Gamers are growing up, and as a result, so is gaming. Sitting on the top of a mountain after what was almost a ferocious rise, our once marginalized hobby has hit the mainstream. But at what cost? Have we allowed the rest of societies’ ills to flood in and kill the simple pleasure of playing a game, mirroring the same corruption of music and film?
I wrote earlier this week about bloggers and main gaming sites taking shortcuts, churning out simple content to pull hits and fill chunks of dead air on slow news days. Following on from that, my sights are set on Olivia Munn, presenter and “journalist” of G4′s “Attack of the Show” and the furphy around her appearance in, and subsequently also on the cover of, Playboy.
I read an article recently that; besides being little more then a directly targeted, terribly written, bigoted, hate spewing manifesto; made a loose reference to the rise of the “fake woman gamer”. This being someone who uses their gender, rather then their intelligence, knowledge, or skill, to use and abuse the affection shown to the geek girl by the more desperate of our gaming brethren.
Now, while I don’t agree with the large majority of the author’s comments, especially since I know quite a few very talented female journalists who do it for the same reasons I do, there are real examples of this particular ‘gamersploitaton’ in action. Case in point – Olivia Munn.
Not only had she, prior to becoming a host on G4, admitted she knew practically nothing about videogames, its almost plainly obvious her constant appearances in Playboy plus her exposure on G4 are simply there to push her career from modeling to B- grade acting.
This kind of crap is one of the biggest reasons female journalists are constantly the target of angry male gamers. Generalization is a nasty thing, and regardless of how successful and talented female gamers become, the Olivia Munns of the world will be quick to stomp on their work by showing a bit of TNA and condemning gaming to the same arena as Nascar.
Many of you will probably be quick to jump up and claim that G4 isn’t a great television representation of the game world. I’d be inclined to agree. In most cases, most video game blogs will follow the story because it generates those tasty ad revenue hits and fills those precious news spots at 7pm. Main gaming sites probably will too, for the same reasons.
In the case of G4, the issue is that it’s one of the few windows that many non-gamers will see. If we’re trying to push gaming to a point where it’s taken as seriously as film or music, creaming our pants every time a “girl gamer” gets into a bikini isn’t really the best way to head there. As someone on posting a comment on Destructoid eloquently put it, its a classic case of “Tits for Hits”.
In the end, why don’t we give real girl gamers, journalists and developers the benefit of the doubt and stop supporting those who are out simply to get their piece of the pie. Gaming is one of those fantastic mediums where gender is irrelevant, where the aim is developing the best games possible with the media taking an important place alongside to critique and push developers to create better and more refined experiences.
We need to grow up and start recognizing the work, rather then the “quirk” of the female gamer. It’s not rare anymore to see a woman playing on Live, writing an article for Gamespot (or Gamer Limit for that matter) or creating the games we play in the first place.
G4 could actually grow a pair and hire someone who actually knows and is passionate about gaming. Australia’s very own Good Game did just that, which just also happens to be one of the most popular shows on its channel.
But hey, sex sells doesn’t it? Can’t beat natural instinct. I wonder if the Frag Dolls are available for a Gamer Limit photo shoot…