235: Riot Grrrls Wanted

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Riot Grrrls Wanted

Rock music and videogames surprisingly have a lot in common as emerging media, but both industries are historically difficult for women. Punk rock spawned the riot grrrl movement in the nineties in response to how they were treated. Erin Hoffman calls for a similar girl riot in videogames.

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I find it amusing how every 'girl power in gaming' article is always slathered in pink. Somehow seems contradictory.

Anyway, I'm currently just a sound designer, but I sure as hell hope to get up there someday, get some ideas made. I think it would be absolutely awesome to find a group of other gamer girls and create something amazing. The problem is finding. How do I find other driven women out there looking to get into games? I think if we could just meet each other, things could happen.

...LFG! Has sound, will travel!

Why is that woman stamping on that poor mans head?!

That alien metaphor is the best metaphor I've read for describing what it's like to be a woman in a society that treats you like you're a second class being.
I get that feeling less these days because I spend mst of my time hanging out in my university's centers area which is pretty much just the Women's Center and the Pride Center.

When discussing this kind of thing with more average every day guy friends, who are not misoginistic at all by the way, they tend to react like I'm critisizing them instead of the culture and the people who enforce that culture. And then I end up torn between wanting to discuss something very important to me, but not wanting to offend my friend and I end up not talking about it, which sucks because its censoring an important issue.

The Women's Center comes across this problem thinking that we hate men which is not true. We love men. We love feminist men!

Sorry for the disjointed thought pattern. I just woke up.

The Lizard of Odd:
I find it amusing how every 'girl power in gaming' article is always slathered in pink. Somehow seems contradictory.

I know what you're saying, but I think the view is that the articles are "taking back pink" from the girly girls. I guess pink is so girly that associating it with a picture of a woman face stomping some man is the juxtaposition they are using to "shock the system." See: Clerks 2, when Randall takes back a phrase of his own...

I always thought "girrrrrrrrrrrl power" was obnoxious, not because it advocated women as equals, but because it implied that somehow changing a word to be substantially more annoying made it powerful.

Anyway, the point of this article was "focus your emotions into what you do, make your art with passion", if I'm reading it correctly?

I think it was comparing the riot grrl movement to the gaming industry as well as, yes, focusing your emotions into what you do. And that the same RAWR FUCK YOU girl attitude should be applied to gaming.

the_lollipop_dragon:
I think it was comparing the riot grrl movement to the gaming industry as well as, yes, focusing your emotions into what you do. And that the same RAWR FUCK YOU girl attitude should be applied to gaming.

yeah, that's how I read it too.

Unfortunately this article compares something as cool as being in a band to something as drab as designing a video game. Music idolises the band members while game designers are virtually unheard of.
Think about it, when do you ever read the credits on a video game except when your looking to see if that guy off Eastenders really is Captain Price? However when Cliff Bleszinski tried to make himself known, everyone I know thought he was a total knob.

spiritslayr:
Unfortunately this article compares something as cool as being in a band to something as drab as designing a video game. Music idolises the band members while game designers are virtually unheard of.

It is also a bit trickier creating games. You just need 3 mates to start a band and possibly a few hundred to record a CD. Compare that to putting out even a small indie game.

I grew up a huge Bikini Kill fan. (There's my riot grrl cred.) There is always going to be a problem as to how women are treated and represented, regardless of if 12% of game designers or 120%. The thing is, You can reminisce about the good ol days of Huggy Bear and L7, but it's still paramore who's gonna bring in the dollars, and dollars are driving the industry. ANY industry.

Women in the game design community (or ostensible lack thereof) is probably not due to any kind of sexism or doubt on the part of the female designers capability. It's more likely because there aren't a lot of girls who are taking computer science classes. Hell, there aren't even that many girls taking ITT's dime-a-dozen game design classes. The fact remains that girls are a minority in the audience of games, and therefore even less have any desire to be involved with games behind the scenes.

If you're talking about the image of women in the game communities, then get pissed at your fellow girls who look at gamers as just a herd of geeks who are easily impressed by anything that involves video games and estrogen together(excluding JRPG's)

In summation: Bikini Kill is cool. Women should take a more active role in seizing the gaming "community" other than just pointing out "We're girls AND we game!" Maybe if there was something like Experimental Gameplay Project but for budding female designers, then there would be an example to point to.

P.S. The riot grrl thing was a good analogy, but remember that it's been cool to be a rockstar for fifty years, it's only been cool to be a game designer in the last five.

