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From Barbie to Mortal Kombat: Gender and Computer Games Paperback – February 28, 2000
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This book explores the complicated issue of gender in computer games-particularly the development of video games for girls. One side is the concern that the average computer game, being attractive primarily to boys, furthers the technology access gap between the genders. Yet attempts to create computer games that girls want to play brings about another set of concerns: should games be gendered at all? And does having boys' games and girls' games merely reinforce the way gender differences are socialized in play?
Cassell and Jenkins have gathered the thoughts of several feminist and media scholars to explore the issues from multiple perspectives, but this is not a work confined to ivory-tower theorizing. Alongside the philosophical explorations are pragmatic investigations of the hard-nosed, real world of computer-game manufacture and sales. Particularly enlightening is a section featuring interviews with several leading creators of games for girls. And while all agree that it's good to be past the days when women in computer games were limited to scantily clad background figures or damsels in distress, the visions of an appropriate future are both diverse and well defended. There is no pretense here of easy answers, but there are many excellent questions. --Elizabeth Lewis --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
In this intriguing anthology of essays, studies and interviews, voices from both academia and industry discuss what the experience of computer games is and should be for girls. While game creators have recently discovered the young female consumer, few of these authors are happy with the offerings, which tend to push domesticity and an obsession with looks. Almost all the contributors share some basic belief that the marketplace is dominated by games promoting bad values while shortchanging values identifiable as truly feminist. As Cassell points out, feminism in this context can mean values not pertaining exclusively to gender. The resulting proposals for video games are filled with such buzzwords as "subjective," "creativity," "community" and "collaboration" (all good) as opposed to "violent," "competitive" and "conquest" (all bad). It is always nice to see theorists come down from the clouds to enter into discussions of everyday-life subjects such as the ramifications of the Tomb Raider character Lara Croft's ample endowment. The best move of the editors is to conclude the volume with commentary by girl gamers, many of whom worry that the contributors' solutions will underequip girls for the ugly real world. Says one: "I don't want to be friends! I want to be King!"
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
The focus on computer games for girls became a issue when it was noticed that while boys liked playing computer games and were more comfortable with computers; girls stayed away from these games. The result - girls would be computer illiterate and be unable to compete in the technical job market.
The book is openly feminist, dealing with how girls and women are represented in computer games; bringing in academic research into gender play, and interviewing the women in the game companies who are designing and producing the games. The interviews with the women in the game industry offers outsiders the rare opportunity to hear the opinions of the designers and developers. Some explain how market research determines what they produce, others provide a more personal view of what moves them to design. The word "empowerment" appears repeatedly.
The editors conclude with ideas for game play that gives voice and play space to both girls and boys. The book's inclusive points of view ends with a talk back piece by Game Grrls - women who enjoy playing action games to compete and win - often over men. The book provides a scholarly treatise on girls, computers, and society. Each of the academic chapters are followed by extensive bibliographies. For whose who are interested in the subject it is extremely valuable to have everything in one place.
Genevieve Katz © 1999, Games4Girls
For video game programmers and toy designers, this book should be required reading, especially for those who wish to be conscious of their contribution to gender differences in society. And a must read for parents and video game enthusiasts alike.
Don't waste your time and money.