Digital Games
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MAC129 lecture slides

MAC129 lecture slides

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    Digital Games Digital Games Presentation Transcript

    • MAC129 [email_address]
    • Outline
      • Historical business
      • Popular claims
      • Gender
      • April 2008
      • Day 1 = 3.6m copies sold ($310m)
      • Week 1 = 6m copies sold (£500m)
      • August 2008
      • 10m+ sales and counting
    • 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:
        • Space Race (USSR)
        • Cold War paranoia (nuclear anxiety)
        • Decline of heavy industry
        • Major changes in life style
        • Advent of domestic mass communication
        • Consumer confidence
    • Game development
      • Largely due to
        • “ 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
      • (domestic launch 1972)
      • Nintendo’s first console!
      • Nolan Bushnell’s/Atari arcade machine – Pong
      • (public launch 1972)
    • 1976-1986: 2 nd & 3 rd Gen
      • Atari 2600
      • Nintendo NES
      • Sega Master System
      • 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
        • Poole (2000:18)
    • 1987-1992: 4 th Gen
      • Sega vs Nintendo
      • Mega Drive (Genesis)
      • SNES (Super Famicom)
      • Also rans:
      • PC Engine/TurboGrafx
      • Neo Geo
    • 1993-2002: 5 th Gen
      • CD vs cartridge era:
      • 1993 Atari Jaguar
      • 1993 3DO
      • 1993 Amiga CD32
      • 1994 Sony PS
      • 1995 Sega Saturn
      • 1996 Nintendo 64
    • 1998-2006: 6 th Gen
      • 1998 Sega Dreamcast
      • 2000 Sony PS2
      • 2001 Microsoft Xbox
      • 2001 Nintendo Gamecube
      • Note:
      • Era of online gaming consoles begins ( sort of! )
    • 2004-? 7 th Gen
      • 2005 Xbox 360
      • 2006 Sony PS3
      • 2006 Nintendo Wii
      • Broadband gaming
      • Home entertainment devices?
    • Popular claims
      • Health and violence – negative associations
      • Columbine shooting: Doom
        • 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
      • Stabbings: Manhunt
        • http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/3936237.stm
      • http://nexgenwars.com/
    • (un)Popular claims
      • Positive 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
      • Creativity of ‘modders’
    • Cultural context?
      • Representations are never innocent.
      • Representations are always a ‘construction’ in accordance with the producer’s politics.
      • Blacks as animalistic, violent and dangerous.
      • http://www.feministgamers.com/?p=466
      • http://shakespearessister.blogspot.com/2008/07/i-write-letters.html
      • http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2008/07/23/well-that-was-bound-to-happen/
    • 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
        • Gansmo et al (2003)
      • Traditional stereotype of femininity evoked
        • Relationships
        • Romance
        • Emotions
        • Role-play
      • 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
      • Implications for:
        • 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)
        • http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2007/oct/10/usnews.internationalnews
      • Access to gadgets in home is not gender neutral
      • Highly masculine and potentially hostile to females
      • www.girlzclan.com
      • www.everground.com
    • Domestic access
      • Space
        • a greater percentage of girls’ play has been centred in or around the home
      • Time
        • 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:
        • Exotic
        • Sexualised
    • Game content
      • Low number of playable female characters
      • Abundance of stereotypes
      • Masculine themes
      • The damsel in distress
    • Positive moves?
      • 1991: Nintendo release Barbie Game Girl for Game Boy
      • 1996: Mattel release Barbie Fashion Designer
      • 2000: The Sims
      • 2003: Linden Research launches Second Life
      • 2004: The Sims 2
      • 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%)
    • Positive figures?
    • 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