[MUD-Dev] DGN: Reasons for play [was: Emergent Behaviorsspawnedfrom...]

Sean Howard squidi at squidi.net
Fri Sep 2 00:49:45 CEST 2005

"Amanda Walker" <amanda at alfar.com> wrote:

> If you pick up a copy of Unreal Tournament, for example,
> everything on the box (or the computer running a demo) screams
> "I'm a guy game."  This doesn't stop women from buying it and
> playing it, of course (it happens to be my favorite FPS), but it
> does communicate to women that they are an incidental market for
> that game.

You are complaining about cultures, not gender. Do all little girls
want ponies? Do most of them? Did you? I won't pretend that gender
or skin color doesn't predispose you for a particular sub-culture,
but when you talk about gender or skin color, you are talking about
something inborn and unchangable.

Take rap culture, for instance. Yes, it is predominantly black guys
with pants hanging from their ass (a fashion style started because
prison clothes are too large), talking in a mish mash of language
which could not even remotely be consider grammatically correct (or
vaguely understandable). However, there's white guys from middle
class suburbia the engages in similar behavior. The idea is that the
white guys are posers - that they are emulating a culture with some
sort of integrity.  Does it matter that a Snoop Dogg cd will equally
appeal to both of them?

I've seen girls play UT. They've got entire subcultures of masculine
females (called Grrl Gamers) that are aggressive, sexual,
competitive, and dominant. Chances are, they are part of the
subculture because they already have those tendencies, but then what
about the girls that share those tendencies but not the tank tops
and body peircings? I can think of several jobs that would benefit
from such behavior, ranging from CEO to prostitute. It's not because
they are girls that they do or don't play UT - it's because they are
member of subculture which is traditionally comfortable with science
fiction, competition, technology, and rewards aggressive behavior.

Strangely, that doesn't describe me, and yet, I am a man. Do I play
UT? I did, but not for typical reasons. I wrote tutorials on how to
write UScript window manipulation and mutator style guides (I'm told
they were quite excellent). UT presented a system that intrigued
me. I couldn't care less what the actual game was like. I'd write
mutators just to see if I could and never play them outside of
testing. I'm comfortable with science fiction, but not technology (I
gave up programming after leaving the game industry and now know
less about computers than probably anyone here) or competition, and
my aggressive behavior is based on competing ideas against ideas (I
love debates), not competing person against person for sport (I hate

> This isn't limited to games, though.  Razor companies market the
> same razors and shaving cream to both men and women, with the only
> different being the color of the plastic and the packaging
> graphics.  And they sell more that way.  Companies that make
> wedding stuff make it in white for American markets, and red for
> Chinese markets.  And they sell more that way.

The reason why there are men's and women's razors is because they
managed to convince some women (not all women, but enough) that a
rubber grip handle makes it easier to hold when shaving legs. Men
don't shave their legs and thus they weren't able to repackage razor
blades for a higher price. However, the Mach 3 razor, with no less
than three razors, leaves a much smoother cut (or so they say - I
can't tell the different).

I lived in Japan and you know what they did for Christmas? Fried
chicken.  I am not kidding. KFC required that you prepurchase a
fried chicken months in advance! I asked a Japanese person why this
was and he looked at me and asked why we didn't. As near as I can
tell, when their Christmas became commercialized after being
introduced post-war, they just didn't know any better and were taken
advantage of by a particularly powerful marketing ploy in the form
of Col. Sanders (he's a bigger cultural icon there than here).

As Citizen Kane says, "People think what I tell them to think". Did
you know that we start potty training after two years due to a study
that was funded by Pamapers? Kind of a conflict of interest isn't
it? Kind of like how Harvard released papers saying second hand
smoke wouldn't kill you in a study that was paid for by major
tobacco companies. My point is, everything that we believe to be
true about ourselves was put there by someone with a vested
interest. Marketing is about selling ice to eskimos - you can't
trust it to be indicative of what people really are or really want.

- Sean Howard
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