Digital Games


Published on

MAC129 lecture slides

  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Digital Games

  1. 1. MAC129 [email_address]
  2. 2. Outline <ul><li>Historical business </li></ul><ul><li>Popular claims </li></ul><ul><li>Gender </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>April 2008 </li></ul><ul><li>Day 1 = 3.6m copies sold ($310m) </li></ul><ul><li>Week 1 = 6m copies sold (£500m) </li></ul><ul><li>August 2008 </li></ul><ul><li>10m+ sales and counting </li></ul>
  4. 4. Historical business <ul><li>A struggle to define a place for early games </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(see Marvin, 1988; Poole, 2004) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Historical accounts tend to be lists of names and dates </li></ul>
  5. 5. First game? Spacewar! 1962 (Steven Russell) Tennis For Two 1958 (William Higginbotham)
  6. 6. Cold War kids 1950s …. <ul><li>Emerged during a period of intense socio-economic and geo-political changes: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Space Race (USSR) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cold War paranoia (nuclear anxiety) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Decline of heavy industry </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Major changes in life style </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Advent of domestic mass communication </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Consumer confidence </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Game development <ul><li>Largely due to </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ 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” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>(Kerr, 2006: 14; see also Haddon, 1988; 1993) </li></ul></ul></ul>
  8. 8. First commercial systems <ul><li>Baer/Magnavox Odyssey console </li></ul><ul><li>(domestic launch 1972) </li></ul><ul><li>Nintendo’s first console! </li></ul><ul><li>Nolan Bushnell’s/Atari arcade machine – Pong </li></ul><ul><li>(public launch 1972) </li></ul>
  9. 9. 1976-1986: 2 nd & 3 rd Gen <ul><li>Atari 2600 </li></ul><ul><li>Nintendo NES </li></ul><ul><li>Sega Master System </li></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>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 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Poole (2000:18) </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. 1987-1992: 4 th Gen <ul><li>Sega vs Nintendo </li></ul><ul><li>Mega Drive (Genesis) </li></ul><ul><li>SNES (Super Famicom) </li></ul><ul><li>Also rans: </li></ul><ul><li>PC Engine/TurboGrafx </li></ul><ul><li>Neo Geo </li></ul>
  12. 12. 1993-2002: 5 th Gen <ul><li>CD vs cartridge era: </li></ul><ul><li>1993 Atari Jaguar </li></ul><ul><li>1993 3DO </li></ul><ul><li>1993 Amiga CD32 </li></ul><ul><li>1994 Sony PS </li></ul><ul><li>1995 Sega Saturn </li></ul><ul><li>1996 Nintendo 64 </li></ul>
  13. 13. 1998-2006: 6 th Gen <ul><li>1998 Sega Dreamcast </li></ul><ul><li>2000 Sony PS2 </li></ul><ul><li>2001 Microsoft Xbox </li></ul><ul><li>2001 Nintendo Gamecube </li></ul><ul><li>Note: </li></ul><ul><li>Era of online gaming consoles begins ( sort of! ) </li></ul>
  14. 14. 2004-? 7 th Gen <ul><li>2005 Xbox 360 </li></ul><ul><li>2006 Sony PS3 </li></ul><ul><li>2006 Nintendo Wii </li></ul><ul><li>Broadband gaming </li></ul><ul><li>Home entertainment devices? </li></ul>
  15. 15. Popular claims <ul><li>Health and violence – negative associations </li></ul><ul><li>Columbine shooting: Doom </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Car-jacking: Grand Theft Auto </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Stabbings: Manhunt </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. <ul><li> </li></ul>
  17. 17. (un)Popular claims <ul><li>Positive claims? </li></ul><ul><li>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) </li></ul><ul><li>Safe environment to enact fantasy </li></ul><ul><li>Creativity of ‘modders’ </li></ul>
  18. 18. Cultural context?
  19. 19. <ul><li>Representations are never innocent. </li></ul><ul><li>Representations are always a ‘construction’ in accordance with the producer’s politics. </li></ul>
  20. 20. <ul><li>Blacks as animalistic, violent and dangerous. </li></ul>
  21. 21.
  22. 22.
  23. 23. <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  24. 24.
  25. 25.
  26. 26. Gender <ul><li>Studies of digital games have noted a ‘consistent pattern of male technocratic privilege’ </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(Williams, cited in Kerr, 2006: 19). </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Game development & design, production, marketing & construction, dominated by heterosexual masculine fantasies </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Gansmo et al (2003) </li></ul></ul>
  27. 27. <ul><li>Traditional stereotype of femininity evoked </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Relationships </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Romance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Emotions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Role-play </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Gansmo (2003): little understanding within the industry about how game design might be linked to gender socialisation </li></ul>
  28. 28. <ul><li>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 </li></ul>
