Leading Game Design Program Attracting More Women Than Men
When I was a kid in school, the idea of a girl playing a video game was about as ridiculous as a girl playing with Transformers and getting picked first in gym.
Oh, how things have changed.
I hear they don't pick teams in gym classes anymore for esteem reasons, I think a lot of girls went to see those "Transformers" movies, and yup, we've got lots of girl gamers, too.
We still don't have a ton of females on the development side of the industry, but that's going to start changing awfully fast. According to a new report in The Los Angeles Times, the video game design program at USC - named by the Princeton Review as one of the best in the country - actually has more women than men. Over the past few years, the number of females signing up for this program has drastically increased:
In 2011, USC admitted 15 men and 5 women into its graduate game design program. In 2015, the numbers were almost reversed, with 12 women and 7 men being accepted. At the undergraduate level, only 7 of the 27 freshmen were women in 2012 but in 2015, the numbers were even. Said professor and game designer Tracy Fullerton:
"We live in a culture where the first impulse is to have a male main character, to assume a male gaze on the screen. That's got to change. Young women need characters to have as role models. ... It's important. The more that games become a key medium, the more important it becomes for this to happen."
We're certainly seeing a lot more female characters in video games these days, and they're essentially normal. Well, if not entirely "normal," at least not absurdly over-sexualized as they have been in the past; all one has to do is compare the new Lara Croft to previous generations to see the positive changes.
I still see no problem with the occasional damsel in distress theme, though. I always wanted to get past Bowser to save the Princess, and I doubt there was anything wrong with that. It was cool, however, to suddenly have the Princess as a playable character in future Mario games. ;)
1/22/2016 11:29:59 AM Ben Dutka