Video Games and Gender

Posted on May 13th, 2016 by:

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I remember growing up and playing games, I didn’t really know any girls who liked to play video games. It was extremely rare for me, until I got to college. While I studied at Berklee College of Music, I encountered more and more girls who played games. Not only that, girls who were better than me at games! While I hosted my radio show called Vertigo on the Berklee Internet Radio Network, I would also have live performances of ensembles. While there I¬†hosted a live performance of the Video Game Music Choir, which was comprised of a sizable amount of female performers and gamers. Experiences like this made me realize that the female gaming community had grown tremendously. Not only that, but the game industry is comprised of a sizable amount of female developers, programmers, composers, and more. The history of video game music is comprised greatly of female composers. Yoko Shimomura (Street Fighter II), Manami Matsumae(Megaman), Michiru Yamane (Castlevania), and much more. This is contrasted greatly by the film scoring community. I am someone who actively consumes classic and contemporary film music, and the only prominent female film composer I know and love is Shirley Walker (Batman the Animated Series.) This is not because there is a lack of talented female composers in the film scoring community, it’s solely do to the fact that it is much harder and rare for a female to rise to prominence in the film scoring community.


Shirley Walker

In today’s gaming world, woman make up about half of the demographic¬†of consumers. It is much more common for me to see a couple shopping for a game and hearing the girl call out her preferences of what game to select, “no destiny sucks, let’s get Shadows of Morder instead.” Or to see females at barcades (82 barcade in DTLA specifically.) While this is something that most people in the gaming community know already, there is still a feeling that the video game industry is a “boys club,” and it just isn’t true. Even if it still was, it is becoming less and less so as the days go by.


Ryu can be sexy too


There are some who have made it a crusade to point out the gender inequalities in games and the oversexualization of women in games. While there are plenty of examples of games that depict woman as if a 12 year old designed them (I’m looking at you Kojima-Metal Gear Phantom Pain.) There are also games with female heroines that girls can look up to (Tomb Raider reboot, Resident Evil, Metroid, Final Fantasy.) Games are a very inclusive medium, and there is no reason to think that games regularly suppress women, or hypersexualize them.


It has even become a community that is adding more members that claim they’ve been gaming all their life when that is a lie. This just goes to show how acceptable and “cool” it is to be a gamer today. There is way less of a stigma attached to being a gamer today. Both male and females want to jump on the bandwagon today, because nerd culture is starting to become much more prominent, and okay to be a part of. It even seems that it’s even less “cool” to NOT be a part of the culture. Either way, the numbers of gamers are growing tremendously. There are roughly 137 million gamers in the US alone, and about half of them are woman. People play roughly 3 billion hours of games a week. The community is growing, and it’s participants are changing.

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