HappyDD:

The Lizard of Odd:
I find it amusing how every 'girl power in gaming' article is always slathered in pink. Somehow seems contradictory.

I know what you're saying, but I think the view is that the articles are "taking back pink" from the girly girls. I guess pink is so girly that associating it with a picture of a woman face stomping some man is the juxtaposition they are using to "shock the system." See: Clerks 2, when Randall takes back a phrase of his own...

Good point. I never really liked pink, but primarily because I grew up a tomboy and ingrained it in my skull as "ewww girly pink color". Now it's just kindof a part of who I am. Mum loves it though, so I'll probably like it when I'm an old lady thinking about her. :P

DrTrevelyan:
I grew up a huge Bikini Kill fan. (There's my riot grrl cred.) There is always going to be a problem as to how women are treated and represented, regardless of if 12% of game designers or 120%. The thing is, You can reminisce about the good ol days of Huggy Bear and L7, but it's still paramore who's gonna bring in the dollars, and dollars are driving the industry. ANY industry.

Women in the game design community (or ostensible lack thereof) is probably not due to any kind of sexism or doubt on the part of the female designers capability. It's more likely because there aren't a lot of girls who are taking computer science classes. Hell, there aren't even that many girls taking ITT's dime-a-dozen game design classes. The fact remains that girls are a minority in the audience of games, and therefore even less have any desire to be involved with games behind the scenes.

If you're talking about the image of women in the game communities, then get pissed at your fellow girls who look at gamers as just a herd of geeks who are easily impressed by anything that involves video games and estrogen together(excluding JRPG's)

In summation: Bikini Kill is cool. Women should take a more active role in seizing the gaming "community" other than just pointing out "We're girls AND we game!" Maybe if there was something like Experimental Gameplay Project but for budding female designers, then there would be an example to point to.

P.S. The riot grrl thing was a good analogy, but remember that it's been cool to be a rockstar for fifty years, it's only been cool to be a game designer in the last five.

I'd love to get involved in the story and art part of video game designing. I don't have any programming skills at all and I don't know anyone who does.

Hi. I'm a girl! I wanted to be a computer game designer since I was 10 years old, until very recently.

Only when I was writing hard for my BA, or rather, just after it, I realized that the most important thing about getting my foot into the business is about networking. Because I can't make an impressive demo alone.

I have been a part of the fabulous "online community" of gaming long enough to know that whenever a girl networks in anything game-related, she's whoring for attention. Even if I knew or know anything about stories and interaction design and psychology and usability, I realized very soon that all this would have very little meaning because I would immediately be labelled as riding into the industry with my bra cup size.

I feel the kind of design responsibility I would like to assume, as a designer, would be incredibly hard for me to acquire, because I would probably not have credibility with the kind of people I've met in comp.science and IT. I am speaking from experience from working and studying in IT, Finland, that is.

But my dreams of game-designing were created in a haze of madness in 1992 when I was playing good old adventure games and Ultima. I feel like I took a long journey in studying all that design and basic programming to arrive to a pile of ruins. The gaming today is so bleh. When TES was dumbed down to Oblivion, I felt like throwing the towel in with the whole hobby and throwing my hands up.

I feel I am definitely in a worse or more complex situation compared to my fellow aspiring male game designers, speaking locally at least. Networking is the key, knowing not just people, but the right people. And I'm unsure of how I can get my foot through the right guys' doors with my gender handicap. Game designers see themselves as cool dawgs, and they want to hang out with other cool dawgs.

That means bros before hos, bitches.

Yours truly, captain nobody from the village of nowhere.

britterly:

I have been a part of the fabulous "online community" of gaming long enough to know that whenever a girl networks in anything game-related, she's whoring for attention. Even if I knew or know anything about stories and interaction design and psychology and usability, I realized very soon that all this would have very little meaning because I would immediately be labelled as riding into the industry with my bra cup size.

I loled at this . I'd probably face much of the same problems. Maybe even more since my cup size is big.

I hope you don't give up. Good luck!

the_lollipop_dragon:
I loled at this . I'd probably face much of the same problems. Maybe even more since my cup size is big.

Pics or it didn't ha - oh, wait. This is supposed to be a progressive thread. Sorry.

DrTrevelyan:
I grew up a huge Bikini Kill fan. (There's my riot grrl cred.) There is always going to be a problem as to how women are treated and represented, regardless of if 12% of game designers or 120%. The thing is, You can reminisce about the good ol days of Huggy Bear and L7, but it's still paramore who's gonna bring in the dollars, and dollars are driving the industry. ANY industry.

