Monday, April 12, 2010

Dear PlayStation--women gamers exist!! kthnx

I'm sure some of you are wondering what I've been occupying my time with since my last serious post (especially  given my seemingly sudden absence).  Well, a lot of that time I have spent playing video games.  One of those happens to be God of War III (I've already beaten it, by the way, and am playing through it again).  With that in mind, I wonder if any of you can tell me what I might find offensive about the latest douchebag PS3 commercial:

Woman: Dear PlayStation--I know in God of War III, you're this Kratos-guy seeking vengence against the gods.  But since my boyfriend got it, he's been totally ignoring me (whimpers).  
Dude: (fighting Leviathan boss in God of War III): Okay, aw!  Okay, hold on.  
Cut to Kratos ripping jaw off leviathan.  
Woman: Um...hello?
Dude: Thanks for coming.
Woman: (in disbelief)  Ugh!
In this short commercial we learn:

  • Women are attention-seeking whiny bitches, who cannot stand when their boyfriends pay attention to anything else, least of all a video game.
  • Women do not play video games.  They do not understand the appeal of video games.  They have no idea who big name characters are because the realm of video games is incomprehensible to limited lady-brains.
  • Men choose women over video games.  Every time.  I wasn't even aware that there was a women vs. video games thing happening.  Oh well.
  • PlayStation is still pretending that female gamers do not exist.

This commercial is particularly rage-inducing to me, as I, a woman, have not only heard of Kratos, but has played as him, and has already beaten the game in question.  This commercial says that women don't play video games, and still are not even considered part of the gaming demographic.

Perhaps it's just confusing to some people, since the God of War series is as far from a traditionally feminine game as possible.  Kratos is essentially raw testosterone, committing all sorts of atrocities in his quest for vengeance.  It's difficult to imagine that women can find enjoyment in disemboweling centaurs, ripping enemies in half, or smashing a man's face against stone until his face is unrecognizable.  But I assure you, dear readers--it is possible.  It would be nice if gaming industries could remember that from time to time.

Admittedly, it may be a little creepy that I cackle maliciously as the action slows on a particularly gruesome battle, but that's another issue entirely.



Monica Roberts said...

Women gamers exist...and some of us even like to play the 'shoot 'em up' ones.

Personally, I prefer the sports games.

DonQuixote said...

What are you talking about? Where exactly does the commercial even imply that women don't play videogames? You're making gross generalizations about women that are inherently misogynist, which, quite frankly, I am offended about as a man.

Lighten up a little? Please?

FilthyGrandeur said...


perhaps you missed the rest of the series of these commercials, which, collectively, do imply that video games are the realm of men.

these "generalizations" i seem to have are directly derived from these ads. if there is inherent misogyny, it can be found in the perpetuation of this myth that women aren't interested in games.

if you wish to continue to comment here, i recommend that you watch your tone.

Anonymous said...

Do you know, I read DonQuixote's comment and initially thought it was a parody of the stereotype of the "lighten up already" dudes! But since it seems to be a real person...

"Where exactly does the commercial even *imply* that women don't play video games?"
How about: the entire thing! If they thought that women *did* play video games, they could easily have made an ad that featured, say, a fight between the couple, because both of them wanted to play as Kratos. With, perhaps, a joking warning that the game might doom your relationship.

"You're making gross generalizations"... no, FithyGrandeur is commenting on those generalizations about women, otherwise known as stereotypes. But yes, they are inherently misogynistic. Well done. It's nice you're offended. It would be great if you could see that the ad is more offensive than the response to it.

Ps, FilthyGrandeur - great post! I'm not really a proper gamer, but I did play WoW for a while, and cackled maliciously every time I killed a pig, mainly because their squealing amused me. Make of that what you will :)

PMS Rhino said...

I've always hated gaming commercials because women are pretty much never the target. This whole "women don't understand games and this pretty much annoys the men who love video games" thing is such a common trope it's yawn inducing. I stopped getting completely enraged over this shit when I was the only 8 year old girl I knew who loved playing Primal Rage on her Sega Genesis. I have pretty much been fighting for my gamer status ever since then. All because of my boobs. Don't even get me started on my 2 year employment at Gamestop. If anything was ever completely rage inducing THOSE years would be it. -_- I hate to be the kind of person who gives up on shit like this, but after 20 years and nothing having changed it's hard to not lose faith entirely that any of this will ever change.

I dunno if you read magazines like Game Informer, but they had an article recently about women in videogames and why it's tough to do so. The article was just an exercise in frustration for me. The developers say that making women characters as an option in games takes twice as much work and is generally not worth it. But that misses the entire point. Why aren't developers making games with female leads at all? Not just alternate female characters but making games with female leads instead of automatically making male leads. It was the very definition of treating women as a deviation from the norm.

And it's nice to know I'm not the only one who cackles at the slowmo finishing moves in God of War III. Or other violent games, like stabbing guards in the face in Assassin's Creed. It just fills me with such glee after a long day at work. :D

FilthyGrandeur said...

@PMS Rhino--

i actually do read game informer, and i was equally infuriated by that article. i don't understand how we as women gamers are just expected to play as a male character, and on some level identify with said male character, and yet it is just mind boggling to think a man would be unable to identify with a female character. much of that article seemed like reiterating the same old excuses.

and yeah--the violence is disturbingly cathartic for me. but i work in retail, so this shouldn't be all that surprising.

Anonymous said...

The "women don't understand videogames" trope is utterly infuriating. I've been playing videogames since I was a small child - hundreds, nah probably thousands, of hours across a broad spectrum of genres. I've written FAQs, made walkthroughs, gotten into technical discussions and even dabbled a bit into game modification.

Yet because I happen to have XX chromosomes instead of XY I'm somehow less of a gamer? Yeah, NOT!

"We can't make compelling and interesting female characters because we refuse to learn what females are actually like and just want to pander to the male gaze to sell our games! It's just TOO HARD lolsob."

Yet one of the flagship series for Nintendo is Metroid and it has an interesting female lead...