Women & Design // Behind the scenes
Why Women should be making games...
It's not uncommon for a girl with a joystick ready to play a game to be told; they aren't good enough, they don't know how to play, they will take too long to learn, this game isn't for girls.
Guest Writer - Lamha Bijili // April, 2021
Mario was also just trying to save a helpless princess, a damsel in distress saved by the hero, a man. A common gist of most traditional video games. Mainstream games were designed to largely cater to male fantasies early on and recent years have started observing a change. Almost 40% of the gamers are women, making the audience rather balanced for a supposed male dominant segment. That's only one of the many reasons why more women should be making games. Gaming industry is thriving, it is a significant part of the future of interaction. Gaming culture has been ignorant, unwelcome and misogynistic for many years and we can change that.
It's not uncommon for a girl with a joystick ready to play a game to be told; they aren't good enough, they don't know how to play, they will take too long to learn, this game isn't for girls. It's also not uncommon to realise these preconceived notions are rather threatening. It leaves one half of the population of this world, discouraged; to learn, to play and to design. It's ordinary to consider women don't play games or aren't interested, so why should they design them? Roughly 20% of the gaming industry are women. If so many women are playing games, why are only so many making them?
The underrepresentation of women in the gaming industry leads to lesser women enrolling for careers in video games. A diverse team helps create diverse games. Each member then brings perspectives and experiences new from their different backgrounds, which is an important catalyst to generating brand new outcomes. The industry should feel welcome to women to begin this change and it can start from an educational level, encouraging more women to participate and take up degrees in game design. Companies should take an initiative to actualise this change through equalising pay gaps and hiring more women. Businesses are revenue driven and so the question remains, why should women be designing games?
"Fun is not the same thing as fulfilment"
— Tom Bissel
Now that the stereotypes are broken, games should be developed for both genders. Understanding both genders require a team with equal participation from both of them. Today's games are developed keeping in mind the intricacy of the threads that weave our society and especially that of feminism. Women actively involved in teams at different stages can contribute and help deliver games that are inclusive, something companies and studios across the world aim to be. Video games used to be made by designers driven on their genius instincts and gut feelings, could the main source of this being men have driven the industry to the stereotypes? Today the industry is data driven and backed by scientific techniques. But more often than not, we still rely on our guts to pull a few things off and intuitions from different genders can provide a wider pool to rely on.
People play games for the same reasons across the world; we need a fun way to spend our leisure time. It's not unknown that entertainment can lead to evoking some emotions and feelings in us. Games are now designed to work through this and with it. They can trigger joy, guilt and sadness. Everyone doesn't feel things the same way and this demands for a plethora of geniuses not only from different genders but also distinctive backgrounds, cultures and environments. Women can bring a lot to the table, just like men. We all have our own skills and strengths that should be embraced equally. Women should be designing games simply because we can. To break a few glass ceilings and classic stereotypes is what we have been at and should continue to be at till there is none to break.
"It's ordinary to consider women don't play games or aren't interested, so why should they design them?"
We're always open to other perspectives, opinions, and a good chat over some coffee or tea. We'd love to host a conversation with you, head on over to our Discord and get in touch!
With 🧡 Team WID.
Next up // View past Webazines
Our past Webazines feature multiple amazing women using their talents to bring across change — from the wonderful ladies at PaperBaag Co. to Thought Over Design's Anushka Sani. Find out what they have to say!