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Women, video gaming and learning: Beyond stereotypes



Abstract This paper critically assesses current beliefs about women and video gaming, and provides an alternative perspective on gender issues in gameplay. Implications are drawn for the design of games for learning. Gender and Gaming While video gaming has grown immensely as an industry over the last decade, with growing numbers of gamers around the globe, including women, gaming continues to be a very gendered practice. The apparentgender,divide in video gaming has caught the attention of both the gaming industry as well as educators, generating considerable and conflicting perspectives on its causes and consequences,as well as strategies to address it. The gaming industry obviously has a vested interest (profit) in attracting more gamers, and women have seemed a likely market for quite someti me. Women already are gaming in growing numbers but they tend not to play the more complex, revenue- generating “hard-core” games such as first-person shooters and fantasy games in as many numbers as men. Women tend to playm ore “casual” games such as Tetris and Solitaire, or games like The Sims(Angelo, 2004, May 14; Krotoski, 2004).
Elisabeth Hayes
University of Wisconsin-Madison
(608) 263-0774
Dept. of Curriculum & Instruction
225 N. Mills St.
Madison, WI 53719
Article to appear in TechTrends, forthcoming
Running head: Women, Video gaming, & Learning
This paper critically assesses current beliefs about women and video gaming, and
provides an alternative perspective on gender issues in game play. Implications are drawn
for the design of games for learning.
Gender and Gaming
While video gaming has grown immensely as an industry over the last decade,
with growing numbers of gamers around the globe, including women, gaming continues
to be a very gendered practice. The apparent gender divide in video gaming has caught
the attention of both the gaming industry as well as educators, generating considerable
and conflicting perspectives on its causes and consequences, as well as strategies to
address it. The gaming industry obviously has a vested interest (profit) in attracting more
gamers, and women have seemed a likely market for quite some time. Women already
are gaming in growing numbers but they tend not to play the more complex, revenue-
generating “hard-core” games such as first-person shooters and fantasy games in as many
numbers as men. Women tend to play more “casual” games such as Tetris and Solitaire,
or games like The Sims (Angelo, 2004, May 14; Krotoski, 2004).
For educators, there are reasons other than profit for giving attention to gender
issues in gaming. Video gaming is now often children’s first and most compelling
introduction to digital technologies, and is presumed to be a door to a broader range of
digital tools and applications. Gaming might help develop confidence and skills in using
Running head: Women, Video gaming, & Learning
digital technologies, leading to an increased interest and aptitude for careers in computer
science and other fields that rely heavily on such technologies(AAUW Educational
Commission on Teaching, 2000). Playing casual games might not offer as many
opportunities for developing more advanced skills such as modding. Women and men’s
preferences and aptitudes for different kinds of games might also have implications for
the design and use of instructional technologies that appeal to both sexes (see Squire &
Jenkins, 2004, for examples of computer and video games used for education).
These possibilities have led to a flurry of research and speculation on girls’ and
women’s attitudes towards games, self-identified preferences, and gaming strategies. The
result has been the development of “girl games,” a host of rather broad assertions about
differences between women and men as gamers, and a considerable amount of ongoing
disagreement about the value of both (see, for example, Cassell & Jenkins, 1998; Wright,
n.d.). My goal in this paper is to point out some problems with popular assumptions about
women as gamers, and to suggest an alternative way of understanding their orientations
towards gaming. I will suggest some implications of this perspective for educators who
are interested in designing games for learning.
The Problem with Mars and Venus
Theories about gender differences in digital gaming tend to be based on
inferences drawn from the types of games that women and men already play, or what
they say they would prefer. This type of evidence is problematic in a number of ways.
First, interpretations of women and men’s current gaming practices and preferences often
give little attention to how these are dependent on the relative accessibility of different
Running head: Women, Video gaming, & Learning
games, past experience (or lack of experience) with gaming, and knowledge of different
game genres. For example, the number of middle aged women who play puzzle-type
games has been interpreted as an innate female preference for “problem-solving,” when it
could be just as likely that women play such games because they can be played in short
periods of time and that they are readily available on internet, both factors important for
incorporating games into adult responsibilities. Similarly, girls and women often tell
stories of how, as children, computers and game consoles were purchased for their
brothers or placed in their brothers’ rooms, giving girls fewer opportunities to play games
as well as further reinforcing the idea that gaming is a masculine practice (Margolis &
Fisher, 2002).
