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Talking With the Women Working In Games

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the let-civility-be-thy-watchword dept.

Games 88

MTV's Multiplayer blog is working, all this week, on a series of interviews called Women Working in Games. They've already had great discussions with Ubisoft's Elspeth Tory on the Ubisoft/SomethingAwful thing, and X-Play's Morgan Webb about her work on cable television. They've also spoken with GameGirlAdvance's Jane Pinckard about the differences between men and women and the games they play. "I also think that women have traditionally been at the forefront of this, because they're burdened with more than their fair share of house work and childcare, usually. That's just statistical. And so they're going to have less leisure time for games. Now men are sort of catching up. But I think women have always been less free to play games the way that men have. So maybe that's why women play casual games or they play more casually. And they just don't want the same kind of game that requires 20, 40 hours of play. I think that's totally right." Tomorrow they're speaking with Brenda Brathwaite, a designer and author of the book Sex in Games.

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MTV (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21673331)

WTF is going on with MTV and gaming lately...LEAVE IT ALONE, YOU CUNTS!

Oh, and frosty prosty.

Any pics? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21673351)

Just kidding... But seriously, anyone have any pictures?

Re:Any pics? (2, Insightful)

vonPoonBurGer (680105) | more than 6 years ago | (#21674729)

They don't talk to her for this piece I think (the corporate proxy won't let me confirm that), but all the guys here in the office were talking in hushed and awed tones about Jade Raymond a few weeks back. She's the producer for Assassin's Creed, and she was on one of the local news stations here in Montreal talking about the project. There are a lot of pictures of her on a fansite, which I won't link here. You can Google it easily enough if you're so inclined. Now, how utterly creepy is it that fans have put together an unofficial home page for her as a gathering point for videos and stills gathered from press events and interviews? Don't get me wrong, she's smokin' hot and all, but it's obvious to me that the vast majority of women wouldn't want to put up with that kind of attention in order to pursue a career in games. Heck, the vast majority of women wouldn't want to have to put up with that kind of attention to go buy a game, and that's exactly the kind of attention they're likely to get from the average male nerd GameStop employee. The fact that women are currently the minority in gaming should surprise absolutely no one, and the nature of the games themselves is only partly to blame.

Re:Any pics? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21679177)

Check out this chic [blogspot.com] , she gets so much press too for just being in the software industry.

Re:Any pics? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21680135)

They don't talk to her for this piece I think (the corporate proxy won't let me confirm that), but all the guys here in the office were talking in hushed and awed tones about Jade Raymond a few weeks back.
They definitely talk about her, though. And I must say I'm a bit bemused to be in "the industry" and have never heard of her until this story. Too much "head in the books," as it were, I guess.

Now, how utterly creepy is it that fans have put together an unofficial home page for her as a gathering point for videos and stills gathered from press events and interviews?
No creepier than the "Dr. Dreamy" pages that are out there, in my estimation. Sure one is a fictional character and one is a real person, but that's not the context the respective sexes are responding to (both are responding to a fantasy perception of the person in question). I'm simply not one to find myself befuddled by humans sexual nature.

Billy Crystal put it best (5, Funny)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 6 years ago | (#21673381)

I think it is easy to explain why women aren't as "hardcore" when it comes to gaming as men are. Billy Crystal explained it all in two sentences.

"Women need a reason to have sex. Men just need a place."

Probably the most insightful quote (4, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 6 years ago | (#21674173)

In a messed up way, that's probably the most concise and insightful explanation.

See, back when games were abstract, like Pong and Pac-Man, we already know that they drew about 50-50 crowds. Just as many women were into those games as men were.

Then gradually the industry became a boys' club. Male nerds began using the extra polygons and pixels to catter to other male nerds' needs, and often it was just the publisher's heavy handed intervention that stopped it from becoming all out porn. (Read Bartle's surrealistic "I was young, I needed the money", if you don't believe me. The surrealistic story of his trying to make a cybersex MUD, in spite of the management's keeping telling him not to, and that they'll never find a publisher for that.)

Women in games became helpless princesses to be rescued, rewards for the brave knight, erotic objects, and other such roles.

As an illustration of how far downhill that went, when Tomb Raider decided to have a woman as the main character (IIRC because a guy there thought it would be more fun to stare at a woman's arse in third person, than at a guy's arse), it was something almost revolutionary. It had become that much taken for granted that the player or the hero must be a guy, and the women are just the rewards he gets. And even that franchise eventually became an excuse to show Lara's... assets.

A lot more took the same route and assumed that any female char _must_ be played by a guy, and/or for the benefit of other guys. So, you know, a female knight can't possibly fear a sword to the gut or a severed femoral artery. (The effect of which on your blood content is not unlike cutting the bottom off a cup.) Of _course_ they'll go into battle wearing just a chainmail bikini ;)

A lot of games which grudgingly offered women as playable characters, gimped their stats in various ways. Just because, you know, in a game where you shoot fireballs, ride dragons, and generally rape the laws of physics, chemistry and biology with a vengeance, it would be _so_ unrealistic if a woman (even a rare, exceptional, non-typical one) could possibly have the same strength or constitution as a guy.

And, gee, who would have guessed? Eventually that ratio between male and female players wasn't anywhere near 50-50 any more.

Maybe that quote hits the nail on the head. Maybe women do need a reason to play an inflatable sex doll.

Actually, would the males play such a character if it were male? I know quite a bunch of us had an aversion to playing Voldo in Soul Calibur. (For those who don't know the chap, he was dressed in a BDSM outfit, and with arse-less leather pants.) And that's still one notch above the portrayal of women in some games.

Mind you, it's getting better, but just saying... maybe that quote does condense a lot of wisdom in a very concise form.

Re:Probably the most insightful quote (5, Interesting)

Gravatron (716477) | more than 6 years ago | (#21675025)

If you think guys are seeing the same stereotype of our gender as the girls are of theirs, your not looking at the games themselves. Guys are always these large, muscled, fearless guys who can carve though an army without breaking a sweat.

