Gender and Class Differences in Video Games (Ex 4: Article Analysis)

1. Peer-reviewed academic article:
• Mediated Messages: Gender, Class, and Cosmos in Home Video Games by Christine Ward Gailey

2. Author’s Main Thesis:
• The aim of the project was to understand how the structure of the games represent ideas about human nature, gender, class, technology, and the general world view presented by a sector of the corporate structure.

3. Evidence that the author uses in order to support the main idea:
• Gailey, “analyze the content of a range of Nintendo and related home video games, trying to figure out what patterns existed in how the games depicted order and chaos, gender relations, social class, ethnicity, and technology (Gailey 82-83).
• Gailey uses a research experiment consisting of nine adults, eight children, and four friends (five girls and seven boys). Gailey observed these members and the video game stores for several days.
• The author presents many personal views about certain video games throughout the article. For example, “When asked about the sports games, most of the girls said…It’s just reflexes and timing—you don’t really have to think while you’re playing them” (Gailey 88).
• Evidence for Order and Chaos: Gailey uses her observation about good, evil, relationships, winning, and influences to support her argument.
• Evidence for Technology: Improve your technology based on the games genre.
• Evidence for Social Class: “Only parents with sons had purchased sports games” (Gailey 85).
• “I did find considerable gender differences in the kinds of games preferred by girls and boys, as well as class differences in the kinds of games played. The girls and boys in my sample showed similar patterns of interest and involvement in the fantasy-adventure games and the spatial relations games. However, only boys played the sports games with any regularity, and only the two working class boys played urban-violence and paramilitary games (Gailey 86).
• Gailey quotes from academic articles, books, and games in order to support her argument.
• Gailey uses Pac-man and Ms. Pac Man as an example that video games are directed towards boys and contain a masculine approach and that women are seen with sexual themes.

4. Alternative and Opposing Ideas:
• Gailey talks about debates in cultural studies as being just like all other dominant values that are presented in society.
• “Whether game playing is considered as having positive or problematic effects, almost all studies of children playing video games have presented these players as absorbing or rejecting—but not interpreting and thereby altering—values embedded in the games and play process” (Gailey 82).
• Gailey uses the children’s opinions about what video games they think boys and girls like to play. There answers were used as a basis for her to disagree or suggest different view points throughout the article. (Gailey 88)
• “In what I call the “urban jungle” street-fighting games, women sometimes appear in minority roles as dangerous gang members whom the her must beat up or kill through the same martial arts techniques used on male enemies” (Gailey 87). This quote shows how females are being looked upon as minorities.

5. Evidence sources that work against the author’s thesis:
• “Price (1985) gives a review of earlier social science research on arcade-type video games. Arcade games, of course, present difference in terms of social play process” (Gailey 93).
• “In the fantasy-odyssey games, for instance, there are no active female characters at all” (Gailey 86). On the other hand Gailey presents the idea that “girls were more likely to play fantasy-adventure and spatial relations games than any other genres” (Gailey 88). This is interesting because even though there were no female characters in the games the girls still liked playing them the most. This works against the author’s thesis because it shows that girls can play video games even if there aren’t any females in the game.
• “Other studies suggest social causation for a skewed interest in computers in general and video games in particular (Temple and Lips 215-226).

6. How does this academic article differ from 6A) a traditional game review, and 6B) New Games Journalism?
6A: This academic article focuses on the messages that video games portray and how it affects the people who play them. A traditional game review is mostly focused towards marketing and selling a game. This article shows that games have many different opinions and roles towards gender, class, and cosmos. This article differs a lot from a traditional game review.

6B: Gailey incorporates a personal research observation that uses adults and children as a focal point. This is much different than a traditional game review because of how personal this research becomes by including personal reactions and game plays from the children. A New Games Journalism article incorporates personal reactions, views, and experiments within the research to show how video games relay message.

This article differs from a traditional game review more than a New Games Journalism review because of the information that is provided. Gailey presents a detailed observation analysis about children and video games. This is important because it shows how the article has developed a main goal and is supporting it with proper evidence. This article is similar to a NGJ review because it is a personal observation, includes game techniques based on gender roles, and provides unique information about video games.

Works Cited

Gailey, Christine Ward. “Mediated Messages: Gender, Class, and Cosmos in Home Video Games.” Journal of Popular Culture 27.1 (Summer 1993): 81-97. Academic Search Elite. EBSCO. Seton Hill University, Greensburg, PA. 14 January 2008.

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This page contains a single entry by Derek Tickle published on January 14, 2008 11:06 PM.

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