Shakespear’s sisters blog on women in video games which is itself a comment on another blog entry brings up some interesting points about the image of women in video games and what equality means…

Is it o.k. for Batman to beat the crap out of a women in a video game? For (hopefully) obvious reasons promoting any kind of violence against women isn’t exactly a great idea, but then promoting violence against anybody isn’t either… Fundementally you end up with the debate to end all debates in the games industry, Does interacting in a non society friendly way cause any damage? I’m of the school that fundementally NO, that games don’t cause people to do bad things. In this particular case, if Batman meets a women super-villian, he should deal with them the same way as a male super-villian. Which is of course for a Batman computer game, is kicking the crap out of them. Its true equality.

One of the reason I’m so interested in the women in games issue, is partly that I’m friends with a female game developer who is passionate about it, but honestly more because I’m selfish…

I’m the classic game dev in all but one way, I’m male, hetrosexual coming up to 30. I’m also a geeky nerd ;-) But I’m one of a tiny minority within the games dev industry, I’m disabled…

The issues women face today, is the battle we are going to face in the future. I hope that in 10-20 years women in video games will be a solved problem. Not all images of girls will be huge breasted bikini wearing eye candy, that games will cater for the different way women think, etc.

Cos if we can’t get women (who account for 50% of the population and are as capable in every way as men) feeling equal in games, then trying to integrate the disabled community who account for a much smaller portion of the population and have lots of physical issues is going to be bloody hard.

If its hard to get realistic women images into computer games, how about disabled people… Any chance of a hero/eine in a wheelchair or on crutches… Nope not likely this century, even in a medium like film or tv that amount of disabled people seen is terrible low. I watched Shaun Of The Dead last night (great film BTW) and we happily surprised to see a zombie in a wheelchair (when they are trying to get into the Winchester). But then realised the reason I was so happy is because its so rare… That just seeing a disabled person represented in a normal way (i.e. turned into a zombie like everybody else) is so rare, that I actually noticed it…

So for me its about taking a slow war to balance things, first we need to fight the battle to have women probably represented. Thats a battle we can realistically win, there is no good arguments for why games are so male dominated, its just a historical mistake we can fix.

For the disabled community its harder battle, its like being a women in the last century. Its something I should write more about but until relatively recently I’ve never felt angry enough. When I firsted joined the games industry, I was so glad I’d got in and then so determined to prove I was as good as any able body person I never really thought about the issues. But this year has made be think about it alot more… Something to blog about another day I think…