It has gotten better in recent years though, and there have been notible exceptions. Take the recent ps3 game Uncharted. The male lead is very much an everyman, not too muscled, looks and acts like he's in over his head alot of times. The female lead is a small breasted woman in capri pants and a layed tanktop. I was actualy thankful for this, as it was nice to have hero's in an action game you could actualy relate to.

Re:Probably the most insightful quote (1, Offtopic)

rhyder128k (1051042) | more than 6 years ago | (#21675071)

Oh for mod points...

Ever noticed how every man who takes his shirt off in a film has an all over tan and a six pack?

Re:Probably the most insightful quote (1)

sanosuke76 (887630) | more than 6 years ago | (#21678701)

...you mean I'll break a sweat if I carve through an army? I thought we were all like the video game guys.

Although seriously, I did actually discover a couple weeks ago that hauling a 24lb 50cal rifle, a Thompson, and a PS90 at the same time, while carrying a box of various parts, wasn't exactly feasible. I think I coulda handled it if they were all on carry straps instead of in bulky gun cases, though.

Re:Probably the most insightful quote (2, Interesting)

brandorf (586083) | more than 6 years ago | (#21681507)

There is a huge difference between displaying a sexy female avatar, and a female avatar that is ready for sex. Many times female avatars are displayed with full, red lips, hooded eyes, slightly parted lips, and the like. These and the like are all signs of female sexual arousal. The equivalent for a male avatar is obvious: a huge boner. The point of this is is that the majority of male players would feel slightly uncomfortable playing a game where the male lead was hypersexualized in this way, and the inverse is also true for female characters. We are only now starting to see this in modern games, compare Lara Croft at inception to how she looks now, not only are her proportions less exaggerated, she no longer looks ready to jump in the sack.

Re:Probably the most insightful quote (1)

brandorf (586083) | more than 6 years ago | (#21681547)

Just as an afterthought, to see what a hypersexualized male avatar might be, take a look at some of Matt Dixon's art. Such as here (SFW): http://mattdixon.co.uk/g18.htm [mattdixon.co.uk]

Re:Probably the most insightful quote (1)

jotok (728554) | more than 6 years ago | (#21676161)

Hey, you might dig this. [mightyponygirl.com] Quite a few interesting conversations on this topic.

It was linked from Pandagon. [pandagon.net]

Re:Probably the most insightful quote (3, Funny)

Rei (128717) | more than 6 years ago | (#21677557)

Great post. I'm reminded a bit of a Penny Arcade comic featuring a female knight dressed in the typical way you see female knights dressed in video games, out in the middle of some frozen tundra, wondering what on earth she was thinking when she picked that outfit. :)

Re:Probably the most insightful quote (2, Funny)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 6 years ago | (#21677647)

Heh. Yeah, I know what you mean. I know I was thinking exactly that when playing Legend Of Dragoon on the old Playstation. They had this party member who was an exotic dancer or such, and ran around in a tiny skirt and generally minimalistic outfit. So as my party was working its way through some frozen area (I can't remember which), I just felt... _sorry_ for her.

Re:Probably the most insightful quote (1)

Von Helmet (727753) | more than 6 years ago | (#21682337)

Is this [penny-arcade.com] the comic you have in mind?

Re:Probably the most insightful quote (1)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 6 years ago | (#21679787)

Lara Croft changed things?

I guess you must have missed Samus.

LK

Re:Probably the most insightful quote (1)

Das Modell (969371) | more than 6 years ago | (#21681853)

As an illustration of how far downhill that went, when Tomb Raider decided to have a woman as the main character (IIRC because a guy there thought it would be more fun to stare at a woman's arse in third person, than at a guy's arse), it was something almost revolutionary. It had become that much taken for granted that the player or the hero must be a guy, and the women are just the rewards he gets. And even that franchise eventually became an excuse to show Lara's... assets.

There were female protagonists and main characters in games long before Tomb Raider was released. I don't know what you mean by women being rewards, and I think you're blowing things way out of proportion. The situation is not nearly as dramatic as you make it seem.

A lot of games which grudgingly offered women as playable characters, gimped their stats in various ways. Just because, you know, in a game where you shoot fireballs, ride dragons, and generally rape the laws of physics, chemistry and biology with a vengeance, it would be _so_ unrealistic if a woman (even a rare, exceptional, non-typical one) could possibly have the same strength or constitution as a guy.

Alternate explanation: it's not an evil conspiracy, it's just a way of making gender choice more meaningful, or a realism issue.

Downhill? what downhill? (1)

master_p (608214) | more than 6 years ago | (#21682111)

Games is male territory, Oprah is female territory. Let's not flatten everything, shall we?

Re:Probably the most insightful quote (1)

PastaLover (704500) | more than 6 years ago | (#21737482)

A lot of games which grudgingly offered women as playable characters, gimped their stats in various ways. Just because, you know, in a game where you shoot fireballs, ride dragons, and generally rape the laws of physics, chemistry and biology with a vengeance, it would be _so_ unrealistic if a woman (even a rare, exceptional, non-typical one) could possibly have the same strength or constitution as a guy.
I can't really think of any games that did this. The only thing I can think of were games where the man was the big burly guy (e.g. has strength/const) and the woman is the nimble, agile fighter/rogue (e.g. more agi/int or something). It's quite stereotypical but then at the same time they could have put in a nimble, agile guy and a big burly woman. Unfortunately that doesn't fit with our preconceptions much, and it is to these preconceptions that games will cater.

Anyway some examples would be good, can't really think of any.

Re:Billy Crystal put it best (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21674267)

Burdened? More than their fair share of housework?