  29. 29. Social construction of gender?
  30. 30. <ul><li>Gender as performance (Butler, 1990) </li></ul><ul><li>Interaction with people/ideas </li></ul><ul><li>We negotiate our gendered identity </li></ul><ul><li>Implications for: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Gender differences in gaming preferences </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The gendering of gaming technologies and the impact on identity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The gendering of game characters </li></ul></ul>
  31. 31. Playing games, performing gender <ul><li>Funk (1993): 75% of females play games at home (90% males) </li></ul><ul><li>Colwell and Payne (2000): 88% of females aged 12-14 play games regularly </li></ul><ul><li>ESA (2004): 39% of US gamers are female and females account for 40% of online players. </li></ul><ul><li>Krotoski (2004): approx 25% of gamers are female in Europe, compared to 70% in Korea </li></ul><ul><li>Crawford & Gosling (2005): Women much less likely to play the older they get </li></ul>
  32. 32. Krotoski, 2004: 10
  33. 33. <ul><li>‘ Nintendo's Wii console captures new game market’ </li></ul><ul><li>(John Sterlicchi, Oct 2007) </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul>
  34. 34. <ul><li>Access to gadgets in home is not gender neutral </li></ul><ul><li>Highly masculine and potentially hostile to females </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  35. 35.
  36. 36. Domestic access <ul><li>Space </li></ul><ul><ul><li>a greater percentage of girls’ play has been centred in or around the home </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Time </li></ul><ul><ul><li>females still spend more time engaged in domestic labour than males (typically 1.5 hours per day more than males in the UK) </li></ul></ul>
  37. 37. Gendered gaming spaces outside the home <ul><li>Predominantly masculine environments </li></ul><ul><ul><li>arcades, pubs, motorway service stations </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Women at LAN parties tend to be in a supportive role </li></ul><ul><li>When they do compete the media portrays them as: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Exotic </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sexualised </li></ul></ul>
  38. 38. Game content <ul><li>Low number of playable female characters </li></ul><ul><li>Abundance of stereotypes </li></ul><ul><li>Masculine themes </li></ul><ul><li>The damsel in distress </li></ul>
  39. 39. Positive moves? <ul><li>1991: Nintendo release Barbie Game Girl for Game Boy </li></ul><ul><li>1996: Mattel release Barbie Fashion Designer </li></ul><ul><li>2000: The Sims </li></ul><ul><li>2003: Linden Research launches Second Life </li></ul><ul><li>2004: The Sims 2 </li></ul><ul><li>2004: SCEEurope release karaoke title SingStar on PS2 </li></ul><ul><li>2006: Sony launches pink PS2 and PSP </li></ul>
  40. 40. Children Now study (2000) <ul><li>92% games have a male lead (54% female) </li></ul><ul><li>50% women portrayed in a stereotypical way. </li></ul><ul><li>38% displayed women with significant body exposure (23% breasts; 31% thighs; 15% backsides; 31% stomachs/midriffs) </li></ul><ul><li>Female characters defined by ‘disproportionately large’ breasts (38%) and ‘excessively tiny’ waists (46%) </li></ul>
  41. 41.
  42. 42. Positive figures?
  43. 43. Conclusion <ul><li>History of games has been male dominated </li></ul><ul><li>Industry can be conservative and not welcome change (can be risky) </li></ul><ul><li>Women increasingly more important to the industry </li></ul>
  44. 44. Sources <ul><li>Jo Bryce & Jason Rutter, 2003, ‘Gender dynamics and the social and spatial organisation of computer gaming’, Leisure Studies , 22: 1-15 </li></ul><ul><li>Jo Bryce, Jason Rutter and Cath Sullivan, 2006, ‘Digital games and gender’, in Jason Rutter & Jo Bryce (eds.), Understanding Digital Games , London: Sage. </li></ul><ul><li>Judith Butler, 1990, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity , London: Routledge. </li></ul><ul><li>Children Now, 2000, Girls and Gaming: A Console Video Game Content Analysis , Oakland, CA: Children Now </li></ul><ul><li>J. Colwell & J. Payne, 2000, ‘Negative correlates of computer game play in adolescents’, British Journal of Psychology , 91: 295-310. </li></ul><ul><li>G. Crawford & V. Gosling, 2005, ‘Toys for boys? Women’s marginalization and participation as digital gamers’, Sociological Research Online, 10, (1), </li></ul><ul><li>T.L. Dietz, 1998, ‘An Examination of violence and gender role portrayals in video games’, Sex Roles , 38 (5-6): 425-42 </li></ul><ul><li>J. B. Funk, 1993, ‘Re-evaluating the impact of computer games’, Clinical Paediatrics , 32: 86-90 </li></ul><ul><li>Aleks Krotoski, 2004, ‘Chicks and joysticks: an exploration of women and gaming’, ELSPA white paper, </li></ul><ul><li>Carolyn Marvin, 1988, When Old Technologies Were New. Thinking about Electric Communication in the Late Nineteenth Century , New York: Oxford University Press </li></ul><ul><li>Steven Poole, 2000, Trigger Happy: the inner life of videogames , London: Fourth Estate </li></ul><ul><li>Steven Poole, 2004, Trigger Happy: videogames and the entertainment revolution , New York: Arcade Publishing </li></ul><ul><li>G. R. Schott & K.R. Horrell, 2000, ‘Girl gamers and their relationship with the gaming culture’ Convergence , 6: 36-53 </li></ul>