Gaming for Girls – feminist game history and making your own game
Instructor: Claire Graman
Dates and times: July 19, 20, 21, 22, & 23, 2021, 2:15 p.m.-3:15 p.m.
For ages 13-17
Platform: Computer with Zoom
Supplies/requirements: Writing materials and access to a computer with Zoom.
Video games have taken over our entertainment landscape with billions of fans worldwide. Yet sexism still persists in its production and culture. Gaming for Girls will educate girls on the rich history of women in video game history and teach girls to program their own video game via Scratch, MIT’s educational software.
First of all, we’ll conduct a brief history and overview of the video game industry. We’ll ask students about their favorite video games. We’ll look at the history of computer programming–did you know that Lady Ada Lovelace, daughter of the Romantic poet Lord Byron, wrote what we now understand is the first computer program? As a result, we have the instructions for everything from video games to the most sophisticated flight simulators.
2. Representation of Women in Video Games
How are women and girls represented in video games? Sadly, not that well. For example, the damsel-in-distress and princess-who-needs-rescuing characters are far too common. Therefore, it’s hard to find a video game that represents women as fully realized human beings. We’ll talk about the reasons for that and what female game designers are doing about it.
3. The Women Who Make Video Games
Who are the female programmers of yesterday and today? What are their contributions? We’ll look at how female-made video games compare to games made by men. For example, how does a female-made game treat its characters?
4. Perspective: Critiquing Video Games
We’ll look at feminist analysts like Anita Sarkeesian, reporters, and YouTubers. For example, what was the event that resulted in the word “Gamergate?” Indie games have given women game programmers more creative freedom. Because of this, we have games like “Gone Home.” At the end of the class, we will introduce Scratch, the MIT-developed video-game software. As a result, students will make their own video game in the next class.
Girls make their own game with Scratch.