If I'm bringing home most of the money, doing most of the earner-work and spending more of my life working, then don't cry to me about fair shares of housework. I'm not saying housework is easy or being a mother is easy, but if someone else is doing 70% of the earning work outside of the house at a job and doing it until they die (not like we get months off to have children or have the option of leaving our career for a few years, then going back, then leaving again, then going back as whimsy strikes us) then your fair share of stuff is doing most of the housework and child care.

The guy might as well be complaining about doing "more than his fair share of the bread-earning-work". Why should someone have to do 70% or 100% of the outside-the-house work AND 50% of the domestic work? That's BS, regardless of which sex is doing which role.

Re:Billy Crystal put it best (1)

rhyder128k (1051042) | more than 6 years ago | (#21675107)

Absolutely. Notice also that most of the comments supporting this very reasonable line of view are posted AC.

Re:Billy Crystal put it best (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 6 years ago | (#21679205)

Absolutely. Notice also that most of the comments supporting this very reasonable line of view are posted AC.
My guess is that they expect people to mod them down over it, because "that kind of behavior is what scares females away!".

Personally though, I don't care what sex you are -- don't expect any leeway from me for being male or female (this is in no specific order).

Re:Billy Crystal put it best (1)

trytoguess (875793) | more than 6 years ago | (#21677145)

Perhaps the argument is that no matter what the financial situation is women statistically end up doing most of the housework/childcare. I not exactly sure if this is true (though it does fit with my personal experience), but there's no need to get into knee jerk defensivness.

Re:Billy Crystal put it best (1)

Rei (128717) | more than 6 years ago | (#21677347)

If I'm bringing home most of the money, doing most of the earner-work and spending more of my life working,

Says a person posting to Slashdot at 12:38PM on a Wednesday. ;)

Re:Billy Crystal put it best (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 6 years ago | (#21679125)

Says a person posting to Slashdot at 12:38PM on a Wednesday. ;)
Let me introduce you to a new concept, time zones [wikipedia.org] .

Slashdot shows the time of the posts in the timezone you set in your settings. It does not mean it was that time for the person posting in his/her location.

Re:Billy Crystal put it best (1)

Rei (128717) | more than 6 years ago | (#21680343)

Let me introduce you to a new concept, statistics. The overwhelming majority of Slashdot posters live in the US and Canada.

Re:Billy Crystal put it best (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 6 years ago | (#21680939)

Let me introduce you to a new concept, statistics. The overwhelming majority of Slashdot posters live in the US and Canada.
Which means there is a good chance that this person could be living there. But there is no definite information that is true.

On the other hand, I haven't seen sources yet that show "The overwhelming majority of Slashdot posters live in the US and Canada" yet.

Re:Billy Crystal put it best (1)

Rei (128717) | more than 6 years ago | (#21687854)

Which means there is a good chance that this person could be living there. But there is no definite information that is true.

Which would be relevant if I had said, "They're definitely posting from work!"

One point to consider (1)

LordZardoz (155141) | more than 6 years ago | (#21688490)

There is one particular flaw in your reasoning.

I wont dispute the idea that someone working outside the home to earn money may be doing a great deal more total work than someone staying home and raising the kids / doing standard housework. It is a very reasonable point, and one worth discussing.

But your supporting arguments do not quite account for one thing.

Someone who chooses to make a career out of housekeeping / raising children essentially finds themselves in a job where there are never truly days off or weekends.

While it may work out that doing the bulk of the domestic work is the appropriate 'fair share', it is not unreasonable for the person doing such work to want to be able to have days where they can escape those responsibilities.

I would say that if someone is not given adequate chances to get the hell away from their work responsibilities, be it bread earning work or domestic work, they are entitled to complain.

END COMMUNICATION

Re:Billy Crystal put it best (1)

crashfrog (126007) | more than 6 years ago | (#21718764)

not like we get months off to have children or have the option of leaving our career for a few years, then going back, then leaving again, then going back as whimsy strikes us

Pfft. If only women had this option in most fields. The truth of the matter is that taking some time off to have children looks as bad on her resume as taking the same period of unemployment looks like on yours, children or not. And while your family is looked on as a positive quality by your employers - it connotes stability, maturity, reliability, and long-term commitment - the exact same family is a big mark against your partner to her potential employers, because it looks like divided loyalties and commitments that interfere with work.

If I'm bringing home most of the money, doing most of the earner-work and spending more of my life working

You must live in Saudi Arabia, or something, because here in the US the average family has two parents working full-time. And, no, your salary isn't a reflection of how much effort you put into your job. I mean, come the fuck on. In a situation where each partner puts in full-time hours, it's not unreasonable to expect an equitable division of domestic tasks, too.

This idea where men are "primary breadwinners" or whatever is delusional, unless you're somehow posting to Slashdot from 1950.

AND 50% of the domestic work?

It's your house too, isn't it? Maybe you had a long day at work. But the trash still needs to go out, and no, you don't deserve a medal for the herculean effort of walking it out to the cans.

Re:Billy Crystal put it best (1)

PastaLover (704500) | more than 6 years ago | (#21737530)

I agree completely with the above. Also like to add that many countries in Europe have in recent years moved towards allowing a "parental leave" for fathers as well, removing one of those last sources of inequality in the workplace the GP was referring to. If a man and a woman have equal chance of going on leave when they have a child at least employers will start to judge them more by the same standards. (and not, how likely is she to have a child etc.)

Most of the time it's shorter for men than for women. I've often argued for extending it (for the above reason) but ironically many women are against making it the same length since they don't think it's fair.

Re:Billy Crystal put it best (1)

rhyder128k (1051042) | more than 6 years ago | (#21675163)

"Women need a reason to have sex. Men just need a place."

No, that's a stereotype. I'm potentially as smart and sensitive as any woman. Some women, at some points in their lives, in some contexts are more sexually motivated than me. Some men are, in some contexts are less sexually motivated than me. Nothing to do with my sex.

Re:Billy Crystal put it best (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21680381)

I like how she's totally oblivious to her own demographic - it shows real commitments to her beliefs (even if they are wrong).