A second problem is that explanations for gendered play patterns tend to be linked
to broad theories about biologically or psychologically based gender differences. These
theories often have rather tenuous connections to the specific practices of game play, and
do not take into account the effects of personal history or social context. For example,
the belief that women prefer indirect competition to direct competition has been widely
touted as a explanation for why women seem to dislike violent games (Graner Ray,
2004). This preference is assumed to have evolved from women’s historical role in
childbearing and caring for young offspring, making the threat of physical injury more
significant for them than for men (Campbell, 2002; Graner Ray, 2004). Among other
weaknesses, this notion seems to ignore evidence that, from very early ages, men are
given much more encouragement and opportunity to derive pleasure from aggressive,
competitive play, while women are encouraged to engage in more sedate, nuturing types
of activities (Valian, 1998).
Running head: Women, Video gaming, & Learning
A third problem with current beliefs about gender and gaming is that diversity
among women as well as among men is typically ignored in favor of making global
distinctions between the sexes. Men do not all like the same kinds of games, as is readily
apparent in how some men favor sports games, others play only first person shooters,
some prefer real time strategy games, while still others gravitate towards role-playing
games; furthermore, many men play across genres. Already we know that some women
enjoy and are successful at playing “hard-core” games, as can be seen from their
comments on various sites devoted to women gamers (e.g.,;;; Related to this point,
assertions about gender attributes are often drawn from particular groups of women, such
as adolescent girls or middle aged women, and generalized to women of all ages. In fact,
beliefs about the preferences of male gamers still are based on the adolescent hard-core
gamer, a profile that does not represent, for example, the gaming practices of many adult
men who do not have a luxury of endless hours of gaming, want more depth of game play
or who are just as turned off by bimbo female avatars as many women.
Given this complexity, some authors (e.g., Reynolds, 2005) have argued that
continued attention to gender as a factor influencing gaming simply reifies difference,
contributing to a continued marginalization and misunderstanding of women gamers.
While delineating dichotomous differences between the sexes is not helpful, ignoring
gender is also problematic. Gender, like it or not, has huge impact on our identities and
participation in social practices, including gaming. Obviously, games still tend to be
marketed more to men, game magazines cater to males (often celebrating hard core
gamer practices and ethos), and the content of many games appears to be designed to
Running head: Women, Video gaming, & Learning
appeal to adolescent male fantasies. In fact, the continued stereotyping of female gamers
may reinforce the appeal of gaming for men as a means of asserting and displaying
masculinity, similar to certain sports (see, for example, the discussion of gender
dynamics and snowboarding in Anderson, 1999).
In the remainder of this article, I wish to offer an alternative to the “pink and blue”
conceptualization of men and women as gamers. I argue that:
(a) Some “female” gaming practices can be attributed to women’s lack of experience
with gaming rather than to innate gender-specific preferences, Past experience is
one factor that has not been taken into consideration in much past research on
women and men’s preferences in gaming. However, this may figure strongly in,
for example, women’s reported motivations and preferred learning styles.
(b) Women’s reactions to overtly gendered practices within games, such as fighting,
will vary according to other aspects of their past experience, identities, and
(c) Women’s gaming preferences may change over time and experience; in other
words, some gaming practices are “acquired” tastes that are enhanced with
practice, success, and a supportive social context.
I will use examples from interviews with and observations of two adult women, Joanna
and Deirdre, who played The Elder Scrolls: Morrowind as part of a university course on
video gaming and learning. Both women were in their late 20s and their prior experience
with gaming was limited mostly to some console gaming as children. They took the
course for similar reasons, primarily because they felt that understanding video gaming
would be helpful in their current and future work as educators with adolescents and
Running head: Women, Video gaming, & Learning
young adults. Joanna, who was pursuing an advanced degree in Rhetoric and
Composition Studies, was a writing instructor and consultant. She described herself as a
somewhat poorly motivated student in the past, and was excited by the potential of
understanding new, cutting edge technologies. Deirdre was earning a graduate degree in
Curriculum and Instruction, to support her work in Christian youth education. She had
excelled in science as a high school student, but switched career plans from premed to
education as an undergraduate, despite what she felt were expectations of her as a “girl
good in science.”
