Rock, Paper, Shotgun is a blog that I like to check in with from time to time. Written by four experienced UK game journalists, it focuses exclusively on PC Gaming (the fact that this still exists will certainly be news to major game retailers here in the US), the sense of humor resonates with me, and the focus tends to be thoughtfully eclectic.
Recently, one of the team, John Walker, posted an extended discussion of sexism in the gaming world in particular (that is both the world of players and the world of developers) and the tech world in general. (It is a lengthy article, but if you are a reader of this site you’ll be used to that by now!) Anyone involved with games who hasn’t been living under a rock (sadly, that actually excludes a lot of gamers, it seems, as will be seen in a moment) is aware of several general issues facing the gaming industry when it comes to gender. There is the persistent problem of the underrepresentation–scratch that, the massive underrepresentation–of women at every level of game development. While women make up a significant percentage of players in most casual gaming genres, they are still a distinct minority in many “traditional” hardcore gaming genres. There is a pervasive culture of harassment of women players in many gaming genres which ranges from downgrading women’s participation by treating that participation as unusual, to the outright abuse that comes from feeling women have no place at all in gaming. I’ve written several pieces for this blog that have looked at the hate-filled campaigns directed at women who have spoken out about misogyny in the world of gaming, or even at those women who have dared simply to offer an opinion on game design.
Walker’s article–“Misogyny, Sexism and why RPS isn’t Shutting Up”–makes no bones about its intentions. But the real interest of this article is that for a lot of people outside the game industry the most obvious question would be why the article was even necessary. So, you are going to continue to call out sexism and misogyny where you see it. Awesome. But, er, is there a problem with doing that in the world of gaming?
Oh yes. A big problem.