Women in the game design community (or ostensible lack thereof) is probably not due to any kind of sexism or doubt on the part of the female designers capability. It's more likely because there aren't a lot of girls who are taking computer science classes. Hell, there aren't even that many girls taking ITT's dime-a-dozen game design classes. The fact remains that girls are a minority in the audience of games, and therefore even less have any desire to be involved with games behind the scenes.

If you're talking about the image of women in the game communities, then get pissed at your fellow girls who look at gamers as just a herd of geeks who are easily impressed by anything that involves video games and estrogen together(excluding JRPG's)

In summation: Bikini Kill is cool. Women should take a more active role in seizing the gaming "community" other than just pointing out "We're girls AND we game!" Maybe if there was something like Experimental Gameplay Project but for budding female designers, then there would be an example to point to.

P.S. The riot grrl thing was a good analogy, but remember that it's been cool to be a rockstar for fifty years, it's only been cool to be a game designer in the last five.

Here, here!

Every female software engineer I ever worked with hated the job. Every single one wished they were doing something else. I know a mom who was just waiting for her kids to finish college so she could quit and get into nutrition. I knew at least 2 or 3 CS students who weren't at all interested but were getting the degree for the money. I know a few older female engineers who can't wait for retirement and never want to see another line of code. I married a software engineer who hated it from her freshman year but felt pressured to get into technology by her parents and teachers; she finally quit the field and is getting an MBA.

Granted, this is software engineering I am talking about, not game development, and a limited sample at that (~12). But 100% of any sample over 3 is a trend in my book. "Grrrls" just don't like it.

It's funny, I was just saying that I'd trade my copy of Suikoden II for a Rock Band: Sleater-Kinney. Though that's a little bit more literal of a way of calling for a riot grrl movement in gaming.

But there are two main components of what you're talking about in this article. The first is simple organizing - an underrepresented or underappreciated group can organize and present themselves as a block to be taken seriously. Since game designers and game workers overall may be considered underappreciated, given the corporate structure of the video game world, I'm not sure what a female group would organize towards other than consciousness-raising (which is plenty important on its own.)

The other major aspect of the riot grrl movement was its portrayal to the world and by the media. It was deliberately provocative and shocking. What would the gaming equivalent to "Rebel Girl" be? Here's where what ThirdPrize said is entirely true - it doesn't take THAT much money, or very many people, to record an album. But making a game that'll make a splash requires much more in the way of monetary and human capital - unless you get Diner Dash or Bejeweled major hit of an indie game.

Garaw:

the_lollipop_dragon:
I loled at this . I'd probably face much of the same problems. Maybe even more since my cup size is big.

Pics or it didn't ha - oh, wait. This is supposed to be a progressive thread. Sorry.

I'm just going to pretend that the "My boobs are huge" comment was brilliant satire of this thread.

britterly:
Hi. I'm a girl! I wanted to be a computer game designer since I was 10 years old, until very recently.

Only when I was writing hard for my BA, or rather, just after it, I realized that the most important thing about getting my foot into the business is about networking. Because I can't make an impressive demo alone.

I have been a part of the fabulous "online community" of gaming long enough to know that whenever a girl networks in anything game-related, she's whoring for attention. Even if I knew or know anything about stories and interaction design and psychology and usability, I realized very soon that all this would have very little meaning because I would immediately be labelled as riding into the industry with my bra cup size.

I feel the kind of design responsibility I would like to assume, as a designer, would be incredibly hard for me to acquire, because I would probably not have credibility with the kind of people I've met in comp.science and IT. I am speaking from experience from working and studying in IT, Finland, that is.

But my dreams of game-designing were created in a haze of madness in 1992 when I was playing good old adventure games and Ultima. I feel like I took a long journey in studying all that design and basic programming to arrive to a pile of ruins. The gaming today is so bleh. When TES was dumbed down to Oblivion, I felt like throwing the towel in with the whole hobby and throwing my hands up.

I feel I am definitely in a worse or more complex situation compared to my fellow aspiring male game designers, speaking locally at least. Networking is the key, knowing not just people, but the right people. And I'm unsure of how I can get my foot through the right guys' doors with my gender handicap. Game designers see themselves as cool dawgs, and they want to hang out with other cool dawgs.

That means bros before hos, bitches.

Yours truly, captain nobody from the village of nowhere.