Joanna and Deidre chose to play Morrowind to fulfill the course requirement of
playing a video game for 50 hours. Morrowind is the third in the series of The Elder
Scrolls role-playing games. Role-playing games allow players to develop one or more
characters by selecting attributes at the beginning and throughout the game, through
making choices about strategies and skills. Players’ actions define their characters, and
game play changes and evolves in response to these actions. The storyline is more or less
structured by a set of challenges or quests that allow players to improve their skills,
explore the world of the game, and achieve goals more or less related to the storyline. The
Elder Scrolls series, particularly Morrrowind, is distinctive in its open-endedness,
offering players a vast number of choices about how to develop their character, what
types of goals and activities to pursue. Because of its open-endedness and
accommodation of a wide variety of potential gaming styles, Morrowind offered a
particularly useful context for exploring how gender might have influenced the women’s
orientations and practices within game (for more information about the game, see
Running head: Women, Video gaming, & Learning
Playing Like a Newbie? Confounding Gender and Experience
Some widely circulated assertions about gender differences in gaming include: (1)
men are motivated simply by winning, women want to accomplish something socially
significant and beneficial; (2) men want to start over and accept punishment for errors;
women want errors forgiven and to continue on in the game; and (3) men prefer to learn
through expository explanation, while women want to observe model game play (Graner
Ray, 2004). Upon closer examination, these so-called female preferences could readily be
attributed to women’s lower likelihood for status among peers or identity reinforcement
simply from “beating” the game (desire to achieve other goals), greater uncertainty about
their odds of success in the game (desire for forgiveness of errors), and lack of concrete
images of game play (desire for modeling). Even these preferences can be mediated by
women’s past learning experiences and their self-perceptions as learners.
Joanna and Deirdre as “newbies” demonstrated quite different orientations to
learning how to play the game, providing good examples of the diverse ways that new
women gamers might orient to game play. While Morrowind is quite open-ended, it does
have a series of quests that move the player through the central storyline, that of finding
her “real” identity as the next leader and legendary figure of Morrowind. Joanna was
quite motivated by “winning” or mastering the game through completing the main quests
and “making it to the end of the game.” For her, the opportunity to succeed in the game
reflected a chance to change a past pattern of what she characterized as rather limited
effort and mixed success with difficult tasks, particularly with stereotypically masculine
school subjects such as chemistry. In contrast, Deirdre’s approach to game play was
Running head: Women, Video gaming, & Learning
motivated by a desire to do what she wanted, reflecting her present desire to find her own
life path rather than conforming to what she felt was expected of her. The women were
more motivated by the significance of their own personal goals rather than by any
particular goals offered by the game itself.
Morrowind is a relatively forgiving game; the player can save at any point and
death results only in starting again at the last save. After many hours of game play,
Joanna chose to start over the game when she decided she didn’t like her avatar’s
constellation of skills and that she wasn’t “doing it right.” She viewed this not as
punishment but as a chance to start with a clean slate and perfect her game play. Deidre
opted out of playing the game the “right way” and did what she found most pleasurable;
errors, such as dying or taking the wrong path, were simply part of figuring out the game,
a source of learning rather than something to be punished or forgiven. Joanna relied on a
wide variety of resources for learning; while modeling was not readily available, she
readily used other people’s advice as well as expository documents, such as
walkthroughs. Deirdre preferred to figure things out on her own, referring only to guides
for making potions, which became one of her favorite activities within the game.
As these examples suggest, predicting the preferences of new female gamers is
likely to be difficult. How a new gamer will approach learning to play a game will be
reflective of her goals and self-confidence. Of course, Morrowind accommodated a
variety of learning modes, and not all games are as flexible. In addition, both women
struggled with learning to navigate the game space, and their personal goals combined
with the pressure of a course requirement contributed to their persistence.
Running head: Women, Video gaming, & Learning
Playing Like a Girl? The Meanings of Gendered Practices
Women have different interpretations of and responses to overtly gendered
practices within video games, just as they do in the “real world.” Take as one example
the assertion that women prefer games that allow them to develop cooperative social
relationships, rather than games that feature violence as the main form of social
‘interaction’ (Angelo, 2004, May 14; Goodale, 2004; Graner Ray, 2004; Laurel, 1998).
This assertion often is based on women’s apparent affinity for multiplayer games, or
single player games like The Sims that involve managing families and interpersonal
relationships. A common explanation for this preference is that mutuality and
relationships are a primary source of identity for women, while men’s identities are
defined more by individuality and social hierarchy(Gilligan, 1982; Jordan, Kaplan,
Miller, Stiver, & Surrey, 1991).
Morrowind offers somewhat limited opportunities for cooperative social
relationships, although it does involve a considerable amount of interaction with NPCs.
Players do have the choice of joining various factions that offer additional quests and add
to the game narrative. Joanna and Deirdre both seemed drawn to more positive social
interactions to the extent that they were possible in the game. However, these interactions
had quite different meanings and purposes for each woman. For Joanna, “talking to other
people” became a key strategy for obtaining information and resources. Her goal was to
“get them to do what she wanted” through persuasion and wearing impressive clothes.
