Gaming In Dystopia
  • Gaming In Dystopia

    Admin 0 0 1846 Date: 19 Nov 2016
  • As society continually evolves into a more digital and globalised space, the relevance and need for digital gaming steadily develops likewise. Gaming is considered as a source of relaxation and entertainment, while digital games such as Minecraft, World of Warcraft and Runescape have provided platforms for people of different backgrounds, cultures and sexes to come together, interact and play with each other.

    Correspondingly, female gamers have been receiving sexist and misogynistic remarks from their male counterparts on some of these platforms. This often constructs the experiences of users, and could eventually damage the essential meaning behind what digital gaming truly represents. The potential of a new meaning being created, as a result of scars left by continuos attacks of harassment and bullying on women is currently evident. This highlights the importance of experiences and encounters faced by each individual player, and why they should not be ignored.

    Gaming more often than not, represents reality and should be paid close attention to as a result. Online chat rooms provide a space for individuals to express their thoughts gathered from society. As anonymous identities can be used in most of these spaces, genuine opinions are therefore expressed freely. This has now given room for prejudiced behaviour mostly towards female gamers.

    As society slowly begins to recognize acts of hatred towards women, awareness must now be created against acts of sexism towards female gamers similarly, as issues of this nature make people feel uncomfortable and would rather be ignored. Due to harassment by abusers within the gaming community, some gamers are starting to leave, as highlighted by Game Designer, Anna Kreider (2016). This connotes the notion that, gaming is a one-sided affair where certain people, irrespective of similar passion they share for the activity, are unwelcome in the community, as a result of their gender.

    The issue of a disproportionate amount of lead characters from digital games being represented as male is an occurring concern, which reflects the current patriarchal nature of society. Jayd Ait-Kaci, a Canadian gamer, has expressed his worry on the topic, stating that ‘The message from the industry is that men come first’ (Gittleson 2014). Subsequently, due to the dominance of this ideology, female gamers have been subject to abuse, rape threats and misogynistic comments, simply due to the fact that they are female and have a similar interest as their male fellows. As gaming is known to connect individuals who share a common passion with each other, the prevalence of sexism towards women within it, is a detrimental factor that needs to be dealt with, as it sends the message that women are not invited to be part of this culture, which was originally intended to unite everyone of similar interests and passion. A study published by The Pew Research Centre in December 2015 mentions that ‘50 percent of men and 48 of women said they played games on a console, PC or handheld device’ (Reynolds 2015). Moreover, the percentage of female characters has stayed unmoved at around 15% since the 1990s (Ibid 2014). On a larger societal scale, this is discriminatory and asks questions of where ‘we’ as a society are heading.

    Online chat rooms in games was originally intended to be a hub where user-friendly discussions could take place. Over time, there has been a change in what is now considered as popular. This has featured society transform from an organized group of people, into a hateful and disorganized mass. While looking at the state of gaming in a progressive society, the theory of Extension and Amputation by philosopher, Marshall Mcluhan comes to mind. According to him, ‘an extension occurs when an individual or society makes or uses something in a way that extends the range of the human body and mind in a fashion that is new’(Kappelman 2001). While amputations are generated as consequences of human acts of extension. Linking this back to hate, sexism and misogyny in gaming, it is clear to see that, the efforts of human beings at extending communication to unlimited amounts of gamers has only led to unforeseen hate and sexism towards women.

    Author : Emmanuel Johnson

    References Gittleson, K. (2014) ‘Why does sexism persist in the video games industry?’ [online] available from [2nd November 2016]. Kappelman, T. (2001) ‘Marshall McLuhan: The Medium is the Message’ [online] available from [2nd November 2016]. Kreider, A. (2016) ‘You say hello’ [online] available from [2nd November 2016]. Reynolds, E. (2015) ‘Just as many women play games but only men are thought of as ‘gamers’’ [online] available from [2nd November 2016].

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