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Brenda Laurel, one of the most important women in gaming history. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Strives Women Have Made in Gaming Since 2017

In 2011, as a junior in high school, I wrote an essay. The prompt given was to take a societal issue and apply it to something [I] enjoy. So, I chose video games. I wrote about women in gaming and the representation thereof. Since then, the gaming industry has seen its ups and downs, but women have come much further. Here are some examples:

Women in streaming

For years, gaming existed as a boy’s club for men. The idea existed that women did not like video games and wouldn’t purchase them. Over the years, this has been disproven. With the advent of streaming, anyone can see that women do play games. And Twitch is helping to prove this. Twitch has launched with 100 Dreams Fund to create the BroadcastHER Grant. This Grant is offered to women in high school and college and ranges from $500 to $2000. The money is to be used for new equipment, travel costs, and other tools to assist in streaming on the platform. Several studies have shown that female streamers receive fewer concurrent views, take up only 10% of the top 500 streamers, and cannot be found in the top ten at all. Between March 1st and April 1st, 1000 Dreams and Twitch will be launching fundraisers to fund this new grant.

Women as characters

Female representation in games is a hot-button issue. Arguments constantly rage on how women should be designed, how women are portrayed, whether or not they pass the Bechdel test, and more. Funnily enough, both sides of the argument contain men and women as equal amounts. However, what consumers cannot ignore is that two of the biggest games of 2017 featured female protagonists.
The first is NieR: Automata. This title features three characters that share the role of hero: the stoic 2B, the curious 9S, and the rebellious A2. The game received nominations and awards from The Annual Joystick Awards, The Game Awards, and the Global Game Awards. The title also appeared on an overwhelming number of top ten lists for games of 2017.

On the other side of the Pacific pond, Horizon: Zero Dawn received just as much praise and recognition. The open world title features Aloy, an outcast who seeks knowledge about the mystery of her birth. Just like NieR: Automata, Horizon received nods and awards from The Annual Joystick Awards, The Game Awards, and Global Game Awards as well as several other organizations. In addition, one of the studio directors, Siobhan Reddy, is also a woman.

Women in competition

CR: Twitter @mimimimichaela

There is a stereotype that women aren’t good at video games. Because of this, women often become the subject of ridicule in the gaming sphere. Women are often seen as “attention-seeking” for attempting to become a notable competitor. Despite this, several women have made names for themselves in the Counter Strike Global Offensive community. Ksenia “vilga” Klyuenkova participates in several CS:GO tournaments every year. Out of sixteen tournaments she placed in, she won fourteen. In 2017 alone, she placed first in three different competitions alongside teammates Julia “juliano” Kiran and Zainab “zAAz” Turkie. Despite competitive gaming at times being a toxic environment, these women have shown that women can be just as good, if not better, than their male counterparts. Sadly, the all-female team is now defunct as of June 2017.

Women in development

Listing every woman who participated in the development of games in 2017 is a refuge in audacity. However, one of the most interesting games I personally played last year was XING: The Land Beyond, a first-person puzzle game in the same vein of Portal and Gone Home. This game was created by three-person team White Lotus Interactive. The lead writer for the game is Koriel Kruer. XING ended up being awarded Best in Show at the Intel Buzz workshop and showcase in Los Angeles in 2017. However, women also made strides in AAA gaming. Siobhan Reddy, as stated above, was a studio director for critically acclaimed Horizon: Zero Dawn.

Many more examples of female excellence can be found by scouring the web as well as smaller, more personal examples. Discrimination of women in the gaming industry and community is slowly shrinking as many women push to make their voices known. Still, there are some who don’t wish to see these women succeed. Despite this, games are a fun hobby made for any and everyone, from casuals to “hardcore” gamers. Happy International Women’s Day and continue to play.

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Travis Lionel

Travis is a mostly self-taught freelance writer. He enjoys video games, comic books, and whiskey, in that order. When not enjoying his hobbies, he is active in the sociopolitical landscape and enjoys conversations about how they fit into pop culture. Travis lives inside of a blanket fort. Travis is not a rabbit.

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