I spent 7 years as one of the top rangers in EverQuest 1, do you know what the largest demographic in my most hardcore guild was? Middle aged housewives. That's right, women aged 25-50 play MMO's at the very top end because they can devote hours upon hours of the day to an addiction. Some of the most hardcore and well geared players I know (and a disproportionate number of the best EQ 1'ers I know, fall into this demographic. Also, I'm pretty sure SOE at some point in like the GoD expansion actually stating that anonymous survey listed adult women as the largest demographic in EQ, followed closely by young men.

Why did women play EQ 1? There's lots of reasons that come to mind:

- We all had ponies, not just some of us, at the high end it was ponies or ponies as the mount choice, pick your colour of pony (there was giant lizards too but even the guys went for the ponies because the lizards looked wierd and wobbled and we played in first person back then).
- Armor dye - everyone in my guild had a meta-addiction to armor dye, we'd be sitting in raids in downtime swapping about our dyes for optimal colour coordination, latest fashion, to match the area we were raiding - etc - we also could change hair and face on the fly too, I always put my serious face on for raids
- It was a giant chatroom, EQ 1 was the most bloated chatroom I've ever heard of - it was like someone took an IRC server, filled it with ponies and armor dye and elves, and then gave us dragons and accessories and a never ending amount of content and self-progression status grinds. Like all chatrooms, if you went into the right channel at the right time, people were cybering - on account of I probably did more cybering than focused raids (cybering on raids counts to cybering more than raiding I figure) in my final years I'd say cybering is another major attraction for this demographic in games.
- Elves, Dragons, Ponies, Pretty colours, every race looked like they belonged in a paper-back romance novel, and surprisingly entertaining chat (guild chat, group chat)
- oh, I've neer been quite sure on this issue too - but I think women enjoy guild drama to a certain extent - they might not always initiate it - but they do seem to follow the gossip on who is cybering who is cyber-cheating with who on who, 'cold wars' between soandso and theotherone over something that happened last raid - of course that could be a side effect of guild life - since we all put way too many hours in and the guys obviously knew much of the gossip too

the key (1)

cthulu_mt (1124113) | more than 6 years ago | (#21673383)

The key is to that their faces are up...damn I failed. Can we start over?

I program games for a living (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21673405)

Let me tell you, there are plenty of women in the industry. Secretaries, office managers, janitors, assistants, etc. There is no shortage of women in the workplace, evening in the gaming industry.

Re:I program games for a living (1)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 6 years ago | (#21673479)

But not many of them have been in high profile roles like Jade Raymond was for Assassin's Creed as Producer. Well, not only was she the Producer but she was basically the lead PR rep because of the way Ubisoft used her.

Re:I program games for a living (1)

hackerjoe (159094) | more than 6 years ago | (#21674885)

Well, not only was she the Producer but she was basically the lead PR rep because of the way Ubisoft used her.
I'm really having a hard time getting what the big deal about this is. I work at a fairly large studio (100-200 people on staff), and my impression has always been that the producer has two main reponsibilities:

1. Manage the leads: resolve conflicts, deal with staffing, and keep everyone on the same game vision;

2. Deal with the outside world: champion the game and sell it to the studio heads or publisher, and arrange the PR.

If the producer can do a decent interview, then sure as shit they'll be out there pimping the game. The producer on my last title was a bearded guy with a bit of a gut. Did he do PR footwork anyway? Yes he did, when it wasn't more important to get the lead designer in an interview.

The people making Jade Raymond into a sex symbol are the people gawking over some PR photos where she's basically standing with her team in jeans and a plain cotton top, probably the same clothes she wears to the office every day. WTF.

Re:I program games for a living (1)

Brother Dysk (939885) | more than 6 years ago | (#21675431)

The people making Jade Raymond into a sex symbol are the people gawking over some PR photos where she's basically standing with her team in jeans and a plain cotton top, probably the same clothes she wears to the office every day. WTF.
Not everyone fancies (or fantasizes about) porn stars or supermodels. Some blokes like the attractive average women (or men).

Re:I program games for a living (3, Insightful)

hackerjoe (159094) | more than 6 years ago | (#21675933)

Sure. The point is that Jade isn't putting herself forth as a sex symbol, Ubisoft isn't either, it's the media and fan response that's doing that. Predictably, maybe, but I can't hold Ubisoft so responsible for something they didn't actually do themselves.

When people complain about how much media attention she's getting, they're mostly responding to the phenomenon and the interpretation of what Ubisoft PR did and not what they actually did, which was put someone who should be well-qualified to talk about the game and represent the developers and who had good experience doing publicity in the position of doing publicity. Shock! Horror!

Part of the response seems to be that people didn't at first believe that she could possibly be qualified for her job, and instead assumed she was put in that position just so she could do PR as a pretty face... which is the absolutely shaming part of this whole thing.

Re:I program games for a living (1)

Brother Dysk (939885) | more than 6 years ago | (#21676117)

I don't get how there's necessarily any correlation between people fawning enough over her (in her work clothes or whatever) enough to make "fansites" full of pictures of her, and people thinking she's unqualified. I reckon that, for a lot of people, the whole qualified techie (or psuedo-techie, being a production person, not an actual coder) angle just makes her even better.

Re:I program games for a living (1)

sanosuke76 (887630) | more than 6 years ago | (#21678729)

Personally, I thought her uncompleted minor in military science was hot.

Actually, I have no idea what she even looks like, I just looked her up in IMDB since everyone seemed to be talking about her lately.

Elspeth Tory interview (4, Interesting)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 6 years ago | (#21673431)

I read the Elspeth Tory interview this morning and found it incredibly interesting. I was sort of following Assassin's Creed during development and anyone familiar with that game is also familiar with Jade Raymond. It took me a while to figure out that Jade was actually working on the game and was not just some pretty-face put there by Ubisoft to play it and pose for pictures. Ubisoft basically whored out their Lead Producer on one of their premier titles to sell the game, and I guess it worked... but they're experiencing some backlash now from industry professionals.

