PAX East 2010: A Girl and a Shirt

PAX East 2010: A Girl and a Shirt

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To see that the landscape of gaming is changing, you need look no further than Red Dead Redemption's swag.

Peek into the closets and bureaus of most game journalists and you'll find the same thing: game t-shirts. Lots and lots of game t-shirts. Despite what you might think, it's not because we love games as much as we love free clothes - though both of those are true. No, it's just because more often than not, after you've finished trying a game demo at a show or convention, a cheerful PR person pushes a t-shirt emblazoned with the game's logo into your hands. Sometimes it's a large, sometimes it's an extra large, but it is always, always a man's shirt.

Not that this is some kind of huge conspiracy, or anything. Not only does the industry skew heavily male, but while a girl can wear a man's shirt, a man can't wear a girl's because of the cut. So if you're only going to have one, it makes sense for it to be for a dude. I get it. But it's still always a little disappointing.

Imagine, then, my surprise and delight when the lovely Rockstar PR girl asked what size ladies shirt I would like. There, at her feet, was a box of girl's shirts, right alongside the expected box of boy's.

This may not seem like a big deal, and in many ways, it isn't. Rockstar put in an order for female shirts along with male shirts. Done. But it's also a big deal, because it's quiet acknowledgement, finally, that a significant part of the videogame audience is female. Females who are proud enough of being gamers to want to cover their chests and backs with game titles and developer names - and proud enough of being female to want to look like a girl while doing it.

PAX East was a consumer show, of course, so the ratio of male to female was slightly different than it would be at a straight up trade event, but GDC had ladies shirts available, too. It seems like every other day, someone is asking how we can get more girls interested in the industry. Sometimes, it's as easy as giving them a shirt that fits.

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hehe, grats Susan on the new shirt, and grats PAX east goers for seeing nerdy girls and women in something other than mens cloth.

Good for you, and it is a good way of appealing to different demographics more, but having the wrong size or gender free shirt is one of the strangest and most unjust gripes for someone to have.
You don't look like you're complaining, but I'm sure there are people who do, considering you're fairly mild-mannered Ms. Arendt[1] so there are probably people who do have issues with it, and frankly, it's amazing that there are (probable) people are that selfish that they would complain.
/Rant about possible types of people

But I digress: It's nice that developers are looking at female gamers more, and I hope this keeps going.

[1] Or Mrs. Arendt, I don't really know too much about your personal life.
*Hides camera*

Susan Arendt:
It seems like every other day, someone is asking how we can get more girls interested in the industry. Sometimes, it's as easy as giving them a shirt that fits.

Too right! This really made me squee. Like you say, possibly it's a bigger squee than is warrented by the t-shirts, but then again, possibly it's not. :D

Let me say this, Its about damn time! Seriously, why haven't they already started doing this, about, I don't know... ummm, 4 or so years ago?

Rainboq:
Let me say this, Its about damn time! Seriously, why haven't they already started doing this, about, I don't know... ummm, 4 or so years ago?

Why only four years ago?
Why not earlier?

I don't think we are in the 50's anymore but there is still some vestige left at the edges of culture. Girls who are into "guy" stuff like cars, sports, video games, guns, etc are considered super awesome and desirable. While guys who are into "girl" stuff are considered to be weird.

Then again is there really any "girl" stuff anymore? I mean other than shopping for shoes. Completely heterosexual guys are into cooking, sewing, decorating, gardening, etc.

SeanTheSheep:

Rainboq:
Let me say this, Its about damn time! Seriously, why haven't they already started doing this, about, I don't know... ummm, 4 or so years ago?

Why only four years ago?
Why not earlier?

I don't know, just a random number!

In promotion for my new game, I'm considering doing ladies' shirts. However, they're almost twice the price of male shirts. I'm not entirely sure why that is, but it's a bit of a deterrent.

Nice on Susan! Hehe, Its nice to see woman getting some recognition in the PR clothing department of the gaming world!

Its good to know that the market is progessing~

SeanTheSheep:
Good for you, and it is a good way of appealing to different demographics more, but having the wrong size or gender free shirt is one of the strangest and most unjust gripes for someone to have.
You don't look like you're complaining, but I'm sure there are people who do, considering you're fairly mild-mannered Ms. Arendt[1] so there are probably people who do have issues with it, and frankly, it's amazing that there are (probable) people are that selfish that they would complain.
/Rant about possible types of people

But I digress: It's nice that developers are looking at female gamers more, and I hope this keeps going.

It seems to me that griping about free stuff is not on, but making (helpful, grateful, polite) suggestions about how to make awesome stuff more awesome for everyone is just good sense.

I kind of wonder now you've brought it up whether this was suggested to them or their own initiative. Both ideas make me pretty much equally happy though! Way to give yourselves +1 to PR, Rockstar. :)

[1] Or Mrs. Arendt, I don't really know too much about your personal life.
*Hides camera*

LADIES! LADIES! LADIES! RED DEAD REDEMPTION IS IN THE HIZZOUSE!!

