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Of Women in Games

April 10, 2013

I had a hard time finding a blog name that married the two cores this whole thing will gravitate around. It seems a good idea to explain it a bit, so I’ll do that in two posts.

Today, we’ll see who are these women I intend to write about.

Bustles

One obvious association for ‘bustle’ is ‘crazy crunch time’ which game development (too) often involves. But that’s not why I chose this word.

When I thought up this blog, I knew I wanted to talk about women and game development. I figured that using a typically female underwear in the name would both say ‘woman’ and ‘what lies under/behind what the public sees’. I just had to find something whimsical but not distasteful (there’s enough of that elsewhere).

Just like corsets, ‘bustles’ are a way to represent womanhood. They’re all about accentuating the curves unique to a woman’s body. They’re about that girly habit of dressing up. Because women in games aren’t all tomboys.

On the other hand, they are also, historically-speaking, a way to please man and, to a certain extent, objectify womanhood. That’s another aspect of women in games.

But nowadays, with steampunk’s popularity, women are reclaiming corsets, bloomers and bustles as tools to express themselves and their feminity. Hopefully, I’ll do a bit of that here by talking about three main women in games.

The Developers

I’ve been a Game Designer since 2007 and Game Design Director since February 2012. There aren’t a lot of us female game designers – and the percentage drops even more when it comes to female programmers – which apparently makes us both a desirable addition to a team and a misunderstood one.

I’m not saying we’re better than our men counterpart; we’re just wired differently. I’m not saying we’re persecuted; we’re just often limited by pre-conceptions.

I’ll try to explore all of the above and talk about my experience in the industry. I also hope to get guest blogs by other female game developers from time to time.

The Characters

So there are women behind the curtain who develop games for a living. There are also women ‘on the stage’, as characters in a variety of games.

I don’t intend to get on a soapbox and yell against jiggly breasts in video games. In my opinion, if I want to complain about Lara Croft’s sexiness, I have to bash Drake’s too. I am interested in analyzing some female characters and comparing them with their male counterparts. And there are good and bad characters, regardless of their gender.

The Players

Then comes the audience, the third group of women in games.

After years and years of not finding anything interesting in a male-oriented market, women now play an ever increasing amount of games, thanks to the industry’s efforts to broaden its audience.

These women are part of my topics; I’ve designed quite a few casual games, which are typically perceived as ‘women games’.

And, obviously, I’m a female gamer myself.

Closing Words

I think I’ve covered the main points of the first gravitational pole for my blog. Hopefully, this sparked a bit of interest without scaring any of you away.

In a nutshell, I’ll talk about women and our place, impact and representation in the game industry. I promise it won’t be a pity party.

I hate pity parties.

Unless they involve shooting virtual zombies.

Any woman around here? Shout!

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