She also joined as many factions as possible, until she reached the point that their
demands were interfering with her progress on the main quests, and she abandoned them.
Running head: Women, Video gaming, & Learning
Joanna’s skill at social relationships became instrumental to her progress and power in
the game.
In contrast, at the outset of the game, Deirdre chose to be a healer, reflecting her
real-life desire to “help other people.” The game did not provide many opportunities for
her to use these healing powers, which disappointed her (and reflects a bias in the game).
She did enjoy occasional opportunities to assist characters in the game, such as freeing
slaves. However, she avoided most factions and took quests only when as long as they
met her own moral standards. She upped her skills in potion-making specifically so that
she could be independent as well as to make money; in fact, she bragged about buying
out the village salespeople.
Each woman did find pleasure in relating to characters in the game in ways that
did not involve violence. However, these interactions were not necessarily helping
relationships but were sources of power and self-assertion. Indeed, for both women the
game provided opportunities to experiment with new forms of identity that they desired
beyond the game.
Playing Like a Boy? Enjoying “Masculine” Pleasures
Combat is typically used as an example of a masculine practice commonly found
in video games that women do not find appealing. One explanation for women’s dislike
of combat is that it represents a form of direct competition, while women are more likely
to be comfortable with (and have experience in) indirect competition (i.e., through
negotiation or compromise) (Graner Ray, 2004). However, there is ample evidence of
women who are avid players of the most stereotypically male-oriented games, who enjoy
Running head: Women, Video gaming, & Learning
fighting, competition, and independence as much as many male players (see, for example,
the interviews with female gamers in chapter 14 of Cassell & Jenkins, 1998, and in
Taylor, 2003). Such women continue to be treated as aberrations, leaving us with little
insight into how and why they find such so-called masculine practices so pleasurable.
Joanna and Deirdre (and indeed, all of the women in their graduate course) were
not initially enthusiastic about the fighting in Morrowind. While they both expressed an
initial desire to avoid fighting, each woman construed combat differently, in relation to
their own past experience and goals. When it became apparent that fighting was
unavoidable, at least for self-defense, they both improvised identities and practices that
allowed them to engage in combat in ways that they found comfortable and rewarding.
For Joanna, her lack of prior experience with (virtual) combat, in combination
with her concerns about “doing things right” in the game, led her to figure fighting as a
potential opportunity for failure. She initially tried to avoid fighting by choosing a
character that could make potions and using magic. After discovering that she didn’t
enjoy potion-making (she compared it to cooking, which she also disliked), Joanna found
cheat codes that enabled her to fight with some assurance of success. She enjoyed
fighting, particularly to obtain new items as “drops” from her slain opponents.
At the start of the game, Deirdre figured combat as something that conflicted with
her desire to be a healer. When she discovered that she had to defend herself against
hostile creatures as she explored the territory of the game, she became adept at hand-to-
hand combat – fighting without weapons – something that ultimately became a
considerable source of pride for her since it represented a somewhat unusual skill.
Running head: Women, Video gaming, & Learning
The context of the game had an important influence on the women’s pleasure in
combat. Fighting, when figured within the game world as a valued practice that required
skill and that was crucial to accomplishing goals, became a source of power and mastery.
Taylor (2003)suggests that women’s enjoyment of violence in video gaming results not
from the fighting per se, but from public display of proficiency in a valued practice: “the
actual fight is as much an opportunity to demonstrate the valued qualities of game
mastery as anything” (p. 34). In Taylor’s work as well as for the two women in this study,
the pleasures of fighting were connected to other goals and identities. The women in
Taylor’s study were playing Everquest, and fighting skills were essential for participating
in raids and otherwise gaining status among other players. In the single player context of
Morrowwind, these social relationships did not exist. For Joanna and Deirdre, skill in
combat was not, at this stage in their gaming, a primary source of identity as much as a
means of supporting practices more integral to these identities: a means of gathering
great clothes, potion ingredients, exploring new lands, or “doing things right.” Not only
the game context, but also the context of the university course made fighting an
acceptable and even valued practice, as the women shared experiences with other women
in class and could brag about their growing proficiency with fighting in these games.
Gender and Games for Learning
What can we draw from these examples for the design and use of games for more
overtly educational purposes? Below I list some general recommendations:
1. Avoid stereotypes. This sums up the major point of this paper, in case you missed
it. Don't base a game on the assumption that women and girls want to shop, talk,
Running head: Women, Video gaming, & Learning
dress up, or play nice. Yes, they may enjoy these activities, but they may also
enjoy beating up monsters, driving fast cars, saving the world, getting a lot of
gold, and winning the game. They might need some support at first, particularly if
they have never wielded a weapon or held a controller, but don’t let women miss
out on activities that might ultimately be quite motivating, just because they are
supposed to be “masculine” pleasures.
