SCREENSHOT FROM "NAUGHTY AMERICA: THE GAME"
In an article from the New York Times last week, we learn that video game makers are increasingly promoting interactive games that focus on sex, pornography and even prositution.
The games with names such as "Naughty America: The Game," "Playboy: The Mansion," "Rapture Online," "SeduCity" and "Red Light Center" allow gamers to take on the 3-D forms of prostitutes and pimps and speak to other gamers through headsets.
Regarding the "Naughty America" game:
Characters will have their own apartment, but the world will have also have ''public sex zones'' and themed rooms, said Tina Courtney, the game's producer. "We've got the cowboy room, the make-your-own-porn room ... it doesn't just have to be `Your place or mine?'" Courtney said.Another game designer Brenda Brathwaite, who has been in the industry for more than 20 years, sees the new games as a natural evolution of online life, noting that even in the very simple text-based adventure games of the 80s, virtual eyelashes were batted.
*It's very interesting to note that a majority of these pornographic game developers are women. Brathwaite even points out:
"At the risk of sounding incredibly shallow, if you have women in a game, the men will come. A lot of the stuff that they're doing is directly targeting women."Where Brathwaite and others like her see a marketing opportunity in the existing practice of "targeting women" we see another disgusting example of exploitating women as sexual objects for entertainment.
Gaming developers would be wise to pay attention to a 2004 study by the Yankee Group that found that 48% of mobile gamers are women, and to create games that specifically appeal to women. Not games that exploit women's sexuality.
For more information about women and gaming, check out 1-UP Zine a publication by women gamers, for women gamers, published in part by USC.