Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Well, I'm a Queen - Shouldn't I Have Crown?

I am alive.

I promise.

I've just been busy busy busy. And zipping through season one of Heroes. (Which I have plenty to complain and rave about.)

But, of course, I ran across this and this just a few minutes ago while looking for this game on my parents desktop (thus the lack of bookmark) - and I had to comment on it.

I stumbled across Lifetime Games a year or so ago after looking up some schedule information. (I have no idea what, so don't ask. But I did watch and enjoy a couple of the Lifetime adaptations of Nora Robert's novels if that helps you imagine what it might have been.) Anyway, I guess I'm a walking stereotype, because, yeah, I like puzzle games. So I started playing some.

(And yes, I've played the makeover game as well. It's like digital paper dolls for grown-ups.)

Now, I'm hardly one to commend Lifetime for creating a sudoku filled with shopping icons instead of numbers. (God, that is one annoying game. I hate Sudoku and Mah Jong games where the icons are overly detailed.) I really don't see why my favorite game has to be called Princess's Tiara, either.

However, something smells fishy about the Joystiq and Kotaku articles. Mainly that they seem to be as condescending towards women as they accuse Lifetime of being. After all, why not have a game called Sally's Salon? And is the makeover game really fundamentally any different than the Superhero generator that was floating around the blogs a few weeks ago?

Sure, It really doesn't need to be called Princess's Tiara, but there's no reason why it shouldn't either. Maybe it's just me, but I get the impression that the boys over at Joystiq and Kotaku* are really cringing because it is all so very very pink and princessy, and not because Lifetime's game selection is limited and reinforces stereotypes.

Very few of us want to be girly girls all the time. But a great number of us like doing some of the girly girl stuff some of the time. That''s part of why variety is good and stereotypes are bad. But variety means just that: variety, not just girls getting to do what they boys always got to do. There's a lot that Lifetime does that annoys me, but as long as the kewl kids act like pink = cooties, ideas like "Lifetime: Everything Under the Sun for Women" will be popular because it will be the one place where we can go and be a girly girl and not be looked down upon for being a girly girl.

I think it's stupid when Sega designs a series of games for girls that reinforces stereotypes, but that doesn't mean I think that's it's a bad idea to have a game called Sally's Salon - or even a game about taking care of babies. I just think it's dumb that they are targeted to girls, and that only that kind of stuff is targeted to girls.

I also think there's a difference between when a company that has proven to be popular among adult women, and is partly run by adult women, teams up to deliver stereotypical games targeted at adult women and when a game company that isn't known for either of these things makes such games and targets them to girls. Neither situation is completely evil or completely good, but they aren't equal, either.

*The Kotaku article may have been written by a woman, it doesn't have a byline.

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