Thursday, April 8, 2010

Soderman + gender + casual gaming

I found Soderman’s definition of a “casual gamer” extremely interesting and identifiable, particularly his ideas about gender and the stereotypes that surround these forms of entertainment. “Casual” games, developed for the mass consumer, attempt to target potential players “such as non-identifying gamers, women, young children, older players, or individuals who might have played games in the past but who now do not have adequate time or money to commit to more expensive and temporally demanding hardcore games” (5). Personally, this statement rings true. When I was younger, I played more hardcore games, mostly RPGs and real-time strategy games – like The Sims, Civilization, and Myst. But as computer and video games got more complex, more expensive, and more time-consuming, I turned my attention to quick-and-easy casual games. Soderman argues that “the simplicity of the user interface feeds into the possibility that casual games can be experienced in real-life multitasking situations” (23). Casual games, such as Diner Dash, offer uniquely “feminine” pleasures that are attuned to the household chores and family responsibilities of women. Women, stereotypically, are more proficient in managing multiple tasks at once and have the ability to respond efficiently to the ever-changing demands of their family. The narrative and textual structure of casual games mirror this fragmented lifestyle.

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