Computer games have been criticised for quite some time over a whole range of issues. Now, however, it seems that computer games have also become a feminist issue.

Girls' games


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Girls' games

by Nik Peachey

Computer games have been criticised for quite some time over a whole range of issues. Some people say they are overly violent and encourage violent behaviour, particularly in children. Others say that they make children hyperactive, unsociable, and are bad for their eyes. Some have even attributed falling standards of literacy and a lack of interest in reading to them. Now, however, it seems that computer games have also become a feminist issue.

Game manufacturers have, for some time, been looking to increase the number of female game players. The vast majority of computer games still sell to a mainly male market. Perhaps this is because the violent nature of many of the games appeals more to males or perhaps because many of the main characters in the games are male. Manufacturers' attempts to produce more female characters and so increase their share of the female gaming market have met with serious criticism from many women's groups.

Whilst heroines such as Lara Croft of the Tomb Raider game are seen as providing positive role models of strong women, many believe that the character's unrealistic Barbie-like proportions are subconsciously setting unattainable standards in the minds of young women. Perhaps a stronger criticism is that although many games now include female characters, their role is often secondary and they support the main, male action characters within the games. Of course, the nature of many of the games remains violent and destructive and this in itself could well continue to put off female gamers.

There are now, however, a number of websites springing up on the World Wide Web to help women deal with this issue. Sites such as Game Girlz, Women Gamers and Game Gal offer game reviews, articles, discussion forums and even employment opportunities for women interested in becoming part of the rapidly expanding games industry. The games are reviewed by women from a very female perspective. Some rate the games from one to ten across a range of criteria which include the appearance of the female characters, the degree of intelligence attributed to them in the game and even the marketing attitude adopted by the company. The sites are obviously looking for games that move away from the very male-dominated and violent nature of the majority of computer games. Many of them review games that are more constructive and developmental. Although the common fantasy themes of knights, witches and goblins still exist within these games, the aims are often very different. Instead of destroying opposing armies, the aim of the game can be to make peace with them.

With this increased degree of awareness and involvement from women in the games industry, many positive changes could be made that could encourage more women and young girls to become enthusiastic about technology and what it has to offer them. Perhaps we may even find more male gamers moving away from the traditional violent and destructive games towards the more positive values promoted by these more feminine role models – after all, Tomb Raider is still one of the most popular computer games on the market – but perhaps that's too much to ask.





The imprtant points is that not to engage female by markteing games, but to design games that not including voilent for both males and females.

Hello Learn English Team,
I want to know the difference between 'subconsciously' and 'unconsciously'
Thanks a lot

Hello Ebi Soleymani,

In specialist contexts (e.g. psychology, psychoanalysis), 'subconscious' refers to the part of our mind that we are not aware of in a specific moment, but which we can know. 'unconscious', on the other hand, refers to the parts of our mind that we cannot know. But in many non-specialist contexts, I expect the two terms may be used interchangeably, though I'm not sure.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Thanks a lot.

Nice, I got the full mark, besides I' learned some new terms..
Thank you!

I agree with the author that we shouldn't let computer games become yet another powerful factor which negatively influence our children. People should be careful about the messages the games trying to convey to players. In spite of using game review and forum to point out the potential issues or benefits of certain games, a classification system like the one used for movies and TV programs is also necessary. On the other hand we must acknowledge that there are very positive and constructive games. By encouraging the 'good' ones and criticize the 'bad' ones we probably are able to turn the industry towards a better direction.

Your texts

Ojong Egbe writes My view, after reading the text, is that there is an apparent tendency for children to act upon what they see after a careful manoeuvre over their intuitive thoughts. And being in front of a computer terminal watching ‘girl-games’, commanderships, and other types, will certainly cause them to be out from insightful uncertainties and act vis-à-vis what they have seen. I’d say that I was fortunate enough to have seen beforehand the CD pack of the Tomb Raider and, with the special designs of the characters, I could tailor predefine schemes for its extended use, which could be seen as coming in handy. Actually the sexist attitudes or characters nonetheless proved right, besides providing an upper hand for its continued usage.
Moreover, if computer gamers or female enthusiasts, or children could form computer games clubs and are capable of attaining, say, mutual benefits and fitting in comfortably in, then the aspect of becoming unsociable will be absolutely written off, and surely being hyperactive would be a good thing.


BuiDuyQuang writes With the development of industry computer games are increasing to. There are more games for males than for females. Now females playing games are increasing. Online games are now popular in the world. And it is necessary to build a game only for females. In my country Vo Lam Truyen Ky is the most popular. It's not violent and children, young people, also females can play too. But people play games and don't remember their real life. I think we should limit the time of playing games.


Kirti writes Everybody likes to play games. Playing games is an easier way to learn than any other learning resources. We can say that computer games are nothing but advanced versions of games. The question is which objectives designers keep in the front of their minds while designing games. If we design games in such a way as to give some meaningful learning outcomes as well as entertainment then computer games will definitely be a most sociable and active medium for everybody. Up till now female characters used in games have just had secondary value. If we show mentally and physically strong woman characters, who are performing valuable work in society then it will be create interest among women in games.


Quynhlan writes I agree that computer games are violent. Now, in my country there is a computer game named Vo Lam Truyen Ky that attracts so many children and young people. Although the characters of the game are not violent they make bad consequence through stealing invisible assets, and these are parts of game, and must be dealt with them by using actual money. Some young people are become killers and robbers after playing this game. It also attracts a big proportion of female player between the ages of 12-20 . They can play through the night without eating, sleeping or learning. And nowadays that has become a social issue in my country.”

Kumiko Sakuda writes Computer games are causing several problems among young people, especially boys. The most serious problem is that playing computer games too much would result in the inability to communicate with other people. They are absorbed in games without speaking to each other for a long time. Secondly, children and young people should spend their time playing sports or training themselves physically. Nowadays many of them do not play outside. They get together at their friend's homes and play video games for many hours. This situation would weaken their physical strength. Finally, violent video games make children violent. According to recent research, the longer children play violent video games, the more violent they become. I believe parents should limit the time of their children's playing video games.