So this is what all my friends are doing…

I’m basically a middle-aged woman with no children when it comes to video games. I don’t know how to play them, I don’t know anything about them unless it’s Nintendo 64 or later or a gameboy from the late 1990’s. So when I asked a friend what he’d been up to the past few weeks he replied video games, I was taken back. What? Video games are better than hanging out with friends? I was even more surprised when another friend said he had been counting down the days until the new “Call of Duty” (whatever that means) comes out since last year January. I don’t even keep track of how many days are left until my birthday, or the end of the school year, let alone when some video game comes out! Then later this week I had a classmate change our group study date because that was the day the new “Lego Rock Band” came out. What’s the appeal? I will admit I had a pretty bad case of the Sims II sophomore year, but it didn’t impede my study time or my normal social interactions (in my opinion, my friends may think otherwise).  I thought people were joking that they were putting their real lives on hold for video games,  this was not the case, I was informed by a friend later, “all of the new video games come out in fall, I’m going to be busy for a while.”

Why do video games seem to entice the males I know more so than the females I know? Is this just the case because many of the popular video games are marketed to society’s conception of what masculinity entails, or is it something more? Is it even the case or is my conception skewed?

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3 Responses

  1. You’ve actually hit upon a big issue in the gaming community. (Something I’m not a part of. We owned no gaming platform of any sort in my house, and I’ve never learned to play on one. I’m merely aware there is such a thing because of the overlap between video game players and science-news junkies and speculative fiction fandom.) There’s something of a “girl gamer” pride movement taking shape, recognizing the male dominence of the pasttime and the lack of serious projects marketed to them.
    It seems to me, either by cultural conditioning or hardwiring, there is a larger array of masculine subcultures marked by intense devotion to intensely private activities–video games, programming, sci-fi fandom, anything with collectibles, model train sets, etc. Women are underrepresented in all of these. It’s a head scratcher.
    Also, so sorry again for this afternoon’s mixup.

  2. There’s a new version of Grand Theft Auto that features a gay male character and takes players through a series of gay and straight bars in their quest to do… whatever it is you have to do in that game. I haven’t played it (because I too stopped gaming after Sega Genesis stopped being cool), but I can imagine that there’s some good and masculine gay bashing happening all over that game.

    Both of you have hit on what I basically think is the issue – men are more drawn to violence because we raise them to be, and videogames (at least the entertaining ones) are all about violence. The girls I know who are gamers are more about Mario Party than Grand Theft Auto, but the majority of top selling games are about shooting and stabbing (and in GTA’s case, raping) – things that aren’t traditionally associated with women.

    Though I must admit, I did play my fair share of Doom back in the day. Perhaps that speaks more to the commonalities in thought process and interests between homosexual women and heterosexual men more so than anything.

  3. I agree with thejesster, that because many of the more popular video games are about stabbing and killing and other socialized gender roles attributed to men women are under represented. As another male friend put it, “we want all the glory of war without the risk.”

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