This was my favorite question and answer:

Multiplayer: When disparaging stuff comes out on the Internet, what advice do you have for women dealing with that type of scrutiny?

Tory: Don't read the forums! [Laughs] Don't read the forums. That's what I was told by some people and I stopped doing that, so that's good. That's helping. And try and focus on the positive aspect of what you do and the end result. I think it's tough to know what to do. Do you react against it? Do you sort of say things verbally? Again, I think it's more about visibility. So if people are having issues, well then we're just going to go out there and make more games that are kick-ass and more games where there is a woman running it and more games where we're doing a great job. I think it's just going to have to eventually erode. It'll just eventually come to an end, and it'll be completely normal to have high-profile women on big projects.
Guess we won't be seeing posts from Elspeth and Jade here... But I hope they keep making games, we need some diversity in the industry in all aspects of development and productions. I'm playing Assassin's Creed myself right now and though it has many flaws, I'm still enjoying it.

Totally Inappropriate Comment Inside (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21673459)

Woo! Chicks in games! Show us your b3wbs!

SLASHDOT SUX0RZ (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21673507)

_0_
\''\
'=o='
.|!|
.| |
talking with the women working in goatse [goatse.ch]

Confusing title ... (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 6 years ago | (#21673811)

Man, I read "Talking With the Women Working In Games" to mean that they had simulated speaking with women, using a game engine, and that the simulation was successful.

I was thinking, "Wow, using video games to make geeks better at chatting up the honeys", now that's progress -- like behavior therapy for autistic kids or something.

Turns out, it's "Talking with 'the Women Working In Games' ", and that's not nearly as cool as I first thought. :-P

Cheers

Meh. (2, Insightful)

morari (1080535) | more than 6 years ago | (#21674051)

I am perpetually bored by the hype that everyone puts behind women and gaming. Humans are humans and females can be just as likely involved in a videogame as males can. This has always struck me as one of those "equal but still special" things that so-called minorities like to flaunt. Now don't take that as misogynic, because it's just the opposite. Women shouldn't promote being pointed out, as they are merely people doing a job that people are expected to do (as opposed to monkeys or something).

Re:Meh. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21675447)

See, its not us women making the big deal - its the men who look down upon women and think we *do* have less talent than men. As a resut we are forced to near claw our way to positions that many men just "get" by virtue of being male.

I actually tried an experiment, because I have a name that can be shortened to a unisex one - I am a rather talented programmer/sysadmin type - one with a "name" as it were. If I post resumes in non-open source job communities (where my name is less known), I get more responses to the unisex version of my name than the patently feminine one - and my resume is not altered besides name. In some cases I sent it to the same place - and the "male" sounding one was the one responded to, *and* they addressed me by male appelations: "Sir"

This is itself makes it pretty obvious to me that us women have a lot more obstacles to overcome than men. Maybe not with people like you, but not everyonke in this industry has such an enlightened perspective as you do.

Re:Meh. (1)

AgentPaper (968688) | more than 6 years ago | (#21677053)

Ironically, the same thing happens in nursing, which has hitherto been perceived as a female-biased profession. Both my mother and I have unisex given names, and both of us routinely receive professional mail and phone calls addressed with male honorifics. You'd think that the bias would be toward assuming that a nurse is a woman, but it isn't - every day brings at least one item addressed to "Mr. (name), R.N." Even other nurses, some of whom have daughters with either my name or hers, somehow manage to assume that one or both of us is male.

Occasionally we've both encountered people who insist that WE must be mistaken about our own identities. Mom had a sad, yet hilarious experience with that particular brand of stupidity when a sales rep called her office and then refused to speak to her, repeatedly demanding to speak to "the director." Apparently in his misogynistic little world, staff nurses are all female, but the director of surgical nursing for a major hospital system MUST be a man.

Re:Meh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21677963)

It does go both ways. (I'm a guy, for the record.) Many years ago, I went for a data entry job at the local public library, where my brother worked. Now, my typing speed is somewhere between 80-150WPM. I missed out on that job, and the woman who got it had a typing speed of about 30-50WPM. She was aggressive, bossy, and very lazy.

After a few months, my brother discovered that she was hired because women are better at data entry than men. (Her contract was twice extended because of her slow typing speed.) I'm not suggesting that it is anywhere near as easy to get a job, if you're female, just that I don't have breasts and have been turned down for several jobs as a result.

However, I'm right with you on this point: I don't think a woman doing any job deserves publicity because she's doing a job. I can't see why she wouldn't on par with any (equally qualified) male. There are regular news spots on TV about women doing one job or another, and every time I see it, I notice that the woman interviewed is trying to be the everywoman while the interview has been structured to make her into an ideal, a special case. (Now, if she's in a job that's extremely conservative and almost impossible to get into if you're female, then why isn't the article about the difficulty of trying to get into the job, rather than "Oh look! A woman! How cute, she's doing man's work!")

It's damned frustrating on both sides of the fence, watching the incompetent be hired because of their gender.

Re:Meh. (1)

demallien2 (991621) | more than 6 years ago | (#21681541)

Yeah, tell me about it!

Here's a couple of my own stories from the trenches:

1) My company sticks me on the booth at a trade show to demo the product that I have spent the last 6 months working on. There were nulerous men that would ask me for a description of how a feature worked, and when I told them, they'd simply say 'nah, it doesn't work like that. If you understood the technology, you would know that that's impossible'. The funny thing was that some would still insist that my description was wrong even after I explained that I was the programmer.

2) Still at the same company. The company rule was that when the receptionist was absent, everyone else would pitch in to answer the phones. The reality was that everyone left me to answer the phones, being the only other woman in the office. Which meant that I got more than my fair share of support calls. In general the call would go something like:
customer - Hi, I need to speak to a tech to resolve a problem.
me - Sure, what is the problem?
customer - I'd rather just speak to the tech directly thanks
me - I'm one of the engineers that designs the product, you can talk to me.
customer - (and I kid you not) No, I need to speak to a man.

