Whilst reading the books and essays assigned for this course, one of the topics which interested me quite a lot, was this notion of Gender and Identity in the world of gaming. For my research, I want to look at these themes and answer the questions budding in my head: What gaming states about gender and how it affects the gamer’s identity in a social context.
As an example of gender in video games i want to point out a part in Bonnie Nardi’s ‘My life as a night elf priest.’ where she states that “female players nearly always choose female characters in WoW.” I found that statement surprisingly normal, since I too normally choos female characters to act out in games. An essay I read for my research entitled, ‘Perils of a Princess: Gender and Genre in videogames’ by Sahron.R. Sherman, spoke about the same phenomenon. She too found that her female participants would mostly choose female characters, whilst male gamers would choose a male character and find choosing female characters “wierd.”
In this essay, Sherman draws interesting parallels between the adventure classics which have been a part of our culture as humans, the Jungian Archetype and the concept of adventures and plot in gaming. Here she brings out interesting points about the psychology behind gaming and how gamers reflect and form their identities through adventure gaming such as Mario.
Nintendo’s slogan game, Mario, is one of the major examples analyzed in this essay. The gender lines are drawn pretty harshly in the Marion games, where the two Italian plumbers would rescue the princess. The whole plot, as Sherman states, is shaped around this archetype: heroes rescue the damsel in distress.