My article published on the website on August 28, 2008

So do you have something better to do than gaming? Sometimes it amazes me the crap that comes out of some gaming company’s mouths when it comes to women and gaming. While some companies are more forward thinking about women and games, such as Ubisoft, others are clearly in the dark ages of gaming, such as THQ Wireless. Yes, I am sure most of us know the industry is still pretty male dominated, but James Scalpello, the wireless director for THQ Wireless, brings the perception of girl gamers to an all new low. When I sit down to game, I make a conscious decision that yes, I am going to sit down and turn on my Xbox and play. And yes, I could be doing plenty of other things with my time such as going out with friends, getting some extra work in, doing laundry, and about a million other things on my internal ‘to do’ list that I just never seem to have time for. But according to Scalpello, it would seem that girls have better things to do than game.

When girls play console games, they have to have gone through a whole other list of things they could have done before sitting down with them. Guys get home, have dinner, and play a computer game. It’s much higher up the list of priorities. To put it bluntly, girls have got better things to do.”

Hmmm…. like make that guy his dinner perhaps, so he can use his time to game? Because apparently women have priorities, and gaming clearly isn’t one of them. Interestingly enough, Scalpello must have gotten some heat for his comments, because not too long after his interview was published online by, the quotes were removed. But a few very stereotypical comments were left, such as ‘I don’t think there’s ever been a successful game really pinpointed just for girls. I guess that Cooking Mama and all those Disney Princess and Barbie games must have just been dismal failures, despite the fact new titles in those series are being released. And the Hannah Montana and High School Musical Wii games must have definitely been made with a college-aged guy gamer in mind!

But it no doubt brings up another fact that Scalpello is also clearly missing the fact that girl gamers don’t really want a game with rainbows and unicorns… well, unless it happens to be Rainbow Vegas, that is. Because despite the lower number of female-centric games on the market, you have to wonder just what percentage of ‘guy games’ are actually being bought and played by girls. Yes, I admit to owning some ‘girl games’ if they could be called that, such as Tetris and Viva Pinata. But the number of guy gamers I know who own and play those games still outnumber the girls.

So how do we go about changing the perception that girls would rather cook and clean than turn on a console? Well, for starters, I won’t be very eager to purchase a game from THQ Wireless. But more importantly is to be vocal about the fact you are a girl gamer and proud to be one. Whether you buy a pink Xbox controller, wear your PMS t-shirt outside of gaming events, or even just proudly tell the game store employee that you are buying the game for yourself when he asks if you are buying that FPS for your boyfriend/husband. While we might not be able to change the dark age perceptions of some people, every little bit you can do helps.