocent.
Representations are always a ‘construction’ in accordance with the producer’s politics.
Blacks as animalistic, violent and dangerous.
Gender Studies of digital games have noted a ‘consistent pattern of male technocratic privilege’ (Williams, cited in Kerr, 2006: 19).
Game development & design, production, marketing & construction, dominated by heterosexual masculine fantasies
Traditional stereotype of femininity evoked
Gansmo (2003): little understanding within the industry about how game design might be linked to gender socialisation
Games are a ‘ prime example of the social construction of gender ’ (Cassell and Jenkins, 1998: 37) and they may significantly influence people’s attitudes towards the use of computers in school or later career choices
Social construction of gender?
Gender as performance (Butler, 1990) Interaction with people/ideas We negotiate our gendered identity Gender differences in gaming preferences The gendering of gaming technologies and the impact on identity
The gendering of game characters
Playing games, performing gender Funk (1993): 75% of females play games at home (90% males) Colwell and Payne (2000): 88% of females aged 12-14 play games regularly ESA (2004): 39% of US gamers are female and females account for 40% of online players. Krotoski (2004): approx 25% of gamers are female in Europe, compared to 70% in Korea
Crawford & Gosling (2005): Women much less likely to play the older they get
Krotoski, 2004: 10
‘ Nintendo's Wii console captures new game market’ (John Sterlicchi, Oct 2007)
Access to gadgets in home is not gender neutral
Highly masculine and potentially hostile to females
Domestic access a greater percentage of girls’ play has been centred in or around the home
females still spend more time engaged in domestic labour than males (typically 1.5 hours per day more than males in the UK)
Gendered gaming spaces outside the home Predominantly masculine environments arcades, pubs, motorway service stations Women at LAN parties tend to be in a supportive role
When they do compete the media portrays them as:
Low number of playable female characters
Positive moves? 1991: Nintendo release Barbie Game Girl for Game Boy 1996: Mattel release Barbie Fashion Designer 2003: Linden Research launches Second Life 2004: SCEEurope release karaoke title SingStar on PS2
2006: Sony launches pink PS2 and PSP
Children Now study (2000) 92% games have a male lead (54% female) 50% women portrayed in a stereotypical way. 38% displayed women with significant body exposure (23% breasts; 31% thighs; 15% backsides; 31% stomachs/midriffs)
Female characters defined by ‘disproportionately large’ breasts (38%) and ‘excessively tiny’ waists (46%)
Conclusion History of games has been male dominated Industry can be conservative and not welcome change (can be risky)
Women increasingly more important to the industry
Sources Jo Bryce & Jason Rutter, 2003, ‘Gender dynamics and the social and spatial organisation of computer gaming’, Leisure Studies , 22: 1-15 Jo Bryce, Jason Rutter and Cath Sullivan, 2006, ‘Digital games and gender’, in Jason Rutter & Jo Bryce (eds.), Understanding Digital Games , London: Sage. Judith Butler, 1990, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity , London: Routledge. Children Now, 2000, Girls and Gaming: A Console Video Game Content Analysis , Oakland, CA: Children Now J. Colwell & J. Payne, 2000, ‘Negative correlates of computer game play in adolescents’, British Journal of Psychology , 91: 295-310. G. Crawford & V. Gosling, 2005, ‘Toys for boys? Women’s marginalization and participation as digital gamers’, Sociological Research Online, 10, (1), http://www.socresonline.org.uk/10/1/crawford.html T.L. Dietz, 1998, ‘An Examination of violence and gender role portrayals in video games’, Sex Roles , 38 (5-6): 425-42 J. B. Funk, 1993, ‘Re-evaluating the impact of computer games’, Clinical Paediatrics , 32: 86-90 Aleks Krotoski, 2004, ‘Chicks and joysticks: an exploration of women and gaming’, ELSPA white paper, http://www.elspa.com/assets/files/c/chicksandjoysticksanexplorationofwomenandgaming_176.pdf Carolyn Marvin, 1988, When Old Technologies Were New. Thinking about Electric Communication in the Late Nineteenth Century , New York: Oxford University Press Steven Poole, 2000, Trigger Happy: the inner life of videogames , London: Fourth Estate Steven Poole, 2004, Trigger Happy: videogames and the entertainment revolution , New York: Arcade Publishing
G. R. Schott & K.R. Horrell, 2000, ‘Girl gamers and their relationship with the gaming culture’ Convergence , 6: 36-53