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twoplayer comic: How to Advertise to Women
posted by: Aaron Stanton
publisher: GamesFirst! Internet Magazine
date posted: 11:33 PM Sun Sep 11th, 2005
last revision: 02:41 AM Mon Sep 12th, 2005

Click here to read this week\'s twoplayer game comic.

I spent most of this last weekend at a gaming conference outside of Seattle. The Women in Games International was hosted on the Microsoft Campus in Redmond, and was really a fairly interesting show. I\'d decided to attend almost on the spur of the moment, figuring that my original Saturday plans of hanging out in my hot tub with some good music was less appealing than driving eleven hours in one day to attend a conference that doesn\'t target my demographic.

I\'m glad I did.

Our industry, more so than traditional programming and development outside of games, really needs to address the fact that there are very few women going into game development. Pointing out that we have large breasted characters in video games is hardly evidence that we\'re meeting the goal of diversifying the industry.

I\'m writing another article covering the conference in more depth, because it was interesting, informative, and important ? we need more conferences like it.

But if I can indulge a less noble thought process before I write that article, I can\'t help but mention how happy I am to see the turn out for this event; not just because they were gamers, but because they were girls. Lots of them. And cute. Saying that is probably going to get me in trouble, but sharing similar passions with someone makes them instantly more interesting, and there were plenty of people at this event with true passions for the industry I love. Mentioning that the Microsoft Campus would make a really good Rainbow Six 3 level didn\'t earn me the usual blank stares that I\'ve grown used to.

More in line with the spirit of the Women in Games International Conference, it\'s time that the industry actively seeks to draw more female developers into the industry. If we want innovation, then we need to bring in a perspectives different from the established, and at the moment the established is predominantly male.

This isn\'t just about the fairly hot advertising topic of how to appeal to female gamers. It\'s more about passing on the dream of our industry to an audience without testicles. What I thought was interesting was that at least 2 of the panelist, established producers in the industry, said that they originally took a pay cut so that they could work with games. Our industry is still about passion; people do the job because they love the job. It\'s why we have such fierce debates about unionization and abusing workers; people are not willing to walk away from the elements of creation that they adore. Why are we so seemingly unable to pass that level of passion on to more female programmers, who are mysteriously absent from the inner workings of the industry?

Or maybe they do have the passion, and we\'re somehow keeping them out?

It\'s sad to think that maybe there\'s a large contingent of potential game makers in the world, desperately wanting in, who are being blocked in one way or another because of their gender. I honestly don\'t think it\'s that simple, but it\'s good to see conferences like this one attempting to give concrete tools to people who are trying to break into the industry. Male or female, anyone that\'s interested in working in games could have benefited from this conference, and I\'d strongly urge you to consider going to the next one.

Of course, from a more stereotypically male perspective, I have to admit that it was interesting going to a conference filled with members of the opposite sex who didn\'t think that nerds were.. well... nerdy. That\'s always a nice feeling, especially when it\'s not that, \"I\'ve been paid to like you\" sort of thing that you find with booths down at E3, with the hired models and all.

A month before Playboy is running another series of nude photos of \"women in games,\" it\'s good to see a less sexualized approach to gender. The women at this conference were so much sexier than the skimpy CG models that show up on the front of Dead or Alive boxes; they had active, competent, and capable minds, and a desire to create works of art beyond what I\'ll probably ever be able to create myself. If that\'s not attractive, I don\'t know what is.

These were the true women of gaming, and I firmly believe that they will help lead to a stronger and more creative industry. Like I said, we need more conferences like this.

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