November 16th, 2006

Another two weeks, another column for Joystiq.  This time, it’s “Women on the Wii,” a look at Nintendo’s marketing strategy to attract new female gamers.  Thumbs up for equality?  Thumbs down for condescension?  Or are our thumbs too busy getting in shape for launch day?

Tags: Blog

12 Responses to ““Women on the Wii””

  1. Adam Says:

    I think video games condescend to men too. When they pander to women, it’s either making gamer women seem sexy (which is a common feeling among gamer men), or making them seem only interested in little puppy games and unicorn adventures.

    Women get made out to be either soft little princess girls or wishing they were sexy with a long plastic controller in their supple hands. But men get made out to be the violent horndogs. Lara Croft sports two big guns and a couple magnums too. Joanna Dark won’t shoot a single bullet without a skintight suit painted on her body. After you jack a car and get jacked up in GTA, you need a good hooker to ease your health bar.

    As for me? I’m embarrassed to admit I play the Sims 2. It’s such a standard in games that without gratuitous violence or a pair of D-sized breasts, I feel half a woman playing a game without either.

    So I’m not really concerned with women being alone in the condescending market. This sort of thing doesn’t bother me, but I think women get recognized for “gender profiling” much more than the ratio actually stands.

  2. Bonnie Says:

    It’s very true. But if you think people are unwilling to break down female stereotypes, they’re even more reluctant about male. Playing Sims 2 with pride would be a start ;).

  3. Devon Says:

    Can I just say that for me personally I find it difficult to separate myself from the stereotypes. I’ve started working in the game industry and I can’t help but stare at any women I find, because they are so few and far between. I actually have been tempted to just ask them about what it is like for them, but it seems almost to reinforce that whole concept if I buy into them being such a minute section of the gaming world. I also must say I agree with Adam in the sense that while certainly a fan of large breasts, I really don’t need to see them in every freaking game. I find it degrading to my intelligence for the game makers to assume that the only females I want to see are ridiculous super-hotties. I happen to like smart girls thank you very much, and they needn’t be really really ridiculously good-looking. Although thats good too. A wider selection of female images in games would be a huge step in the right direction.

  4. Bonnie Says:

    I found it interesting last week how many women there were working at Ubisoft/EA Montreal/A2M. Granted, they were in the minority, but they were definitely there.

  5. Devon Says:

    Yeah, it certainly depends on the company. ArenaNet has a fairly solid number of women there, Zipper, a dismal number.

  6. Mike Says:

    It depresses me to see an of condescendsion in the launch. It almost diminishes the respect one has for nintendo and videogaming on the whole. Should we ignore this and enjoy the Wii, or take arms against it?

  7. Bonnie Says:

    Should we ignore this and enjoy the Wii, or take arms against it?
    Heck, enjoy your Wii. I know I’m enjoying mine :). My point, at least, isn’t to stop people from buying the system, just to make them more aware of the gender politics around it’s marketing.

  8. BrainFromArous Says:

    You have to take your arms up, otherwise the wireless controller doesn’t work.


  9. Sharon Says:

    Being middle-aged and feamale, I’m almost certainly fated (statistically) not to be a gamer. But I attribute a lot of this to the focus on marketing to males, the violence in the most popular games – much of it directed at females, especially in the “street” games. I’d actually consider buying a system. We had Ataris and Nintendo in my household at the dawn of gaming – and I bought them, paid for them and installed them myself. I was really very good at the “antique” games that were out at the time. There is no male in my household at this time, but I do wind up playing online games. Nobody will ever get me to buy anything that they market almost exclusively to men. If and when that changes, there will be a system in my home.

  10. BrainFromArous Says:

    Well, Sharon, don’t the teh stupdi marketing jerks keep you away.

    And you’re right, the earliest days of video gaming were co-ed. This seems to be an ever-less-remembered part of our collective digital history, but it’s true.

  11. Hotchkiss Says:

    This isn’t really that different from marketing men’s underwear to women, something that has been going on for years now.

  12. Jade Reporting » November 16 Says:

    […] Dirty: Women on the Wii Women on the Wii Wii: Women Access Gaming Through […]

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