That particular response was far from rare.

me - Um, OK, well can you at least tell me which product it concerns?
customer -
me - um, look, I'm the only person in the company that knows that code - I wrote it, and no-one else has touched the project. You're going to need to talk to me.
customer - can I speak to your manager please.
me - . Sure

5 minutes later my boss would typically forward the call back to me. Not once in 2 years did the caller apologise to me for blowing me off at first.

In a more general sense, I have a party trick that I like to pull out when this topic comes up in a group of tech workers. I ask each person in the group to say how many times they have been promoted. Take the average number of promotions for men, and the average number of promotions for women, adjust for number of years worked in the industry, and I guarantee you that the numbers will show that men are promoted 2-3 times as much as women. Most women are simply never promoted - we advance by changing jobs. Apparently recruiting is less apt to discriminate.

Re:Meh. (1)

zerobarrier (1139127) | more than 6 years ago | (#21682523)

"claw our way to positions that many men just "get" by virtue of being male." That is the typical, naive opinion. Have you considered how much time a male may spend advancing his career (constantly researching new technologies, mastering said technologies, programming on the side, graduate school, ...)? Just because you didn't get a job offer doesn't mean you can play the gender card. Unfortunately, women sometimes do get turned down just because of their gender. However, after working in the industry for many years, and conducting many technical interviews, I can sometimes understand this stereotype. Typically, in my experience, women engineers haven't been as technically proficient as their male counterparts. I'm not just saying that, where I have worked on numerous projects to back that statement up (and interviewed many female candidates for my team). While we're on the topic, let's talk about all of the hand outs minorities, including women, get. In my industry, minorities typically start at a higher salary. Is that fair?...no. Another interesting fact, if I were to refer a minority, I would get double the referral bonus compared to referring a white male. What kind of BS is that? At a previous company, a candidate for hire would be assessed based on points....Minorities would get an automatic +20 points. 'Anonymous Coward' above forgot to mention how being a female sometimes gives her an unfair advantage.

Re:Meh. (1)

mishelley (1202207) | more than 6 years ago | (#21675477)

As a carrier of the double x chromosome I actually agree with this. I would hope that the quality of my work (whatever my chosen profession) would be my defining characteristic when my work was discussed and not what is between my legs.

Re:Meh. (3, Insightful)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 6 years ago | (#21675869)

Here's why there's still so much "hype": it's because a lot of men actually believe that women aren't as good as men at doing whatever job it is that they're doing. And a lot of these men are working in the videogame industry. As a result, it IS a big deal if a women gets to a position of power in the videogame industry. I'd love to see the day where no one bats an eye when they see a women working as a dev, producer or other significant position. In the meantime, I have to listen to endless stories of groping, stalking, mistaken-for-booth-babe and just general disbelief that a woman could possibly do that job well.

Re:Meh. (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 6 years ago | (#21679077)

Here's why there's still so much "hype": it's because a lot of men actually believe that women aren't as good as men at doing whatever job it is that they're doing.
I believe statistically, the majority of any group isn't that good, previous experience has shown me that as well as observation. The fact there are far less females gives the overall impression they are worse with people's experience as there isn't that many you will come across.

And a lot of these men are working in the videogame industry. As a result, it IS a big deal if a women gets to a position of power in the videogame industry.
For me, I don't care what sex has a position of power, just don't be a idiot like most people who are in power are.

In the meantime, I have to listen to endless stories of groping, stalking, mistaken-for-booth-babe and just general disbelief that a woman could possibly do that job well.
My only experience so far with females in IT has been that they don't know at all what they are doing like most of the males. I'm sure there are some females out there who are good in IT, but the majority in IT aren't, just like the majority in of males in IT aren't.

Re:Meh. (1)

Malkin (133793) | more than 6 years ago | (#21686857)

Ah, yes, this is one of the reasons I don't miss E3 at all. I'll never forget standing in front of my game, and having slack-jawed idiots come try to chat me up, and then NOT BELIEVE ME when I told them I was the lead programmer on the game I was showing off. Year after year, I still hear lunk-headed idiots hauling out the same old tropes about women not being able to code, and women gamers being attention whores, and women not being interested in games due to various half-baked evolutionary psychology theories, over and over and over again. Seriously, it gets old.

NeutronCowboy is half-right. There are still a lot of people out there who need educating. Though, I don't run into too many of them in the industry, much, these days. The industry is becoming increasingly good about hiring people with brains and social skills. I still see a lot of ignorance and hatred in the general public, though. There's always someone out there who wants to put you down.

Re:Meh. (1)

PastaLover (704500) | more than 6 years ago | (#21737688)

Ah, yes, this is one of the reasons I don't miss E3 at all. I'll never forget standing in front of my game, and having slack-jawed idiots come try to chat me up, and then NOT BELIEVE ME when I told them I was the lead programmer on the game I was showing off. Year after year, I still hear lunk-headed idiots hauling out the same old tropes about women not being able to code, and women gamers being attention whores, and women not being interested in games due to various half-baked evolutionary psychology theories, over and over and over again. Seriously, it gets old.
Well for me it's (hopefully) not about "women just not being good at games", it's that every time I meet a girl who's somehow into technology it's a surprise to me. Go back about 7-10 years and the number of girls playing video games was incredibly low. The number of women in technology is not that very high. The number of women studying CS with me was less than 10% of the total. So yeah, my head turns when I see a lead designer on a game is a woman or women playing games, just because it used to be so incredibly rare and is not yet a very common occurrence.

I think the people taking the pessimistic interpretation of people just not thinking women are up to the job are the people who have had to deal with one too many idiots. Given the overtly sexual nature of the E3 show I can very much understand the problems you ran into. Luckily the industry is (finally) moving away from that kind of madness.