2. Don’t assume women are all alike. Joanna and Deirdre’s game play was quite
different, even in the context of the same game. We know that no one teaching
style appeals to all people, and neither does any particular game. The same thing
applies to men as well; keep in mind that while The Sims is touted for its appeal to
women, about half of Sims players are actually male. A variety of experiences are
needed to motivate different women and to sustain their interest and success in
learning. Some women like explicit guidance, some like to figure things out on
their own; some like open-ended exploration, some like a more linear sequence of
tasks. Women like variety too, just like men. In addition, women can have quite
different responses to overtly gendered practices, responses that do not readily
conform to common assumptions and that may change with time and experience.
3. Provide scaffolding for new gamers. Many commercial games require skills and
genre knowledge that males with prior gaming experience take for granted. This
includes not only in-game practices such as combat, but also knowledge of game
interfaces, spatial navigation, and strategies such as exploring all spaces to find
useful items or to discover new territory. These elements may be incorporated
into educational games, but be sure to make those things learnable in the game.
Running head: Women, Video gaming, & Learning
Good tutorials are essential for new gamers, but avoid making them too didactic.
The best tutorials are like a “sandbox’ (Gee, 2003); they immerse players in
scaffolded game play, so they feel like playing the real game.
4. Do consider overall game design, not just particular elements in isolation. The
interrelationship of various kinds of practices may be more important to a
successful gaming experience than any single attribute of a game. Simply taking
out violence, or adding puzzles and social interactions, is not the way to make
games that have broad appeal for women. In fact, games that combine elements
associated with both stereotypically masculine and feminine pleasures and
strengths may ultimately be the most stimulating and potentially valuable games
for learning as well as entertainment. Morrowind proved to be a pretty good
example of a game with such a mixture of elements, though even this had its
biases, such as the imperative of fighting, or the limited opportunities for healing
other characters. Incorporating familiar as well as unfamiliar practices, that both
draw on and extend players’ prior knowledge and skills, is a principle of good
instructional design in any context.
5. Do create a supportive social context for gaming-to-learn. A recent study found
that college students of both genders typically played video games with friends
and family, not in isolation (Jones, 2003). Players of commercial games are
supported by extensive networks of other gamers, who share walkthroughs,
cheats, maps, and other player-generated resources. Such networks also offer
social recognition for gaming expertise and encouragement for newbies. This kind
Running head: Women, Video gaming, & Learning
of support may be particularly important for women, who need to challenge
stereotypes about their skills and abilities as gamers.
Ultimately, it seems quite likely that designing games that will appeal to women – and
are good for learning - is a lot like designing good games in general. Attention to
diversity of experience, ability, knowledge, and goals will lead to more successful and
motivating designs for any kind of learning, game-based or otherwise.
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... É importante ressaltar que muitas pesquisas em torno desse assunto receberam críticas por tentar relacionar isoladamente a questão do gênero à biologia dos corpos, desconsiderando fatores sociais e culturais; por restringir demasiadamente as categorias de gênero, havendo pouca preocupação com questões de orientação sexual; pouco refinamento de faixas etárias; e por se basear na ideia de encontrar uma "mulher genérica" e universal [16]. Entretanto, apesar das críticas, a divisão do mercado consumidor em gêneros persiste e muitas pesquisas são realizadas desta forma. ...
... Esta postura, contudo, recebe muitas críticas. Entre elas, de que o modo tradicional de divisão de gênero seria estruturado de maneira binária, enquanto em muitas teorias hoje os papéis de gênero são considerados em fluxo; que estes se baseiam em papéis estereotipados de gênero [31]; que pouco se pesquisa o contexto em que os jogos são jogados (em contextos domésticos o uso é diferente do contexto público) [32]; as mulheres têm dificuldade no acesso aos consoles e jogos, tendo pouca experiência passada e conhecimento de diferentes gêneros de jogos [16] [7]; as meninas tendem a ter acesso limitado às tecnologias e são mais frequente e intensamente supervisionadas pelos pais quando se trata do que podem e não podem jogar, e que estas devem esperar os meninos jogarem primeiro [33]. Os estudos têm tomado rumos diferentes em relação ao assunto, à medida que discursos em torno das "preferências" mudaram de dicotomias simples (violência/não violência, cooperação/competição, por exemplo) para serem vistos como frutos de fatores contextuais, sociais e culturais [19]. ...
