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Post Column: Gamer Girl: Video-game marketing pigeonholes women

It’s hard out here for a girl gamer. You walk into a Game Stop perusing for yourself and are instantly ogled like the rarest Pokémon. Yes, boys, some girls do like to play video games. We want to be badass superheroes and villains, too. We want to wield the weapons you can. We especially want to kick your butt in your favorite game when we can. And sometimes we even like to play Madden.

According to the Entertainment Software Rating Board, the primary console sold to female players is the Wii, raking in a whopping 80 percent of players. Xbox 360 trails behind with 11 percent of the ladies and PlayStation 3 behind that with only 9 percent of gamers. They also estimate that about 40 percent of gamers are women.

Taking all of this into consideration, five out of the top 10 selling Wii games are geared toward working out. Video games have become so innovative with new console technology that so much more is possible. Games such as Wii Fit allow you to practice yoga, aerobics, strength training and balance from the privacy of your home (or health clubs and retirement homes, which both state they have used the game for simple rehabilitation purposes).

I have never personally been into the fitness-meets-video-game craze. If you like it, I commend you. It really is a simple way to have fun and stay fit. This might have to do with the fact that I don’t work out at all, but that isn’t the point here. I wouldn’t have bought a console with the purpose of fitness. I bought an Xbox 360 about two years ago, and I instantly gravitated toward the stereotypical “boy” games.

I wouldn’t put a gender on specific video games, but someone else already did. Looking at ads for kids, the games geared toward girls are things such as Diner Dash, Cooking Academy and The Littlest Pet Shop. When you look at the ones geared toward teens, The Sims is the biggest name for women. I can’t disagree with The Sims; I, for one, have probably wasted days of my life playing it, but I have never detected a gender distinction from it.

Boys get all the fun games marketed directly to them. Series such as Call of Duty, Halo and Assassin’s Creed are full of everything a video game should be, and I love them. There are few games that have female protagonists, and even fewer that have the whole game based on a female character (take Zelda or Lara Croft, for example). The Mass Effect series has a female version of main character Commander Shepard, but developer BioWare says only 20 percent of players chose to play as her during Mass Effect 2. Even so, critics often state that her storyline and character are far superior to the male’s version.

So here I am, combating the stereotype one headshot at a time. I will play in the ranks of many men and many ladies before me. I won’t resort to the games telling little girls to learn to cook. I won’t use my very high-tech console to do Pilates. This is my vow to conquer the video-game world.

Sophie Kruse is a freshman studying journalism and a columnist for The Post. Are you a girl who loves video games? Email Sophie at sk139011@ohiou.edu.

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