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From the “Damsel in Distress” to Girls' Games and Beyond: Gender and Children's Gaming

From the “Damsel in Distress” to Girls' Games and Beyond: Gender and Children's Gaming
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Author(s): Alyson E. King (University of Ontario, Canada) and Aziz Douai (University of Ontario, Canada)
Copyright: 2015
Pages: 17
Source title: Gamification: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools, and Applications
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Information Resources Management Association (USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8200-9.ch102

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Abstract

In this chapter, the authors critically assess the gendered nature of the products developed by the computer gaming industry. The chapter takes a historiographical approach to examining the nature of children's video and computer games as a type of toy that immerses children into current gender stereotypes even as they hold the potential for social change. New ways of bridging the gap between stereotypes and change is explored through a virtual world for children. In addition to an introductory section, the chapter is organized in three main sections: First, the authors place existing computer and video games into a broad and historical context. Second, the chapter takes into consideration feminist critiques of video games for adults. Third, the authors analyze the case of WebkinzWorld, a toy-based social-networking portal offering less gendered video game environments for kids. The authors argue that this mixed method analysis is important not only for computer game designers and marketers who aim to appeal to broad demographics, but also for educators, parents, and caregivers who need to understand the underlying or hidden messages of games for children.

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