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A indústria de jogos digitais possui um mercado consumidor cada vez maior e mais diversificado. As tipologias permitem obter classificações a partir das motivações de jogadores, além de prover exclusividade e direcionamento para seus produtos de acordo com as preferências ou necessidades do público alvo. A presente pesquisa considera o envolvimento do público feminino (maioria consumidora no Brasil) nas práticas de entretenimento dos videogames com o objetivo de identificar e analisar quais os principais tipos de jogadoras brasileiras. Para isso, utilizou um questionário adaptado do teste BrainHex, de Nacke, Bateman e Mandryk, de 2014, sobre a tipologia de jogadores. Um total de 668 jogadoras, maiores de 18 anos, responderam ao questionário online e os resultados mostram que muitas delas correspondem principalmente às tipologias Colecionadora (Achiever), Comandante (Mastermind) e Exploradora (Seeker). Estas estão relacionadas aos comportamentos de colecionar/coletar, resolver problemas e criar estratégias, além de encontrar coisas interessantes, parte estando de acordo com suas preferências segundo a literatura. O tipo Socializadora (Socialiser), que comumente é atribuído às mulheres, não foi expressivo. Neste trabalho, acredita-se que as principais diferenças entre os tipos de jogadoras e suas faixas etárias estão relacionadas ao acesso aos videogames. As mulheres mais velhas apresentaram mais restrições de acesso aos jogos, seja por questões familiares, sociais ou relacionadas ao fato dos videogames serem tidos como artefatos masculinos, o que pode ter gerado uma preferência mais estreita pelos jogos. Palavras-chave: tipologia do jogador, BrainHex, mulheres, preferências femininas por jogos. 1 INTRODUÇÃO Como fruto direto da evolução tecnológica, a indústria de jogos digitais possui um mercado consumidor cada vez maior e mais diversificado. Para conhecer o mercado consumidor, e melhorar o direcionamento das vendas dos jogos, diferentes estratégias são utilizadas, tais como segmentar o mercado consumidor. Uma das segmentações mais tradicionais é classificar os consumidores conforme seu gênero (homens x mulheres), ou de acordo com a dedicação de tempo (classificando assim os jogadores em casuais ou hardcore, por exemplo). Entretanto, classificações mais refinadas, tais como as dos jogadores por seu perfil psicológico, vêm sendo usadas por muitas empresas de jogos digitais [1]. Os desenvolvedores podem investir em especificidades, mais do que apenas em produtos genéricos, aumentando assim a probabilidade de sucesso. Os jogos são mais facilmente classificados em categorias por seus conteúdos e muitos trabalhos dedicam-se a identificar as preferências dos jogadores com a finalidade de garantir produções futuras que serão ainda bem-sucedidas. Por outro lado, é possível utilizar algumas ferramentas para obter classificações sobre os jogadores a respeito de suas preferências, permitindo, assim, não apenas corroborar o sucesso de um produto, mas prover exclusividade e direcionamento para outros, de acordo com seu público correspondente. Uma diferenciação dos clientes capacitaria a indústria a ajustar seu game design e oferecer produtos que melhor correspondessem às necessidades dos jogadores [2]. Destaca-se, assim, a importância da capacidade de conhecer e, se possível, classificar mais do que os produtos, mas também o público alvo, uma vez que os padrões existentes nas escolhas e motivações dos jogadores podem ser identificados e classificados. Dessa forma, não apenas por sua menor participação, mas também pelas diferenças significativas existentes no próprio grupo selecionado, a presente pesquisa considera o envolvimento do público feminino com videogames. O objetivo é identificar e analisar quais são os principais tipos de jogadoras brasileiras de consoles e jogos para PCs, de acordo com a tipologia BrainHex. Como objetivo específico, pretende-se analisar se há diferenças entre a distribuição dos tipos por faixa etária. A seguir, abordamos: como se dá a relação entre consumo de videogames e gênero; quais são as preferências das jogadoras; e uma das formas de aferi-las, por meio das tipologias de jogador, em especial a utilizada no trabalho, a tipologia BrainHex. Em seguida, são apresentados o método e a discussão dos resultados. 2 CONSUMO E GÊNERO Pesquisas sobre os perfis dos jogadores voltam-se para aspectos que se referem às diferenças e semelhanças nos hábitos e preferências. Uma das mais utilizadas é a classificação por gênero [3] [4]. Essa categorização é padrão não apenas da indústria de jogos, mas de diversas outras. Com relação ao consumo de jogos digitais, até os anos 2000, as mulheres não eram consideradas como um mercado consumidor relevante. Acreditava-se que as mulheres, de forma geral, não tinham interesse por videogames. Diversos teóricos atribuíam tal desinteresse a diferenças relativas às questões de gênero. Quanto a tais diferenças, alegava-se principalmente: 1) que existiriam características da natureza de cada sexo, fundada na biologia dos corpos, e/ou que 2)
... Sexism generated by this marketing tactic has been perpetuated and policed by the community, causing women to be less likely to identify as a gamer (Hepler 2017;Lien 2013;Shaw 2015). Some scholars have argued that men and women simply play different types of games and have different playstyles (Brown 2015;Hepler 2017;Mildner and Mueller 2016;Paaßen et al. 2017), though some scholars attribute this difference more to the type of person and player than to gender (Hayes 2005;Shaw 2009Shaw , 2012Shaw , 2015. While the latter may not hold water, it is important to note that women have been in gaming since the beginning, though remaining less visible (Kocurek 2017). ...
