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02 JUNE 2015

A Game of One's Own: Towards a New Gendered Poetics of Digital Space

"In the opening pages of her classic essay, A Room of Ones Own, Virginia Woolf describes being blocked from entering the 'turf' of the University in Oxbridge by an administrative gate-keeper.

Instantly a man's figure rose to intercept me. … His face expressed horror and indignation. Instinct rather than reason came to my help, he was a Beadle; I was a woman. This was the turf; there was the path. Only the Fellows and Scholars are allowed here; the gravel is the place for me' (Woolf, 1929).

This scene invokes the ways in which women have been systematically barred from the digital playground, both as players and as creators of play space. To a large extent, the video game industry in the U.S. remains dominated by a boys-only ethos that harkens back to the gender-biased practices in the British academia of Woolf's day.[1] Games that are female-friendly are often couched in derogatory or dismissive terms: The Sims (Maxis, 2000) is 'not really a game'; casual games are not counted as 'real' games by many in the industry.[2] The result is that certain types of games, game mechanics, play patterns, and, as we'll see, particular types of game spaces have tended to dominate the field of games.

Although this paper discusses the ways in which digital game spaces have been strongly gendered towards male constructions of space and play, this does not necessarily mean we advocate creating exclusively female (or 'pink') games. As Woolf points out in her essay, the solution is not simply to create a distinctly feminine voice (although this is one potential angle of approach), but rather to promote the cultivation of an 'androgynous mind', which, she suggests, is already possessed by male authors of great note throughout history (she cites Shakespeare as an example). We propose drawing from a number of cultural practices, literary sources, and existing games in order to pave the way for a playground that is more open to female players. Thus we promote not only the definition of new feminine game spaces, but also encourage designers to think in terms of 'androgynous space' that engages all aspects of all persons: a space into which women and girls are invited and welcomed, but in which men and boys can also enjoy more diverse and nuanced forms of play than are typically available to them."

(Tracy Fullerton, Jacquelyn Ford Morie and Celia Pearce, "A Game of One's Own: Towards a New Gendered Poetics of Digital Space", The Fibreculture Journal : 11)

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TAGS

2008 • A Room of Ones Own (1929) • androgynous mind • androgynous space • boys-only ethos • British academia • casual gamesCelia Pearce • concepts of space • contested spaces • cultural practices • dangerous spaces • digital game spaces • digital playgrounddigital spacedolls house • domestic spaces • emotional space • enchanted worlds • female games • female players • female-friendly spaces • feminine conceptions of space • feminine game spaces • feminine voiceFibreculture Journal • game design as cultural practice • game mechanic • game spaces • games industrygames research • gender-biased practices • gendered spaces • gendered technology • gendered voices • gendering game space • Jacquelyn Ford Morie • male authors • male constructions of play • male constructions of space • MMOG • narrative spaces • nuanced forms of play • Oxbridge • pink games • play patterns • play spaces • poetics of digital space • procedural space • real games • regendered play space • regendering game space • secret places • social spacesThe Sims (2000) • Tracy Fullerton • video games industryVirginia Woolfvirtual spacesWilliam Shakespeare • women and games

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
23 APRIL 2011

Australian youth advice website: Get Out There!

"Get out there is the Queensland government's youth website. The website is designed to help young consumers tackle some of the big issues affecting their life during and after high school. It features practical advice and tips from a number of government agencies and organisations. It includes information on: budgeting, buying a mobile phone, enrolling to vote, renting, enrolling in a university degree or TAFE course, finding a job, joining a sporting club and schoolies."

(Queensland Government Office of Fair Trading, 2011)

Fig.2 http://getoutthere.qld.gov.au/ website

Fig.3 Department of Justice and Attorney–General (8 April 2011). 'Youth urged to take care online'

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TAGS

2011Australia • budgeting • commodityempowerment • enrolling to vote • finding a job • game • Get Out There! • high schoolinformationinteractiveisometric projectionmobile phone • Office of Fair Trading • OFT • practical adviceQueensland • Queensland Government • renting • schoolies • sports club • TAFE • TAFE course • The Sims (2000)tipsuniversityuniversity enrolmentwebsite • young consumers • youth

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
03 DECEMBER 2008

The Sims On Stage: tools for creating and publishing your own mash-ups

"The Sims On Stage is a new online community from the people who make The Sims games at Electronic Arts. Here you can sing and record your favorite songs karaoke–style as well as write and perform your own comedy sketches, poetry and stories. You can even create movie 'mashups' by mixing your own recorded performances with video clips from The Sims games.
...
We make it easy for you. All you need is a computer and your creative spirit, and we'll take care of the rest. You'll also need a microphone if you want to make recordings, and if you have a webcam you can take it up another level and record your own video performances!

The Sims On Stage lets you connect with millions online and join a vibrant community of content creators, performers and fans who share works and recordings, rate and leave feedback on each other's content, create and enter contests and compete for the coveted spots at the top of the charts! Click below to sign up for a free membership."
(Electronic Arts)

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TAGS

authorshipdigital media • EA • Electronic Artsgames • karaoke • mash-upmixingmoviemultimedianarrativeonline communityperformancetechnologyThe Sims (2000) • The Sims On Stage • tool

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
26 MAY 2005

Pimp My Weapon: Sony is getting into the machinima act

"First EA paid the Red vs. Blue guys to create 'The Strangerhood' machinima series to highlight its Sims 2 game, now Sony is getting into the machinima act with 'Pimp My Weapon', a new machinima series intended to promote 'God Of War'."
(Hollywood Liberation Army)

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TAGS

authorshipcopyright • God Of War • machinimamash-up • Pimp My Weapon • re-purposerecombinant • Red vs. Blue • remix culturescriptibleSony • Strangerhood • The Sims (2000)
14 NOVEMBER 2003

Will Wright: The Sims On-line

An on–line game where players are able to determine the lives of virtual people (sims) and interact with other on–line players. Players manage their sims through setting their virtual careers and relationships.

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