Thursday, June 1, 2006

On female gamers

While perusing the excellent UKResistance, I came across their post on the new DS Lite French ad campaign, right here. While the typical childish and rather elitist comments of UKR is pretty funny, I think most of them completely missed the point.

Goths like gaming too.

Most mainstream media (and probably you guys reading this) view gamers as pathetic no-life loners, mainly males, who lives in dark rooms - probably populated by old posters of Sonic, surrounded by dolls of Kasumi, wishing that the Dreamcast wasn't dead* and that Hideo Kojima would bring Snake back in MGS5. Sort of like that bloke in Mallrats.

Many of us know that Nintendo is pushing for a strategy that involves recruiting non-gamers by expanding the demographic to all sorts of people - including women. So is it wrong for them to publish an advertising campaign that includes quite frankly sophisticated bourgeois French ladies? I think not. Gaming as a hobby has often been seen as a naive past time or juvenile pursuit by the 'less sophisticated'.

What is her role here? Nothing, except to divert our attention on yet another ugly Playstation case design.

Why couldn't gaming be more sophisticated? It obviously can. Female execs in Japan do not feel embarass, unlike the reserved suits in London, when it comes to playing with their DS in public. Jennifer and one of her best friend (female of course) are doing their PhDs and yet both are gamers. Both were reluctant to ever try gaming due to the negativeness that was usually presented and the ridicule that they may present themselves with. I am sure there are many female 'closet-gamers' out there.

I am glad that Nintendo is pushing the boundaries of game related ads. While most publishers would happily slap a picture of semi nude lady and market their products based on sex appeal, modern Nintendo isn't. They are targeting different people, people who would never ever played games - unlike the infamous Sony graffiti ad, which while were pretty cool, weren't targeting anyone outside the usual young male demographic.

Can Sony convince your mum to start gaming with ads like this? I think not!

Sure the majority of gamers are mainly young males, but if Nintendo is successful in their current campaign (and they are right now in Japan), we males may find ourselves in the minority of gaming population. Women who gets recruited through the non-gaming market would, like many of us once casual-gamers, 'graduate' into hardcore/competitive gamers. Just ask Jenni's mate - she pwned me in her first ever Mario Kart DS game! (I got back at her but you get what I mean - women can be competitive in gaming)

Anyway Guilded Lilies has a more women-centric view on the advert and another opinion on women's place in a male-dominant world, which are both rather insightful.

* It isn't!

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c0y0t3 said...

Well, it's not that I don't want to try "gaming" it's more because we scared that we got addicted to it and forgetting our "real life world" in the earth! Bearing in mind that we still need to concern of work to get some money.
"A girl has got to eat".

c0y0t3 said...

One thing that am quite taken aback is that nintendo is supposed to be a down-to-earth and young-at-heart type of device and it's unfortunately being spoilt by using a so called "sophisticated minimalist white i-pod-ish snobbish looking" advertisement.