• Post your discussion questions here.

    • Janet replied 5 years ago

      Everett & Watkins

      It appears that the authors’ goal is simply to suggest games as a site for cultural research on race, and I would say they succeed at that. But as cultural critics themselves? Not so much. It’s interesting to me that critiques about how some aspect of popular culture “marginalizes” women, rarely flip the model to look at how men are stereotyped as well. In this case, we seem to be looking at the glorifying of brawn and hormones, and of male-on-male violence. There’s a book called “The Hazards of Being Male” which pretty well calls out the cultural assumptions (clearly visible in these games) of men as “expendable.”


      There are lots of ideas in Cassell that I would argue with, but that’s from the perspective of more than 12 years later. Still, some of her cultural assumptions are just wrong. Anyone who says cooking only became a game when men took it over has never read “The Joy of Cooking,” published in 1931. Let’s face it – recipes by their very nature are “ludic” games.

    • Everett and Watkins

      We have heard the video games are not good for teaching content. They are good at giving experiences that can teach you. By integrating youth into these environments that teach stereotypical “ghetto behavior” we are perpetuating these ideals. Is that what we were suppose to grab from this article?

    • Everett and Watkins:
      When they discuss the idea of learning race they mention a couple of other authors that say we need games that tell and do, can someone give me an example of the type of game they are talking about? Does that type of game they discuss even exist yet?
      I also have to say that when it comes to GTA, being a frequent spectator to the game, I think they have come a little ways towards race compared to previous games. GTA 5 has every radio station I would normally find, except I don’t think there’s a classical station but more importantly I do agree with Janet that this article is really trying to show the point of how stereotypical these games can be.

      Because this article is so old and so much has changed I had trouble being open minded with it. Why do we worry so much about gender though and keeping ourselves separated? Games for boys and games for girls.

    • Cassel:
      I don’t think it is a matter of designing games for girls or games for boys. People make it to target a certain audience. What we should care about is the view on video games and technology itself, people should know that computers are more than a tool to complete their work. How can we do that? However, this article is quite dated and lots of things have changed.

      Everett and Watkins:
      Games can be very stereotypical, and GTA is definitely an example of that and there are games that do portray races better and shows racism within the games such as Tales of Symphonia. Also, they keep bringing up urban culture and the basketball video games when you consider the demographic in the NBA. Now my question, is the game interesting to the players and make them want to buy it because of it is narrative and themes or the game mechanics (open world adventure shooter)? Maybe a combination of both?

    • Cassel:
      I think that games definitely do aim either toward girls or boys. With the vast majority focused toward boys. In my opinion the only true exception to this is nintendo who will make games that both genders will can play comfortably. The majority of the characters are male but there are a large percentage of female characters. Most of those female characters are princesses but there also other characters like Samus and sheik

    • Both of these article’s topics are in my interest area.

      Cassell, I like how the article talked about the history of genderization. I disagree with Janet and Torrie on so much has changed, it hasn’t from when I was around. However, my time range of reference is different from their’s.

      Not a whole lot has changed, it’s became more grey or muddy, because as I noticed the excuses aren’t just simply “sex sells” or “girls like Barbie”. It’s “You only this guy’s ancestors with Y chromosomes cause of the fantasy science we made up for this game.” Not just science, fantasy science. Fantasy science that the creators made up. Even if they creators now allow to you play as someone XX chromosomes, it doesn’t dismiss the explanation. When people think of sexism they think about “you can’t play with this cause you’re a girl” or “you can’t get a job”, but there is more to sexism (and racism) than being outwardly bigoted. There’s also the unaware portion of thinking. It’s automatic assumptions and the denials. It’s the assumption that girls always learn to cook than boys (unless that boy is a chef or develops an interest in it) or pink whatever. It’s also the idea of “I’m not like other girls”.

      There are games, boy games, that are popular with women and LGBTQ+ because the creators went “Why not?” when decided to let player have options.

      In addition, we are still finding the “surprising statistic” that a large amount of girls play video games that comes out in the mainstream medium every year.

      I think even though should be games that target a minority or the other half of the population, I think the boy games (which is pretty a lot of games) also need to think about the players that don’t fit in that target group.

      I don’t really have a question with it other than have attitudes changed since we got smart phones and facebook games. Though now I want to look at articles dealing trans* folk and video games.

      Words. Yeah, this article came at a time when the subject is the current hot button right now.

      Everett and Watkins, I feel this article needs to find another article that gives the criticism portion. However, I know notice this is from a book so the criticism is in another portion, I guess.

      I like that the article also crosses issues from the first article with the race issue. As such, I want to know about the portrayals of minority women in games as a whole. As general, what strides are there in improving portrayals of races in general for video games? What games are there counter acts these portrayals?

