Please watch the following video: https://www.ted.com/talks/brenda_laurel_why_not_make_video_games_for_girls
Why Not Make Video Games For Girls?
While the video that you just watched offers an interesting perspective (though slightly dated) on gender and the gaming industry, it has also received a fair amount of critique. In order to develop a well-rounded understanding on the topic of gender and the gaming industry, please read the following article critiquing the TED Talk that you just viewed:
Girl Games: Adventures in Lip Gloss
You are also encouraged to explore the other critiques out there regarding this TED Talk. Try using search terms like “critiques of Purple Moon and Rockett” to further explore this topic.
Now that you’ve had an opportunity to explore various perspectives on the topic of gender and the gaming industry, specifically in terms of the Purple Moon company, respond to the following questions.
Compare and contrast your initial reactions to the TED Talk and the “Girl Games: Adventures in Lip Gloss” article. Did the article change your opinion of the TED Talk? How so?
After learning a little about the gender research that Laurel performed before creating her games, do you think she asked the right questions? Did she use the feedback she received in a productive way? If you were doing research to figure out what a certain demographic (doesn’t have to be gender-based) was looking for in a video game, how would you structure your research differently?
A quote from the article regarding Laurel’s research says: “This is just another example of the tawdry history of sex difference research that is driven by stereotypes and results in reinforcing those stereotypes,” says Dr. Barrie Thorne, Professor of Sociology at U.C. Berkeley and author of the definitive text Gender Play. Do you agree with this point of view? What issues do you see with the Rockett game and Laurel’s research?
The way that we view and understand gender identity and gender expression has changed significantly since the TED Talk was filmed. Do you think that gender is as strong a demographic in gaming today? If so, why? If not, what are the audience categories that video game designers should be taking into consideration instead?
Does your personal concept of gender (or how you view/understand gender) impact the kinds of video games that you choose? Are you more or less likely to choose a game that offers a diverse and/or broad concept of gender? Explain.
Ultimately, Laurel’s company, Purple Moon, was bought out by Mattel, a company best-known for their Barbie products. What do you think that Laurel and Purple Moon could have done differently to (potentially) avoid being bought out? Explain.
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