[-empyre-] Welcome to Week 2 on -empyre: GAMES AND REPRESENTATION

Murat Nemet-Nejat muratnn at gmail.com
Wed Apr 15 14:21:03 AEST 2015

Shira, thank you for your clear and succinct response. The way you describe
it, the tension between big markets (AAA games) and more specialized ones
is not much different from the one between big budget (Hollywood, etc.) and
indie films or popular writing (novels, etc.) and poetry, etc. Seen from
that angle,it seems to me the tension is inherent to capitalism where the
profit motive (selling to the largest market possible) is paramount, rather
than gender prejudice (unless practiced unconsciously against economic
self-interest) or any other kind of prejudice.

Or is it gender prejudice in the work place where certain jobs are not
available to women or to gays, etc.? In relation to this, Audrey made a
very interesting point: the split between humanities and computer sciences,
there being fewer women in computer sciences. Does anyone remember Larry
Sumner's comment that women are not good in sciences. There, prejudices
definitely exist. It seems gender imbalance is endemic in Silicon Valley.
Is it particularly, even more so in the field of digital games?

Shira did you say more women play digital games than men? If so, I would
have expected more games geared to "female sensibilities"  (as there are
"women's novels," etc.). Are there such games? Is there such a digital
genre? The issue of content seems to be very important in the discussions
here, but I am not clear in what way?

(Personally, I am not a personal devotee of games, digital or otherwise. I
prefer involved crossword puzzles. My experience of them, in the nature of
the clues they give, is that they are refreshingly androgynous.)


On Tue, Apr 14, 2015 at 6:51 PM, Aubrey Anable <aubrey.anable at utoronto.ca>

> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> Shira—Thank you for putting some necessary pressure on the discourse of
> being maligned. I found myself nodding vigorously in agreement to the many
> good points made by Jen and Brenda.
> I do think it’s important to celebrate the more diverse gaming landscape
> that has developed over the past few years--in terms of whose playing and
> whose designing games. My comments here have mostly been about my
> frustrations with some blind spots in academic approaches to analyzing and
> understanding games. At the risk of sounding like a conspiracy theorist, I
> would like to suggest that the problems we have all been identifying--in
> the industry, the culture, and in scholarly approaches--are connected.
> For example, I think it is a problem that most game design programs in
> North American universities are closely affiliated with Computer Science.
> Computer Science departments have a big gender problem in terms of being
> unable—for complex reasons—to attract and retain women in the field. If
> these are the programs that feed into the gaming industry, we are still a
> long way off from increasing the numbers of women in programming jobs. At
> the same time, courses in “game studies” from a humanities or a social
> scientific approach are taught elsewhere on campus, often with little or no
> direct connection with what’s going on over in Computer Science. This is a
> problem that affects who goes to work in the industry, what kind of work
> they do in the industry, and deepens the divide between ways of knowing and
> understanding video games in the broader culture.
> And by the way, Brenda, I would love to hear your thoughts on the deeper
> reasons behind GamerGate, as I’m sure others would.
>  Aubrey Anable
> Cinema Studies Institute
> University of Toronto
> 2 Sussex Ave.
> Toronto, ON
> M5S 1J5
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au
> http://empyre.library.cornell.edu
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