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This paper focuses on how a games' characters and story reflect changing cultural norms in the period during which a game series was developed and released. This is done through qualitative evaluation of the Dragon Age series (2009-2014) and compared to two other game franchises with similar release dates and production location: the Mass Effect Trilogy (2007-2012) and the Uncharted series (2007-2017). Stories reflect cultural and societal norms of the periods and places that crafted them, providing a unique avenue of second-person stories, containing bits and pieces of their creators and their sociocultural biases. Using these digital games as artifacts and texts of focus, a change in social and cultural values and norms of modern society appears when evaluating and comparing the content of previous games in a series to the current ones, as these works reflect the environment in which they were created.
... Among other research challenges, understanding the commonplace assumptions that underlie gender biases in esports (e.g., [81]) is paramount, as it may help design equitable competitions and gaming environments. As previous work shows that reaching high-profciency in gaming is not gender-dependent [81,127,134], it seems not too far-fetched to ask (1) "why and how do gender biases still persist in gaming today?" [62,76,82], and subsequently (2) "how do they impact participation in esports?" ...
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Abstract: Digital games represent a new media form dominated by men, either as characters or as players. The perception of digital games being “Boys’ Fun” has been denied by the latest research that points to the fact that women are increasingly accessing this medium. But, the analysis of digital games shows that gender roles appear in this media as real-world stereotypes. It means that there is discrimination against women who often have a passive role, whether they appear as victims or as sexual objects. When they are not damsels in distress helplessly awaiting their saviour or playing heroines, then, they are most often portrayed as rebellious beauties with oversized dimensions. The subject of this paper is female representation in digital games. Authors used content analysis of 30 digital games with female protagonists, published at J Station, to examine the female gender roles in such digital games. The aim of the empirical study is to demonstrate that the elements of gender discrimination are present in digital games and that they can lead to creation of harmful stereotypes against women. Key words: digital games, stereotype, gender roles, discrimination, female.
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Schools and libraries are considering the incorporation of egaming because of its attraction to youth and its potential benefit for instruction, developing information literacy skills, and facilitating academic success. Although egames are played by most youth, egaming has gender-linked properties, particularly in novice gaming practice. School libraries are uniquely positioned to provide resources and services to insure gender-equitable gaming experiences: gaming periodicals, opportunities to select and review games, collaboration with classroom teachers, and game development. The emerging trends of casual gaming, mobile egaming, and gaming design offer opportunities that attract an ever broader range of students, which teacher librarians can leverage in their services.
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Increasingly, schools and libraries are incorporating egaming because of its attraction to youth and its potential benefit for instruction, developing information literacy skills, and facilitating academic success. Although egames are played by most youth, egaming has gender-linked properties: extent of play, choice of games, social interaction in gaming, and novice gaming practice. School libraries are uniquely positioned to provide resources and services to insure gender-equitable gaming experiences: gaming periodicals, opportunities to select and review games, and single sex activities. Emerging trends of casual gaming, mobile egaming, and gaming design offer opportunities that can attract girls, which teacher librarians can leverage.
The first two layers of the STEMcell Model are detailed in this chapter: the cultural and social contexts and their influencing factors. These are largely identified in the voluminous preceding research. Key cultural influencing factors are popular culture, cultural norms, parental expectations, and occupational culture. Key social influencing factors are stereotypes, role modelling, mentoring, clubs, networks, media, peers, family, hygiene factors, and social norms. These factors and the degree of their actual influence are discussed critically, highlighting potential warning signs and issues. The overall conclusion is that, with the exception of cultures that strictly limit female participation, both the contexts themselves and interventions targeted at them have much less influence than is commonly assumed.
