Women Are Half Of Video Gamers, So Where Are The Female Video Game Characters?

Trump’s election ushered in a political winter doomed to last at least four years, assuming he escapes impeachment. Since then, creatives in virtually every industry have responded by turning Trump’s inflammatory soundbites into kindling for the artistic fire. TV shows such as Netflix’s Dear White People and The Handmaid’s Tale have played on the anxieties induced by the barely veiled misogyny and racism in his rhetoric. In cinema we see films such as BlacKkKlansman, Battle of the Sexes and The Post capturing the tension of the era with prescience, given their long production cycles. Resistance politics has also erupted off the screen in the #MeToo movement.

Video games have been all but absent from this conversation – though the medium is no less capable of meaningful cultural narratives that capture the zeitgeist. Out of dozens of titles released in 2018 for the PS4 and Xbox One, I count only two that could be read as Trumpian satire. Far Cry 5 depicts an impoverished middle America being slowly taken over by a mind-controlling religious cult – though it has nothing to say about America or current US politics. Detroit: Become Human depicts a world where androids are becoming ubiquitous and causing mass unemployment; angry humans to want to destroy them, leaving it up to the androids to prove that they are deserving of life. The setting is significant: the game makes clunky references to Detroit’s history as a route for escaped slaves to cross from the US into Canada via the underground railroad, and its racism allegory is not exactly subtle.

But two titles does not a resistance make. Dmitri Williams, associate professor at the University of Southern California, is an expert in the video game industry and offers some insight as to why we might be seeing a lag in the medium’s response to the political shift. “The most obvious reason why we aren’t seeing a tidal wave of progressive game content right now is that the production cycles on the larger titles can be pretty long – [maybe] two or three years. So a game that’s already in development will have a harder time reacting to current events of any type,” he says. “Most of the really big titles already have a mythology and backstory and are on sequel tracks. We shouldn’t expect the next Call of Duty or Assassin’s Creed to be ripped from the headlines.”

> An aggressively satirical parade of games … Trump’s Rampage at the GOP Convention – part of the GOP Arcade. > Facebook > Twitter > Pinterest
An aggressively satirical parade of games … Trump’s Rampage at the GOP Convention – part of the GOP Arcade. Photograph: GOP Arcade

But surely writers working on sequels or franchises, inflamed by righteous fury, could introduce characters or plotlines that tackled today’s issues, if they were so inclined? Perhaps not. The US games industry is neither as centralised nor as left-leaning as Hollywood, after all. And if almost half of the US electorate voted for Trump, that’s a lot of potential buyers to alienate.

This is the elephant in the room: would an association between gaming consumers and the Trump brigade really be that surprising? Observers learned during Gamergate – a viral harassment campaign that sought to undermine mostly female gaming critics and developers using troll tactics that we now all recognise from the “alt-right” – that some corners of the gaming world could be a dark place. Game communities, and often developers, congregate in online forums like Reddit, a space they share with incels and the far right. Is the dearth of anti-Trump commentary perhaps because a lot of gamers are pro-Trump?

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Williams argues that, if there is a pro-Trump contingent in gaming, it’s merely reflecting the population as a whole. “If you mean stereotypes, then sure, young men are probably more likely to be awful trolls than older men or women of any age. Are the trolls a majority? No, I doubt it,” he says.

“One of the major findings over the past couple of decades is that game players are more and more reflective of population means for race, gender and age. So we should factor in that while a significant chunk of Americans are pro-Trump, a similar proportion of game players will be as well. Most profit-driven enterprises have to balance their artistic and political leanings with the need to satisfy a larger audience.”

> Throwing ‘immigrants’ over the wall … Trump Toss. > Facebook > Twitter > Pinterest
Throwing ‘immigrants’ over the wall … Trump Toss. Photograph: GOP Arcade

One place that game developers have found their agitant voices is in the indie gaming community. This is thanks in part to speedy production schedules – indie games can be made in a year, rather than four. But it’s also facilitated by different market demands and dynamics, says Katherine Cross, a sociologist and gaming critic. While mainstream games pander to the lowest common denominator, and fear reprisals from a vocal minority, indie games enjoy more political freedom.

“To be blunt, big studios are defined by their cowardice towards the angriest fans,” she says. “Indie developers don’t have the same perverse incentives, because they don’t see themselves as catering to a mob of superfans. Instead, they’re after niche markets, or art for art’s sake. Other indie developers are after the vast market of players who are often disregarded by mainline studios … these people play all the big console and PC games, but they’re also not the shouty hardcore folks who harass developers the minute something happens that they don’t like.”

Indie gaming platform itch.io reveals scores of anti-Trump games, including such titles as Dunk on Trump, Slap the Trump and indie developer Luke Rigley’s Push Trump, in which the player is required to find ways “to push Donald Trump into pools of water, framed by the idea that you are a protester at one of his public appearances”. “The game was developed during Trump’s visit to the UK,” Rigley says. “I wasn’t able to attend any protests in person, and was learning a new game engine at the time, so I saw it as an opportunity to turn a learning exercise into a small online protest against his visit.”

Meanwhile, the GOP Arcade features an aggressively satirical parade of games focused on but not limited to skewering Trump, from Trump’s Pussy Grabber to Oregon Trail pastiche The Voter Suppression Trail and the sobering Thoughts and Prayers. Trump Toss has a pixel Trump throwing “immigrants” over a newly built wall.

> The last human ride-share driver in Los Ojos … Neo Cab. > Facebook > Twitter > Pinterest
The last human ride-share driver in Los Ojos … Neo Cab. Photograph: Chance Agency

Though the political statements in such small-scale, sometimes crude games might not make a huge splash, they show that the spirit of resistance is alive. Cross believes that if you look a little harder, you can see it elsewhere. “I think the indie games that best respond to Trump are the ones that recognise he’s part of a system, and then address themselves to that system, rather than a game that, say, makes fun of his tiny hands,” she says.

Neo Cab, where you play as the last human ride-share driver in the cyberpunk city of Los Ojos, digs deep into modern politics in a way that transcends Trump and looks instead at the economic system that sustains men like him. And an older game by Love Conquers All has found new relevance,’” she adds. “Analogue: A Hate Story explores a religious patriarchy formed on a generation ship in deep space, with eerie parallels to something like A Handmaid’s Tale, written with as much perspicacity.”

If you want to find themes of leftwing resistance in video games, you have to know where to look for them – and that’s usually not in the biggest games, which, like summer movie blockbusters, tend to shirk political responsibility in favour of mass-market appeal.

But plenty of independent games are setting their sights on the unfair, prejudiced and neoliberal systems that Trump represents. As his first term bulldozes on, we’ll surely see more of them.

Source : https://www.theguardian.com/games/2018/dec/07/video-games-cultural-resistance-trump

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Women Are Half Of Video Gamers, So Where Are The Female Video Game Characters?

Source:The Guardian

Women Are Half Of Video Gamers, So Where Are The Female Video Game Characters?

Women Are Half Of Video Gamers, So Where Are The Female Video Game Characters?

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Women Are Half Of Video Gamers, So Where Are The Female Video Game Characters?

Women Are Half Of Video Gamers, So Where Are The Female Video Game Characters?

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Women Are Half Of Video Gamers, So Where Are The Female Video Game Characters?

Women Are Half Of Video Gamers, So Where Are The Female Video Game Characters?

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Women Are Half Of Video Gamers, So Where Are The Female Video Game Characters?

Women Are Half Of Video Gamers, So Where Are The Female Video Game Characters?

Source:YAHOO!

Women Are Half Of Video Gamers, So Where Are The Female Video Game Characters?