Networked gaming is the new social media, and it's a boys' club


#26

I’d imagine it doesn’t do them any major harm. Might mean they are somewhat lonely. But there’s always going to a friends house and playing there.


#27

This. I already see the divide among the commenters here just by what games they are listing. Games, consoles or PC, earlier than the late 90’s were geared toward single player environments. You had some peer to peer stuff and lan setups (at least lan parties forced you to actually be social in person), but nothing like the team speak/headset stuff today. Look at FPS games today, they are co-op driven much more so than any focus on the single player aspect - especially the AAA titles. Of course a big part of that is generating a revenue stream, but it’s obvious a lot of people like that aspect of gaming. Personally I don’t care for it, especially the group driven stuff.

Like I said above I spent a lot of time in single player environments. Countless hours were lost flying around killing robots in Descent, cycling laser configurations in Mech Warrior, and exploring worlds in Star Control. I didn’t play those for social interaction, I played those as sort of an escape from reality. Having other people along for the ride only hindered my immersion into the fantasy of what I was playing. Sure they were just games, but damn it, when I was playing Half-Life I was Gordon Freeman carrying my Stanley 24 inch Wonderbar.

Before the internet the social aspect was in person. Arcades, lan parties, two player console co-op…those were all done in person. That’s a lot different than typing on a keyboard or chating on a headset, especially in the development of social skills in teenagers.


#28

Preferably by walking over to their cave with a gift of fresh-killed saber-tooth tiger.


#29

Say it with a smilodon?


#30

Walking is so yesterday…


#31

Guess physical feedback for unwelcome shenanigans has has gone away over the years. But I’d say the amount of feedback has remained, just in a more social and verbal form.


#32

No, you are providing them with the ages-old “excuse” to rebel against authority.

There’s always a reason – and it’s never really the one.


#33

Pedal-power is the new social transit, and it’s a boys club.


#34

Shhhhhhhhhh You don’t want another article to pop up here.


#35

I’m fairly old-school. We still do weekly gaming nights with pencil and paper (You didn’t tell me that I just activated Phase 12!), but have a wide range of friends we’ve met online. This year I sent out Xmas cards to people from all around the world that we know from our MMORPG, and we’ve visited and had online gaming friends visit us. I know that one of our guild members is taking care of his 3 year old daughter after a nasty custody battle, one is prone to migraines and other health problems, one just got engaged, one is in between jobs but doesn’t mind because of the snow, and one is having trouble with subcontractors at his job. Online gaming is very social if you take time to interact pleasantly.

That being said, I tend to turn off zone chat, because it frequently devolves into insults, political and conspiracy claptrap and general stupidity. You don’t need to be female to get annoyed at the verbal griefing.


#36

Frankly, even boingboing comment section is a game. Why? Because there’s a “like” button. More likes you get, the higher your score. So looking down on games with flashier graphics is just silly.


#37


#38


#39

I’m sympathetic to this view and to a certain extent, I do believe that boys will be boys and girls will be girls. You can encourage your kids to get interested in all sorts of things but it doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll take. There’s an interview between Conan O’Brien and Anna Faris where they talked about getting their respective sons interested in traditionally “feminine” stuff. Nope. Didn’t stick. All they wanted was guns, cars, and monster trucks.

But at the same time, it’s been proven that boys’ only hobbies do create boys clubs. Female players receive the lion’s share of abuse in online gaming.

Everyone who plays games online is going to get harassed sooner or later but recognizing that women receive a staggeringly disproportionate amount of that harassment is an important part of getting more women interested in online gaming.


#40

Far Cry Primal?


#41

u[quote=“metsuken, post:39, topic:70847”]
I’m sympathetic to this view and to a certain extent, I do believe that boys will be boys and girls will be girls. You can encourage your kids to get interested in all sorts of things but it doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll take. There’s an interview between Conan O’Brien and Anna Faris where they talked about getting their respective sons interested in traditionally “feminine” stuff. Nope. Didn’t stick. All they wanted was guns, cars, and monster trucks.
[/quote]

Um … culture? “Boys will be boys and Girls will be Girls” is purely a cultural construct.

Jesus, I sound like popo! >.<


Nature vs Nurture
#42

Purely cultural, huh? You don’t say.

I know parents just like Conan O’Brien and Anna Faris who raise their kids in very progressive, forward thinking homes, and they still get the same result: most of the boys end up liking trucks and most of the girls end up liking dolls. The fact of the matter is that you can expose kids to whatever you want but there’s no guarantee that it’ll stick.

My dad is a hardcore Yankees fan that’s been writing his own amateur baseball almanacs since the 80s. All throughout my childhood, he tried to get me into baseball but it never rubbed off on me. Neither did basketball, which all my friends played everyday after school.

However, when I immigrated to the United States with my family at the age of 4, the first toy I owned was an NES. I was completely enamored by it, and no matter how hard my parents tried to wean me off of it, I’ve been a fan of videogames all my life. When I was 8, I saw my first kung fu movie. After that, I begged my father to take me to the market whenever we were in Chinatown so I could finish my collection of Once Upon A Time In China. We moved around a lot but wherever I found myself, I tried to take classes on any martial arts I could find: Tae Kwon Do, kendo, capoeira, boxing, Muay Thai, literally anything being offered in the surrounding area.

My parents didn’t encourage any of these hobbies.

So yes, I definitely think nature is at work with nurture when we talk about hobby preferences. I don’t think boys will be boys and girls will be girls is a purely cultural construct because I was once a kid and I know lots of parents of kids.

Does that mean I believe we’re completely, rigidly hardwired? Of course not. You will always have outliers. I’d absolutely expose my kids to all kinds of media and hobbies regardless of their sex. I’d love to have a daughter that’s into Muay Thai and videogames, but just because I expose her to it doesn’t mean she’ll like it, and that’s totally fine, too.


Nature vs Nurture
#43

I have some sympathy for the idea that there are actual differences between boys and girls, generally speaking, but we way overestimate how much people stick to their inherent gender compared to the influence things like peers and advertising have on kids. My son was really into cars before he went to kindergarten, but he has lung problems and can’t run around as much as the rest of the boys, so he spent more time with the girls. Soon, he was into dolls. Both are fine, but we’re only one of the influences he has and there are different reasons why someone might develop an interest in something. Action figures are dolls too, and the strict gendering of toys seems to be much more about marketing than anything innate. Breaking this down would probably have the added benefit that kids would learn to respect each other’s differences more and might learn something they would enjoy too.

As for network gaming, that’s far too general an area to assign a gender. It’s possible that boys will have a greater attraction to more violent games, but that’s only one kind of network gaming. If that’s a lot of what’s out there, the problem is with the selection. There’s nothing wrong with not playing network games either (I don’t, I have other things I prefer and marketing games to my interests won’t change that), but the fact that women seem to like games in general would suggest that this difference is mainly cultural.


#44

Both toys and games are gendered out the wazoo. This Polygon article is my favourite summary of how it went down.

Unless you stick the combined forces of culture and advertising behind it.


closed #45

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