Guys, girls, and video games

48 years ago Comments Off on Guys, girls, and video games

Even if it involves a n ultimate finishing move with your favorite character in “Tekken” or a clean sniper shot in your opponent’s head in “Halo,” the issue of gender in the electronic gaming industry is a touchy one. However, the consensus is typically the same: guys love games, girls hate them.

The student body of SHSU is no exception to this rule. Sitting outside the Lee Drain Building, elementary education majors Mandi McClure and Autumn Smith discuss the issue.

Smith and McClure say they don’t play video games but “we watch our boyfriends play them.”

Smith does play a couple of computer games like solitaire or the coin-op trivia game at a restaurant she frequents in Houston.

McClure, however, has no desire for them. “I would rather find something else with my time than play a video game,” she says. “They’re not exciting to me. Your fingers start hurting, your thumbs start hurting after awhile. I don’t think it’s fun.”

McClure admits she did play games when she was little. “I always liked Mario Brothers.”

But she is convinced games have changed a lot since then. “They’re bloody, they’re gory. It’s like watching a horror film and you’re the person killing all of these thingsit’s blood and guts in these video games. It’s like seeing something real.”

“I agree with her,” says Smith. “Some of them are too violent.”

An article in PC Review last year stated, “The violent, often sexist content of many games is cited as not only a turn-off to female players, but as a prime reason why girls don’t bother with engineering and computing careersThe few women characters (in video games) tend to be S&M variations of Barbie tough, pneumatic chicks with skin-tight, skimpy clothing (can Lara Croft really scale rocky ledges in those hotpants?)”

Smith says that some of the video games out now do portray females negatively.

“It is skimpy,” agrees McClure, “and I understand that. But I also see it as this woman who is taking all these challenges that some women might not do. I think she (Lara Croft) is showing somewhat of a positive message.”

Still, McClure and Smith don’t play the games but have to frustratingly watch as their boyfriends engage into the latest games on the market.

So why do guys enjoy games so much?

“Honestly, I couldn’t tell you,” says McClure.

Computer science major Edward Williams plays games to relieve stress and for a challenge. And “to win,” he says casually as he sits in front of a chessboard.

Williams enjoys strategy-type games the most. “Because, not only do you have to think, but you also learn about history in the process”. Williams says he has learned quite a lot about certain, historic battles by playing war strategy games on his computer.

“And then of course, simulations,” is William’s specialty.

In addition to being a student, Williams is the audio designer for the award-winning tank simulator, “Steel Beasts,” which debuted on computer game store’s shelves in the U.S. last year and has just hit the European market in early February.

To explain the interest guys have for video games, Williams uses the example of a flight simulator. “I can’t just go down to the airport and fly a plane, right? But I can get on a flight simulator. And fly!–something that I wouldn’t normally be able to do.”

As for more violent games, Williams says, “I do like fighting games and pointless shooting games like a first-person shooter”, but he doesn’t think they are too violent. “As long as you know in your mind that there’s a difference in what you’re playing and what’s expected in reality. It’s stress relieveyou get mad, and get on the game and you blow up some aliens or something.”

Are most of the games coming out now geared towards males?

“Yeah,” says Williams. “I would say that men dominate the industry, they create the games. Usually whoever’s making the game they come up with an idea of a game that they want to play. Well, that’s one reason. The other reason is to just make money off the game but that’s the wrong way to do it.”

So, are there any girls who do play video games?

“Some girls are into it,” says Jessica Aguilar, a senior finance major. “Like my roommate.”

Aguilar says her roommate (a female) likes games with a good storyline and challenge her to use her mind.

WomenGamers.com, is a company who reviews video games, movies and perform a variety of other services. They describe themselves as “a fun, female-friendly, community-nurturing research tool.”

Their website states, “While it was certainly true in the past that many more males played computer games than females, the gap has been closing for some time now. Currently, there is only a 7 to 15 percent margin between the number of males who play games versus the number of females.”

Still, with the gaming industry going the way it is, girls like McClure, Smith and Aguilar have little or no desire for playing games.