In the mid-1990s, a small group of video game designers attempted to lessen gaming’s gender gap by creating software targeting girls. By 1999, however, these attempts collapsed, and video games remained a masculinized technology. To help understand why this movement failed, this article addresses the unexplored role of consumer press in defining “gamers” as male. A detailed content analysis of Nintendo Power issues published from 1994 to 1999 shows that mainstream companies largely ignored the girls’ games movement, instead targeting male audiences through player representations, sexualized female characters, magazine covers featuring men, and predominantly male authors. Given the mutually constitutive nature of representation and reality, the lack of women in consumer press then affected girls’ ability to identify as gamers and enter the gaming community. This shows that, even as gaming audiences diversify, inclusive representations are also needed to redefine gamer as more than just “male.”
Games and Culture: A Journal of Interactive Media – SAGE
Published: Jul 1, 2018
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