Playing digital games is described as a pathway to computer science (CS) classes and majors, but not all gamers want to study CS. The goal of this chapter is to explore which gaming motivations and practices are most strongly related to an interest in studying computer science, and whether the connection between gaming and computer science is similar for men and women. The data are from 545 male and female gamers taking an introductory computer science class at one of 15 community colleges in the US. Survey responses were analyzed to provide a picture of what, how often, and why they play, and interviews from 39 of the most avid gamers were analyzed for why and how they play. The results show that, on average, men play more frequently than women, and there are gender differences in the type of games they like to play and why they play them. However, playing more frequently was not associated with greater interest in studying CS for either gender. Interest in CS was highest among men who were motivated to play in order to increase skills, be with friends, connect with the game features, and by the art or graphics. However, CS interest was highest among women who consider themselves to be more serious gamers, play racing and puzzle games, play on a game console, and are motivated by fun, relaxation and social interaction. The results can inform efforts to increase the number of women that pursue computer science. The chapter concludes with recommendations for future research on how game play and interest in CS are related.
Today’s media are vast in both form and influence; however, few cultural studies scholars address the video gaming industry’s role in domestic maintenance and global imposition of U.S. hegemonic ideologies. In this study, video games are analyzed by cover art, content, and origin of production. Whether it is earning more “powers” in games such as Star Wars, or earning points to purchase more powerful artillery in Grand Theft Auto, capitalist ideology is reinforced in a subtle, entertaining fashion. This study shows that oppressive hegemonic representations of gender and race are not only present, but permeate the majority of top-selling video games. Finally, the study traces the origins of best-selling games, to reveal a virtual U.S. monopoly in the content of this formative medium.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationships between gameplay enjoyment, gaming goal orientations, and individual characteristics. A total of 301 participants were surveyed and the data were analyzed using structural equation modeling. This led to an expanded Gameplay Enjoyment Model (GEM) with 41 game design features that influence player enjoyment. Furthermore, a 3x2 Gaming Goal Orientations model was established with six dimensions that describe players' motivations for gaming. In addition, players' individual characteristics were used to predict gameplay enjoyment in the GEM-Individual Characteristics model. The six Gaming Goal Orientations dimensions were the strongest predictors, while the commonly used gender and hours played per week variables failed to predict enjoyment. The results of this study enable important work to be conducted surrounding gameplay experiences and individual characteristics. Ultimately, it is believed that the Gameplay Enjoyment Model, Gaming Goal Orientations, and the GEM-Individual Characteristics model will be useful tools for researchers and designers who seek to create effective gameplay experiences that meet the needs of players.
We recount some of the most significant and colorful findings of our four-year study of gender issues in the undergraduate computer science program at Carnegie Mellon. We also discuss the subsequent dramatic increase in the number of women in the program. We conclude with recommendations for the most generally useful and effective actions departments can take to attract and retain female students.
This article explores the issue of gender and computer games by looking at the growing population of women in massive multiplayer online role-playing environments (MMORPGs). It explores what are traditionally seen as masculine spaces and seeks to understand the variety of reasons women might participate. Through ethnographic and interview data, the themes of social interaction, mastery and status, team participation, and exploration are considered as compelling activities female gamers are engaging in online. Given that these online games often include a component of fighting, the issue of violence is discussed. Rather than seeing this group of players as an anomaly, this article explores how focusing on the pleasures women derive from gaming might lend a more complex understanding of both gender and computer games. Finally, a consideration of how design is affecting this emerging genre is explored.
Previous research has identified sport as a practice that creates and legitimizes notions of male dominance. However, gender is constructed and resisted differently within various sporting activities. This article addresses the diversity of masculinities in sport through an exploration of the construction of gender in an emerging sport—snowboarding. The analysis identifies four social practices used by male snowboarders to construct their sport as a masculine practice: (a) appropriation of other cultural masculinities, (b) interaction and clothing styles, (c) violence and aggression, and (d) emphasized heterosexuality. The findings indicate that the historical context of snowboarding and the social class, race-ethnicity, and age of snowboarding participants influence the social practices used to create masculinity. Although snowboarders rely on different social practices to construct masculinity than those used in organized sports, these practices also serve to support notions of male dominance and difference from women.
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We recount some of the most significant and colorful findings of our four-year study of gender issues in the undergraduate computer science program at Carnegie Mellon. We also discuss the subsequent dramatic increase in the number of women in the program. We conclude with recommendations for the most generally useful and effective actions departments can take to attract and retain female students.