I'm really sorry that this has been your experience. But I feel like you are giving up on this because of what might happen. If you have the ability and the passion, other professionals will take notice and be happy to work with you. As you said, networking isn't just about meeting people, it's about meeting the right people. The people who dismiss you because of your sex can't see past their own nose and will never go anywhere themselves; you are better off not being dragged down by them. Blaze your own path. That's the only way to break into this industry, regardless of your sex.

Of course, the other depressing possibility is that you will be dismissed simply because you are either untalented, difficult to work with, dropped the ball, not committed, or any number of things. Sometimes you can only blame yourself. But you learn from these failures, grow, and live to fight another day. Just like the rest of us.

Or you can just give up, as it sounds like you are prepared to do.

Rowan Kaiser:
It's funny, I was just saying that I'd trade my copy of Suikoden II for a Rock Band: Sleater-Kinney. Though that's a little bit more literal of a way of calling for a riot grrl movement in gaming.

+1 on the Rock Band: Sleater-Kinney!

Kojiro ftt:

Rowan Kaiser:
It's funny, I was just saying that I'd trade my copy of Suikoden II for a Rock Band: Sleater-Kinney. Though that's a little bit more literal of a way of calling for a riot grrl movement in gaming.

+1 on the Rock Band: Sleater-Kinney!

Here's Carrie Brownstein reviewing Wii Music and Rock Band:

http://www.slate.com/?id=3944&qp=47356

I have to say that it IS depressing to see any mention of female gamers tends to have one of two reactions: "Female gamers are all attention whores" or "Female gamers are mostly women who play casual games or their husband's games once in a while" with very little middle ground.

I don't quite understand this. You would think that boobs would be an advantage at best (with the more shallow guys), and no advantage at all in a worst-case scenario. Maybe most girls are more interested in things they're "supposed" to be interested in, such as fashion and other crap. If male game devs don't think your work is amazing, maybe you need to face the fact that your work just isn't that great.

Bear with me for a minute, I'm not being sexist, I'm just pointing out that girls are a significant minority in the gaming world. So apparently 40% of game consumers are female. So what? Half of that is probably mothers buying their kid a game, or someone buying "Peggle" for their phone. Sure, there are plenty of casual guy gamers (hell, my school's football team got excited over L4D2, MW2, and ODST).

Add to that fact that game designing is hard. Very hard. It's not like any gamer can just jump into Unreal Ed and whip up a AAA quality map. I've been modding for 2 years now, and I still have TONS to learn before I can even consider "game dev" as a possible job. And even when/if I consider game development a possible job, I'd have to go find a school and learn there for a year or two.

Even if you get into a studio and start work on MW3 (god forbid), you probably aren't going to be able to have enough sway to make any real decisions, regardless of your gender. So don't expect to see Faith or Alyx gunning their way through waves of Russians. At best, you can hope for an entry-level position as a modeler or assistant level designer of some sort.

Thing is, even with an influx of female video game developers, they'd still be working on games that for the most part is meant to please 14 year boys with social issues.

I'd be curious to know if the video game industry actually was 50/50 male to female if we'd still have a gazillon war games with players running around with their phallic gun of choice shooting each other, or not.

Kojiro ftt:

Granted, this is software engineering I am talking about, not game development, and a limited sample at that (~12). But 100% of any sample over 3 is a trend in my book. "Grrrls" just don't like it.

I am not familiar with a lot of CPA's who love working either. It's not girls, it's work. Work often sucks and working with a bunch of guys who thinkt hat if the job sucks, it's the girls problem not the work enviroment, probably doesn't help.

Hope Chest, that Wii Music review may be the single greatest game review I've ever read. Unfortunately, it doesn't get me any closer to playing Prisstina on a plastic guitar.

Nesrie:

Kojiro ftt:

Granted, this is software engineering I am talking about, not game development, and a limited sample at that (~12). But 100% of any sample over 3 is a trend in my book. "Grrrls" just don't like it.

I am not familiar with a lot of CPA's who love working either. It's not girls, it's work. Work often sucks and working with a bunch of guys who thinkt hat if the job sucks, it's the girls problem not the work enviroment, probably doesn't help.

There's a very obvious difference between disliking the work and disliking the work environment. I know lots of people who genuinely love to develop software. It's interesting, fun, and rewarding. Not all of us are in the best work environment, but even the ones that work at total shit holes, with shitty bosses, shitty coworkers, shitty pay, whatever, still like engineering, even if they'd rather be doing it someplace else.

So I assume you are a CPA? Maybe you shouldn't be. If you really hate working, then maybe you just aren't working at the right thing.

yaaaa thats the 80s the days of Johnny Rotten.