Re:Meh. (1)

zerobarrier (1139127) | more than 6 years ago | (#21682409)

Well said, morari. I too share the same school of thought. I'm sick of hearing sob stories, much like those contained in the replies to your post.

Re:Meh. (1)

toiletsalmon (309546) | more than 6 years ago | (#21697646)

Amen to that! It's mind boggling to me how many of these "Professional" game "Journalists" are spending so much time on this non-issue. Granted, I'm not saying that things are all roses for women in the game industry, but some of these "journalists" can't muster up enough of a vocabulary to intelligently describe a video game about shooting aliens. But I'm supposed to take these people seriously when they want to talk about "real" issues???

Bah!

Library not found (1)

why-is-it (318134) | more than 6 years ago | (#21674221)

Please don't use a term without defining it first:

Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woman [wikipedia.org]

Re:Library not found (1)

incripshin (580256) | more than 6 years ago | (#21676367)

Thanks for the link. I tried looking for a man page first.

Re:Library not found (1)

David Gould (4938) | more than 6 years ago | (#21678329)

$ man woman
no manual entry for woman
$

Dammit!

Re:Library not found (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 6 years ago | (#21679237)

$ man woman
no manual entry for woman
$
Dammit!
Try this command:

wikipedia2text women

Sexism? (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 6 years ago | (#21674241)

even subtle instances where male developers overlook me to speak to my male associates. I've noticed that women gamers are viewed and treated differently from (and by) their male counterparts.
I don't know who she is, but she introduces herself as a female gamer. But she finds it strange to be treated differently in comparison to male gamers from developers.

Are the developers male? If so, they maybe able to just get on with males easier. As females get on with females.

The other thing is. There is a far more vast male majority of gamers than females and it may have been in the developer's opinion to listen to the males because they are the ones that actually make them money.

Just makes sense to me. I don't see any sexism.

Re:Sexism? (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 6 years ago | (#21674435)

I know who she is; she hosts a G4 show, and does some gamer related "commericals" on G4 as well. I was suprised she was actually a gamer though; I thought she was a model they hired to keep guys interested in the show, but didn't think she was actually interested in games.

Re:Sexism? (1)

Bandman (86149) | more than 6 years ago | (#21675697)

The fact that you assumed that speaks volumes as to why she's overlooked the way she is.

Re:Sexism? (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 6 years ago | (#21676091)

Perhaps that's my experience (and others) that when talking to a hot chick and moving the topic to games, their eyes roll and they stop smiling.. :-)

Anyway, go to any store that sells games (not now though). Do you REALLY see women spending a lot of time in those sections / stores?

Re:Sexism? (1)

masdog (794316) | more than 6 years ago | (#21676641)

Do you REALLY see women spending a lot of time in those sections / stores?

Only if they are dragged their by their boyfriends/brothers/male friends.

Re:Sexism? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21677763)

Lol, I've had better luck losing the conversation by mentioning myspace sucks, and whoring all your personal info out is campy and n00bish.

I never do get to continue the conversation after that :)

Re:Sexism? (1)

sanosuke76 (887630) | more than 6 years ago | (#21678773)

Clearly you haven't been exposed to the unwashed closet-yaoi-fangirl sect, which make these disturbingly excited noises whenever Dante or various Final Fantasy characters are mentioned. They are truly a fearsome sight to behold.

My fiance may love Final Fantasy, but thankfully she isn't one of those beasts.

Of course. We're past the technology bottleneck. (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 6 years ago | (#21674247)

We'll see more women in game leadership positions. Games today are about artwork, social dynamics, and world design. The underlying technology isn't the limiting factor any more.

Ten years ago, consumer-grade graphics hardware was weak, frame rates were slow, people were struggling to get physics engines to work at all, network gaming was flakey, and attempts to build big worlds were choking on scaling problems. Now, that stuff just works.

Re:Of course. We're past the technology bottleneck (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 6 years ago | (#21674889)


We'll see more women in game leadership positions. Games today are about artwork, social dynamics, and world design. The underlying technology isn't the limiting factor any more.

And they will make us hang on their works with breathless anticipation, drawing us along for years upon years...

Then up and quit, bugger off to Naughty Dog, and leave us broken, shattered husks of our former selves...

Curse you, Amy Henning.

Re:Of course. We're past the technology bottleneck (1)

Samgilljoy (1147203) | more than 6 years ago | (#21690188)

We'll see more women in game leadership positions. Games today are about artwork, social dynamics, and world design. The underlying technology isn't the limiting factor any more. Ten years ago, consumer-grade graphics hardware was weak, frame rates were slow, people were struggling to get physics engines to work at all, network gaming was flakey, and attempts to build big worlds were choking on scaling problems. Now, that stuff just works.

The implications being that women are naturally better and more interested in art and social dynamics, while men are the people to deal with the real engineering?

You do realize that's what you just said, don't you? That men busted through all those tough engineering problems, and now the women can come in and improve the art and interpersonal experience.

Doesn't that sort of validate all the griping about women being stereotyped in engineering?

I'm going to assume that you're a cool person who doesn't necessarily believe all that, but it helps one see the sort of conceptual baggage we're carrying around.

Is Jane seriously this stupid all the time? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21674337)

Women spent so much time doing housework? Have you done housework before Jane? It takes maybe 2 hours a day if you have a big house. Add kids and you are up to make 6 hours a day if you keep popping them out non-stop. How is this leaving you with less time to play games than men who have always, and are still, stuck working a job? Guys are stuck with at least 8 hours a day of work, usually more than that. The amount of time available to play games is not why women play less games. Maybe it has something to do with what women enjoy doing, vs what most games provide?

Re:Is Jane seriously this stupid all the time? (1)

VAY (455170) | more than 6 years ago | (#21728536)

Er - I think you'll find that most women do 2 - 6 hours of housework AS WELL AS a job.

