Alert for Feminist Gamers
Holly Combe // 22 May 2008
The online gaming magazine Thirteen 1 has launched a campaign against the bad press received by the gaming industry for its alleged negative influence on young people (scroll through to page 15 in the issue above). Now, despite not being a gamer myself, I’m all for that. Indeed, I know quite a few highly progressive people who take gaming very seriously and would probably take a rather dim view of it being scapegoated as a Bad Thing because of the sexism that exists within some games. The trouble is that this cause is not exactly being helped by the fact that the article about their campaign comes directly after a piece about the rather pathetic “Miss Bimbo” game that Jess blogged about back in March (scroll through to page 12 in Thirteen1).
I’m pretty much split 50/50 with regard to whether this game is worthy of critique (just make sure you do this if you link to them for reference anywhere). However, you might be interested to have a look at the rather poorly argued comments from Nicolas Jacquart, a partner in the company behind the game, in Thirteen1’s article. If these are anything to go by, I’d say any feminist gamers who fancy dropping the game makers a line in the “Ask Miss Bimbo” discussion in the thirteen1.com forum that’s online right now will have an easy debating job on their hands. According to Jacquart, “any publicity is good publicity” (handy silencing strategy there!) and he has hit out at their critics with this particularly weasley line:
With the way they over-protect young females, you could almost say it’s sexism from the media. They don’t need to be protected any more than males do, yet a game about taking weight supplements to increase a characters muscle, then using this to get a hot girl, would never receive the kind of criticism we are!
The magazine adds:
Would there be a hint of sensationalism from the media if it was called Mr Stud?
Let’s, for a moment, say they have a point here. You see, I genuinely am quite sick of girls being overprotected as a matter of course so I guess you could say Jacquart has managed to push my civil libertarian feminist buttons with that particular line. First point of call for the investigation? How about that sexist game all about taking weight supplements to “get a hot girl”? You know, the one that apparently has the feminist gold seal of approval because nobody’s criticising it? How about “Mr Stud”? (Because everyone knows that people who take issue with “Bimbo” characters generally have no problem at all with the notion of a “stud”!)
I can’t find either of them! Admittedly, I’m not the most knowledgeable person when it comes to gaming but could it be that they are talking about the lack of reaction to a sexist game that doesn’t actually exist (and isn’t there a reason for that?) to make a point about a sexist one that really does? Clever Stuff.
I await “Mr Stud” with baited breath.
Thanks to F-Word reader Bob for alerting us to this story.