I have nothing to say about this article, only that I completely and earnestly approve of any movement of women which refers to women as girls. Girl is a lovely word.

ThirdPrize:

spiritslayr:
Unfortunately this article compares something as cool as being in a band to something as drab as designing a video game. Music idolises the band members while game designers are virtually unheard of.

It is also a bit trickier creating games. You just need 3 mates to start a band and possibly a few hundred to record a CD. Compare that to putting out even a small indie game.

Yeah, you may need as much as two guys for that.

ThirdPrize:

spiritslayr:
Unfortunately this article compares something as cool as being in a band to something as drab as designing a video game. Music idolises the band members while game designers are virtually unheard of.

It is also a bit trickier creating games. You just need 3 mates to start a band and possibly a few hundred to record a CD. Compare that to putting out even a small indie game.

So long as you have a computer, you can get the tools pretty much for free these days. If you don't feel like programming your own framework, you have things like Unity, Construct and the Unreal Development Kit to help you. I know plenty of guys who have done games by themselves: Dwarf Fortress was done by one guy. Cave Story? One guy. Then you have guys like Kenta Cho that are game making machines.

You'll have to do an extraordinary amount of work to get there but I don't see how that's any different from any other media.

I don't really understand what its like to be a woman in this world and I doubt I ever will, even if I try to emphasize. Even so I endorse the idea in the article even if the article itself doesn't have much to say for its self and seems a tad sensationalist (Bayonetta as bad example of women's oppression? Her being a magical immortal seems kind of pertinent here.)

Alright, now lets see this grrrl game design culture really takeoff. Here me motherfuckers, I want this movement to blow my mind.

Gaming these days is such a high-production business affair that it really doesn't lend itself well to any sort of "counter-cultural" movement. As someone who is active in the punk music scene where I live I can tell you that the organisational abilities and work ethic of these people (of both genders) are hazy at best and would not translate well to the computer game development world. Yes you can create a game on your lonesome, but is it going to be high quality and who is going to buy it? Or you can do it as a group, but any bunch of people wanting activism and gender change would be more likely to pick something that gets quicker results for less effort.

I'd love to see an FPS where instead of playing a Duke Nukem tough guy (or a tough guy in a girl's body, such as Tomb Raider), you play some average kind of girl who likes nothing more than going out on the weekend and partying, who is thrust into a weird violent situation and she has to deal with all sorts of strange but realistic scenarios to achieve a goal which isn't saving the world but might be something more personal (like getting the hell out of the warzone alive). Where if you pick up a gun you may not be able to aim and shoot or relaod it very well because your character just isn't that good at shooting guns because she's never had to shoot one before. Where you can't jump big holes in the floor because you're not a freaking athlete in combat boots. Where you have to use social skills, networking and street-smarts to overcome obstacles, and violence as a last resort (actually, Shogun on the C64 was a little like that, but that wasn't an FPS). There's your riot-grrl game. It's be a bitch to program all that stuff though, and few development houses would dare touch something that breaks the mold that heavily because it might not sell to the "omg1337" MW2/Halo crowd.

Men and Women have difficulty communicating. Shocking.

Might be because our -BRAINS- don't even function the same.

BonsaiK:

I'd love to see an FPS where instead of playing a Duke Nukem tough guy (or a tough guy in a girl's body, such as Tomb Raider), you play some average kind of girl who likes nothing more than going out on the weekend and partying, who is thrust into a weird violent situation and she has to deal with all sorts of strange but realistic scenarios to achieve a goal which isn't saving the world but might be something more personal (like getting the hell out of the warzone alive). Where if you pick up a gun you may not be able to aim and shoot or relaod it very well because your character just isn't that good at shooting guns because she's never had to shoot one before. Where you can't jump big holes in the floor because you're not a freaking athlete in combat boots. Where you have to use social skills, networking and street-smarts to overcome obstacles, and violence as a last resort (actually, Shogun on the C64 was a little like that, but that wasn't an FPS). There's your riot-grrl game.

Mmm, not too sure about that--riot grrl was all about refusing to be pushed to play the bass (because it's considered the 'easiest' instrument) in your brother's band, it was about at most drop tuning your guitar. Riot grrl was all about challenging the idea that being a girl in a band--or in the crowd--should be any different from being a boy. I don't think a riot grrl game would think of violence as a last resort anymore than riot grrl music though of loud, aggressive guitars as the domain of boys. Riot grrl didn't want to be your Joni Mitchell: it wanted to be yr Joey Ramone.

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