Feedback (2, Insightful)

turtledawn (149719) | more than 6 years ago | (#21674647)

What a ridiculous feedback loop. Reading that multiplayerblog interview was like watching two chickens puff themselves up before getting into a territorial squabble, or perhaps two drunks working themselves up to jump some third person who made a joke at their expense..

I don't know about you, but my mother had plenty of free time and a clean house. She did that by making sure her kids knew to pick up after themselves! She got me into computer gaming, actually- I'd sit and take notes for her as she played Legacy of the Ancients on the C64. We spent way more than any 40 hours on that damned game.

Women don't have time or inclination to sit and play games for hours, huh, but they'll watch years worth of senseless daytime TV and can tell you who slept with who and what character is supposed to be dead... sometimes I'm rather ashamed of the group with whom I share chromosomes..

Re:Feedback (1)

vranash (594439) | more than 6 years ago | (#21677807)

Lol, that's kind of funny because me and my dad did something similiar on the c64 back when he was still into computers as something other than a career. I don't remember what the game was called but it was one of those text-based dungeon crawls. I just remember constantly getting to this one maze area and being unable to figure out what to trigger next (and with no save function you had to get up to that point each time, hard when you only had an hour or two before you got to bed.

As to women in gaming, I've known a few, however the majority tended to be 'social gamers', and never seemed to share similiar titles in their library with me, so no MP gaming love ;.; Plus most of the one's I've met recently are WoW freaks and it just doesn't float my boat.

Re:Feedback (1)

JoshJ (1009085) | more than 6 years ago | (#21679185)

Offhand, I'd guess Zork. "You are in a maze of twisty little passages, all alike."

IIRC, that particular puzzle is somewhat random so keeping notes between games will actually screw you over there.

Re:Feedback (1)

vranash (594439) | more than 6 years ago | (#21680785)

FYI, it wasn't Zork, but it was the same style game. Zork was actually one of those games I'd always wanted but never gotten :)

Re:Feedback (1)

dwye (1127395) | more than 6 years ago | (#21684331)

Offhand, I'd guess Zork. "You are in a maze of twisty little passages, all alike."

IIRC, that particular puzzle is somewhat random so keeping notes between games will actually screw you over there.

That was Colossal Cave, aka Adventure.

Speaking only for the 1977 version on a DEC-20, it was fixed, just complex. We (well, two other guys in the group) mapped it over the course of two weekends. Of course, the pirate could make mapping hell by moving stuff (items dropped to ID the room) around randomly.

"thats just statistical" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21674713)

Has anyone else noticed how "that's just statistical" has become shorthand for "I know this sounds dodgy, but take it on faith!"

Re:"thats just statistical" (1)

Trespass (225077) | more than 6 years ago | (#21677591)

Yep. It's demographic theology. A handwave.

Re:"thats just statistical" (1)

CFTM (513264) | more than 6 years ago | (#21697362)

When Mark Twain said there were three types of lies, I think he was on to something: "There are lies, damned lies and statistics"

wrong? (1)

Punto (100573) | more than 6 years ago | (#21675771)

I'm sure the women that work in games are jugling their carrer and home life and it's so wonderful and empowering, but are the women who _play_ the games like that? I'm sure it's something like a 12-25 demographic that has as much time to waste as everyone else..

Re:wrong? (1)

metroid composite (710698) | more than 6 years ago | (#21678053)

12-25, sure (or more realistically 12-19 or so). Most studies show that many girls stop playing games, whereas boys often don't (there are quite a few male gamers up through about 37 in age). Another interesting study: the most-played game among teenage girls is...Halo.

Teenagers play games. Later in life, though, if all your friends are watching soap operas or reality TV and not playing games, you'd have to be fairly hardcore to keep playing games (either that or get new friends...which if you do that due to gaming, then you're fairly hardcore anyway). Personally, probably half the games I play are games my friends were playing and showed me (usually IRL) and I expect most people are the same.

To a large extent, it's just a matter of breaking into the market and breaking stereotypes. A lot of women say they feel uncomfortable in an Electronics Boutique, the same way a lot of men say they feel uncomfortable in a women's clothing store--that's a psychological state I'd really like to see disappear.

how has nobody called bullshit on this yet? (1)

darga (953093) | more than 6 years ago | (#21677251)

the reason gamers are skewed toward male is because women are too busy doing housework? wtf. i'm pretty sure when i started playing games as a little kid my sister had exactly as much free time as i did. when i was in college playing videogames, my girlfriend wasn't off ironing my shirts in some dungeon. there are many valid reasons that women may have played less videogames than men, but men being magically less busy than women is not one of them.

Re:how has nobody called bullshit on this yet? (1)

misterooga (1172837) | more than 6 years ago | (#21677437)

Probabaly men can ignore chores easier than women...hack, I know I can just close my eyes on all the cleaning that's required...

Though perhaps that's more of a personality.

Does "brains are wired different" count as an answer?

Look no further (3, Funny)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 6 years ago | (#21678679)

the reason gamers are skewed toward male is because women are too busy doing housework?

No, the real reason why lies in the content of the games. Let's take a few example games, say, Call of Duty 4, Kane & Lynch, and GTA San Andreas. These games feature cars, helicopters, fire weapons of all sorts, and killing tens of people every couple of minutes. Make no mistake about it, these features on their own aren't what turns women away from such games, no, the real problem is not what is in these games, but what's not in them. Namely, ponies.

When is the last time you've seen a pony in a game? Where are the scenes of combat against pony-riding RPG-totting Iraqi insurgents? Where are the cops who protect themselves from your bullets behind ponies? Where can you jack a mother fucker for his pony and run away with it with the mounties on, literally speaking, your tail? Not in any of the games mentioned, and that's why so many members of the female population prefer to watch cheesy movies that reminds them of the pony their father never offered them for their sixth birthday than to play the games we like to play.

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