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Saturday, 23 August 2003

Games Convention

Wednesday night Aki called to tell us he’d go to Games Convention (a consumer video game show) on Thursday and asked us if we wanted to meet him there. Mikey and I had already thought about maybe going there but weren’t sure whether it’d be worth it. But, since we didn’t have anything better to do anyway and it’s only a two hour drive from where we live, we decided to meet him there.

Unfortunately our worst fears got confirmed there. But more on that later. When we first got there we were surprised by the amount of middle aged people. Until we noticed that they were just parents accompanying their underage kids (and later sat around in some corner waiting for their kid to come back from his gaming spree).

All the big players (Sony, Nintendo, Microsoft) were there and they had quite a few games on display that we were interested in. Nintendo for example had FF: Chrystal Chronicles (unfortunately only a video, nothing playable) and playable versions of Final Fantasy Tactics * drool *, Golden Sun 2 and Advance Wars 2 for the GBA which was awesome. I just wish I could’ve bought FFT and AW2 right there.

We got to play Crimson Skies on the XBox which I’m sure will be a blast in multiplayer. Halo 2 looked great. Slowly but steadily Microsoft turns out games for the box that make it harder and harder to ignore (I’ve tried hard to hate the XBox ever since it was announced). But those two games and already available ones like Panzer Dragoon Orta and Splinter Cell make it ever harder to hate them.

We saw Railroad Tycoon 3 (why, oh why does it have to be in 3D?), Broken Sword 3 (3D as well, but might work), Prince of Persia (another 2D game gone 3D; looked interesting though) and Tony Hawk Underground (I like that you can walk around on your feet now).

So far, so good. Now on to the bad part. There weren’t as few women as I had assumed but it turns out most of them were either

  • booth babes
  • there with their boyfriend
  • press
  • a parent.

I did have the feeling that I was possibly the only female gamer there. I didn’t really mind at first since I’m used to being one of the few females at a lot of stuff that I do, there just aren’t that many female geeks around. What really bugged me though was how they catered to the “needs” of their primary audience (namely: pimply male teens). Eidos was probably worst. Their method of attracting crowds was simply to put 5 or so boob, er booth, babes in latex bikinis on a stage and let people go up there, stand between them and have their photo taken. How great. I don’t even remember if they had any game on display.

We spent a considerable amount of time at the Atari booth trying to catch one of the Atari T-Shirts they threw into the crowd. I ended up getting a nice girly shirt but I still don’t believe how I let them humiliate me just to get it. See, the girls who wanted shirts their size couldn’t just stand there and catch one like the guys. No, girls had to go up on stage and tell a joke, for all to “admire”. The only “good” thing about that was that your chances of getting a shirt were 100% if you went up there. I told the tomato joke from Pulp Fiction and the Atari guy interrupted me in mid-sentence to inform me that I was telling a “stolen joke”. Well, thank you very much, smart ASS! Have you ever had somebody tell you a joke they invented themselves? Am I overreacting or is this sexist? And all of this just because I like what Atari was 13 years ago…

When I think back to the whole thing the only good thing that came out of it was the cool Atari lanyard I managed to obtain (without humiliation). Even though the T-shirt is quite cool, thinking about how I got it makes me mad/sad/blush. Mikey and I came to the conclusion that we’re just not the target group anymore. But don’t they miss out on a lot of money if their main target consumer group are 13-20 year old males? What about older people? What about women? Don’t they get the clue from unusual games like GTA or The Sims which target a more mature audience and even women (in the case of The Sims) and sell record numbers? Great graphics and boobs aren’t everything that counts. I’m talking myself into a rage here. I think I am overreacting. I’ll stop now. Good Night.

[Archive Link]  Posted by Edda at 02:07 CET


[Comments Link]  1. Posted by kusinohki on 23 August, 2003 07:16 CET

reminded me of a recent dork tower strip so I had to share:

[Comments Link]  2. Posted by Lena on 24 August, 2003 17:46 CET

I’m really jealous.Everything cool is going on in the big cities or close to one.Why don’t they come to a nice little city.And, I agree complete with you.Women to power!

[Comments Link]  3. Posted by Swampy on 25 August, 2003 07:38 CET

Good story!

May I ask you to quote the tomato joke of Pulp Fiction? :)

[Comments Link]  4. Posted by Edda on 25 August, 2003 14:56 CET

Lena: I didn’t say “Women to Power”. I just want to be treated equally, is all…

Swampy: Will I get a t-shirt if I quote the joke to you? ;) Anyway, this is the joke:
Mother Tomato, Father Tomato and Baby Tomato cross the street. Baby Tomato falls behind a bit and gets overrun by a truck. Father Tomato says: “Ketchup!”
(see ketchup catch up) This joke doesn’t do well in written form…

[Comments Link]  5. Posted by Lena on 25 August, 2003 15:32 CET

Esther I don’t want to say this I meant what you meant I just didn’t know how to say this, with my english knowledge.I’m sorry I just meant:I want the big companies look at us and say why haven’t we thought about, that women play computergames too.I hope I’ve wrote what I’ve want to.

[Comments Link]  6. Posted by Brina Mims on 25 August, 2003 17:48 CET

Oh Edda! I feel your pain!! I hate being the only girl gamer on game night at my local came store (this is why I drag Jesse with me) and yes, I think I would have told a joke for the Atari shirt too and felt awful about it later too.



[Comments Link]  7. Posted by Edda on 25 August, 2003 18:12 CET

You know the thing is I don’t mind being the only girl in a group of people. At all. Never have. In fact I have more male friends than female ones (which is probably due to my “non-girly” interests). I just hate being reduced to my gender. And that is exactly what they did.

[Comments Link]  8. Posted by Swampy on 26 August, 2003 12:58 CET

Maybe they did a little wrong, but not too much. Don’t think of men like trying to use you. Think of them like they just love you :P.

[Comments Link]  9. Posted by Brina Mims on 29 August, 2003 00:45 CET

I have rarely BEEN in a group of all guys when they DIDN‘T reduce everything down to my gender.

[Comments Link]  10. Posted by Edda on 29 August, 2003 01:28 CET

Rarely happens to me. That’s probably why I’m so over-sensitive about it.

[Comments Link]  11. Posted by Dana Huyler on 9 September, 2003 16:46 CET

Hey, I hate it when I get mistaken for a Female Gamer. “Are you hot?” is one question that will automatically get you a nice one way trip to my blacklist. // Just imagine how hard it is to be a female at a game developer’s conference? It’s even worse.

[Comments Link]  12. Posted by Esther on 9 September, 2003 17:21 CET

I still want to go to GDC though. This year I would have had the chance. Instead I went snowboarding and broke my arm. Stupid!

[Comments Link]  13. Posted by Skeeve on 11 September, 2003 00:00 CET

There is always ‘04, and I’ll be there this time! I don’t think MaryEllen will be there. She just doesn’t get as much out of it as I do.

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