      • I remember this game and played awhile ago: Lim –

        It’s a game where you try to blend in with other squares so you don’t get knocked out of the maze (goal: complete the maze). I remember people using it to talk and think about fitting into different cultures, race, and gender groups when you’re not.

    • Cassel:
      One piece of information I found particularly interesting in the Cassel article was how the Barbie Fashion Design game was the highest selling children’s game in history at the time. I find it baffling how the female market is continually overlooked or blatantly ignored. Even when Laura Croft was finally introduced, the physical attractiveness of the character skewed the perception of the intended audience. I would like to see more games take the same path as Mass Effect and allow people to choose a female or male version of the same protagonist.

      Everett and Watkins:
      I was surprised that the majority of this article was written in such a positive tone. Race in video games is typically portrayed in a negative manner, but Everett and Watkins focused on what can be learned about various cultures. Due to the excessive amount of generic white male video game protagonists, I assumed the article would be more argumentative and advocate change.

    • Cassell: The history of genderization in video games is interesting. There’s no doubt that it occurred when video games were just starting to be created and marketed, but in regard to the character design, it reflected both the gamer makeup and the primitive technology that developers had access to. The characters often had to have overdeveloped features in order for the player to tell if they were a man or a woman, and in regards to male lead characters in games, the article says that about 80 percent of all gamers were males, so from a marketing standpoint, it makes sense that developers would want to pander to their audience. My question is through, what steps have developers made to shy away from practices like these?

      Everett and Watkins: Grand Theft Auto has been under fire from politicians and parents ever since it debuted on PCs in 1997. At the time, it was revolutionary, as players were able to essentially play as the villains for the first time. As technology and graphics became better though, the theme and tone of the games changed drastically. It was GTA: San Andreas that introduced the first black lead character, and that game was a rousing success. What is it about games like the GTA series that allow them to create and satirize as many great minority characters as they do, while obtaining unprecedented profits for each installment of the series?

    • Both of these articles were interesting to me, and I do think they have some relevance today. In fact, I think people have become more vocal about making changes to include a diverse range of lead characters for players to relate to. Perhaps because a more diverse group of people are entering the game developing field. I think what factors into demographic interest in games are those who participated in its creation. The developers of games would make something that they believe would be an enjoyable experience (hence targeting in the white male demographic). White males had the longest running access to education and technology, hence their heavy involvement in the first games featuring humanoid characters. Now as education & technology has become more accessible across race and gender (still not *entirely*… but we are further along), there are more people entering fields that they have knowledge in, and pushing for games that their demographics can relate to. We are seeing the most struggle and vocality right now because the majority of data on purchase history shows that white males are the ones buying the games (at least, historically). Game companies must be willing to take the risk to design games for certain demographics before they can get the results of diverse data (while also keeping in mind the struggle may be that these demographics might not have certain consoles due to the lack of games made to cater to their interests).

    • Eric replied 5 years ago

      Everett and Watkins: For the majority of the article, the authors blasted GTA how its violence and racial stereotyping are bad for kids. But throughout most of the reading the one thing that kept popping up was the fact that the games mentioned were all rated Mature, meaning that children should not be having access to the game rendering the article weak. Most of the arguments made could easily be avoided if the parents were to not buy their kids the game. Could all this paranoia be the result of bad parenting?

      Cassell: Racial stereotyping in video games has always bothered me as an Asian American since whenever I played sports game, I could never have an opportunity to create a player that resembled me. What I’ve always wondered is if these games are catering to it’s market? I know that Asian are slowly becoming a huge demographic in video games and as Asian customers slowly control more share of the video game market, will I see more Asian characters. A similar example is seeing how Hollywood is slowly catering to Chinese consumers by adding more Chinese cameos to movies.

    • I wanted to add something that related to the class discussion: The whole girl thing with math is hard, etc.

      Back two semesters ago, a class had to group presentations relating to math. One of the topics is called Math Anxiety and it was brought up that many more girls had it than boys.

      I wish I can get the documents from the group who presented this, but they found out math anxiety can be related to socialization. Especially with girls, when a girl say “They like math.”, a response back is usually “Math is hard” and that was something that didn’t occur often with a boy saying.

      They found is a girl is struggling, they are often told “Math is hard and that’s okay if you don’t understand.” while a boy gets “You just have to apply yourself” or similar. It was really interesting because the study came from how teachers, female teachers, acted towards the students. Especially with comments on how they felt about math (if they comment that they have trouble with math, the girl students will pick up on it). This also lead to some of the reasons why girls who were once passionate and great at math, tend to struggle later and disliking the subject.