Always enjoy seeing marketing get that the audience is more than boys, and show they also know that the non-boys like shirts to f-ing FIT.

I have never though about that, probably because it never affected me.

This almost makes me as happy as I was when I was a kid and we got Streetfighter and I finally got to play a game as a girl character!

Sweet. Here's hoping that this is the first step. Step 2: Booth babes. I mean, c'mon, either make it an equal-opportunity meat show or try selling your game using the game itself and not some irrelevant rented flesh.

there needs to be more girls in this industry.

This article just made me really happy, thank-you for posting it!

PAX is open to the public. I wonder if Rockstar and other developers will continue trying this at industry-only events.

I don't know what they have at conventions, but invariably the shirts that sometimes come with retail games collectors editions or preorder bonuses are too small for me... :(

I just have to say that this is AWESOME. And yes, that capitalization is deserved. Like you said, the shirts at these events are always men's/unisex cut and always too big. Way too big. It's really encouraging to hear this, and I hope other companies take note and follow suit.

Thanks for posting about this, Susan. Some might've considered it a small detail, but it really does mean something.

rembrandtqeinstein:
Girls who are into "guy" stuff like cars, sports, video games, guns, etc are considered super awesome and desirable. While guys who are into "girl" stuff are considered to be weird.

This has to do with what society values. Traditionally (and stereotypically!) "masculine" traits are the ones society has adopted as positive. There's a whole series of related theories that you can look up on the matter, but the bottom line is that there is a double standard. And there shouldn't be.

Then again is there really any "girl" stuff anymore? I mean other than shopping for shoes. Completely heterosexual guys are into cooking, sewing, decorating, gardening, etc.

Not all of us enjoy shopping for shoes. People are people. We like things. And some people like other things.

I was at PAX east and there were quite a lot of rather good looking ladies, and I'm not just talking about the ones that are paid to be there.

Of all the Girl gamer articles on the Escapist, this one actually made me smile and feel like we are progressing forwards instead of backwards.

Thank you for noticing the little things Susan, because its the little things that matter in the long run.

Personally I think it makes good sense for them to simply stop ordering male shirts, and only distribute the female ones. Any dudes can have a t-shirt, size of thier choice, but since they cannot really wear it they'll give it to some girl they know. Bonus? Now said game logos are on something that majority of the target audience can't help but look towards. I mean I know this is kinda taking your step forward and turning it into a step backward but hey... MARKETING!

Susan, I want a shirt! ;) Think you can slip me one? I wear a small :)

But that's actually really good, I'm glad people are beginning to cater to the fem side of gaming. I hate how all my game swag goes to my boyfriend. (In special editions and such the t-shirts that come with it are usually XL's.)

Can't girls just wear shirts without the cut? If a woman can wear a man shirt, I'm not seeing a problem.

Thedutchjelle:
Can't girls just wear shirts without the cut? If a woman can wear a man shirt, I'm not seeing a problem.

It's not that we can't wear them, it's that they aren't as comfortable. Men have wider shoulders, broader chests, and no boobs. Plus it's not really the functionality, it's the idea behind it. Any game company that has women's shirts is telling female gamers "Hey, we see you. You're important to us."

OT: Any gaming shirts I get usually ends up as sleep clothes anyway, so they aren't doing themselves any favors by handing me an XL men's shirt, because no one is going to see it unless they're living with me.

I'm pretty excited about this, I might actually be able to get free shirts I like and want to wear. =)

Good on you, Rockstar.

I would find the idea of being given a shirt I can actually wear so appealing I'd be tempted to change into it right there at the booth.

And no, I don't wear men's shirts, and no, men's shirts are not gender neutral. Men's shirts always squeeze the boobs uncomfortably, while bagging loosely and unflatteringly around the waist.

I work in an industry where the crew often gets a T-shirt at the end of the project, and the one time I actually got a woman's shirt I was so happy I wanted to cry.

What's important to me here isn't the idea of getting some swag T-shirt, but feeling included and cared about by an industry that often forgets we exist. Hooray for Rockstar!

The only thing that is easy to understand about most women, they just want a ladies' shirt...

BirdBot:
I would find the idea of being given a shirt I can actually wear so appealing I'd be tempted to change into it right there at the booth.

Talk about doing their advertising for them, anyone taking their shirt off in public (male or female nowadays, it seems) is bound to draw wandering eyes, wolf-whistles and commentary!

That sounds awesomexD I have two Assasins Creed (both games) shirts and ive had to cut them to make them more fitted because they were only available at the time in men's large sizes =_=

Itll probably be come common practice

Too bad the one to set the trend is the developer thats over working its underpaid emplyees and trying to force positive reviews of its game.

(inb4 flaming this information about rockstar was show in 2 seperate news articles on this site)

 

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