In today’s technological era, video games are the most fascinating and unique art form of the modern era for any gender.
From humble beginnings as massive arcade cabinets to home consoles and PCs that can play an entire arcade at once, the popularity of video games has not declined since the video game crash of 1983, which hurt the video game industry, but only for a short period of time. The problem with video games now though? They ignore a massive untapped market: women.
Gaming may have always seemed like a boy’s hobby to most, but that isn’t always the case. Prior to the crash of 1983, Atari ruled the world of video gaming, and boys and girls both delighted in the wonders of this modern entertainment. Many of the greatest minds in early gaming were women as well, including Donna Bailey, the creator of centipede, and Roberta Williams, who founded Sierra On-line and created the King’s Quest series of adventure games.
Marketing changed following the crash of the video game industry. Nintendo brought the industry back from the brink with the Nintendo Entertainment System. The problem was the time period. Video games had a very poor reputation at the time, hence the massive market crash, so Nintendo tried something else. They made it a “toy.” The original NES came with a plastic robot called ROB, which allowed Nintendo to market and sell their product as a toy as opposed to technology, where we see all the video games and consoles today.
But this is where the heart of the sexism in video marketing lies. Nintendo had to choose whether their product would go in the blue or pink aisle. Once they chose blue, video game marketing has strayed male ever since. Because of marketing from over 20 years ago, women have been pushed out of market that they helped found.
Imagine if something like the iPhone was only marketed towards men. The result would be a skewed market that would miss out on literally half of their potential customers. It wouldn’t make any sense. Now video games face the same backlash.
All hope is not lost, though. More and more, developers are creating female characters in video games that exist for more than just sex appeal. Take for example the recent reboot of the Tomb Raider series, a game famous for it’s over-sexualization of its protagonist, now features a realistic and relatable Lara Croft.
This is a great thing for all involved. If women get back into video games, then developers will get more money and be able to make better games. It’s a win-win situation, and one that we as consumers should push for, male or female.