I have never been a great video game enthusiast. I never got to play them when I was a kid, and I only really discovered SNES when I met Tor at 16, at which point I devoured Super-Mario
and all things Zelda
and Secret of Mana
and Illusion of Time
, and finally Chrono Trigger
, but never made the transition into the real first person shooter games. It never appealed to me. I have never really seen that as a loss.
Recently, however, someone suggested that boys were better at Portal
because they were more used to navigating in 3D space because girls played Sims
instead. I was a little annoyed that my potential Portal
prowess was questioned because of my gender (I have never played Sims
for any length of time, although I must confess to a lengthy addiction to Master of Olympus
); but it connected with another thing that has been buzzing around in my brain lately. Namely, this:
It is Anita Sarkeesian's newest project (remember the videos on Lego and the Bechdel test?), and it is being funded through Kickstarter.
Because it is true that video games, for some reason, was a male domain when I grew up; and there is no doubt that a large part of the industry assumes it will continue to be. Over the last few years I have been reading the occasional article on how the video game industry is slowly discovering there is a whole other gender out there. But I would like to know more about how it is actually reacting to this (whether it is by relegating the puzzle games to women and leaving all the rest for the boys, say; with a shrug saying "women simply don't like the other type of games"; or whether my prejudices are all wrong). So I think Sarkeesian's project looks very, very interesting.
Hence my dismay, or rather my irate anger, when I realised how her Kickstarter video had been met. The most disgusting haters on the internet
crawled out of their maggoty lairs and spewed the most nonsensical, dimwitted (frequently illiterate) and downright venomous misogynistic vitriol over the comments pages. And then proceeded to edit her Wikipedia page and try to get the Kickstarter project taken down for terrorism. That's right. Read all about it here
and (because www.feministfrequency.com is down at the moment, hopefully not hacked, and I want you to have something to read in the meantime) here
Boys may be better at Portal
because they are more used to navigating 3D space in video games. I have not seen any research, but I can imagine that is probably true. But if so, there is a reason why that is true (think about it for a moment, and it may come to you; and if the female characters are not enough, have a look at this
). But when a woman sets out to look at one of the reasons, she is met with a concerted, poisonous campaign of harassment by (what I can only assume to be) pubescent boys (heaven help us if these are grown men).
And I am all the more annoyed because the fact that I have not had the same training in navigating 3D spaces means that Tor is probably better at Portal
than me. And if this keeps up, it will probably be true of future generations of women, too. But the point is precisely that this is not a trivial matter: real skills come with video games, and we are missing out. Anita Sarkeesian may (at the end of her research) point to some of the reasons why that is so. And for some reason these fuckmuppets
find that appalling.