Redbrick Gaming and Girl Gamers Society come together to celebrate International Women’s Month under the lens of women focused gaming

An Reflection on Go Girl Games – Amy Crawford

Give Elsa an ultrasound

When learning how to be a woman, the girl gamer must first train in the institution of She must turn her nose up at the more masculine preoccupations – crashing into civilians in sports cars, shooting your way through warzones, and destroying private property as a goat. Instead, the girl gamer will point and click her way through the complexities of everyday life. 

Give Elsa an ultrasound. Walk Barbie through her first date. Get Harley Quinn ready for her wedding. Through these processes, the girl gamer will begin to understand the core tenets of womanhood. She must dress well, be unblemished, cook and clean, attract men, and eventually become the vessel for new life. She is a princess and a servant, all rolled into one! What infinite possibility she sees as she scrolls!

She is not just playing games, she is entering a process of becoming

Sure, she can find a speck of blue or green amongst the pink if she squints, but she is young enough that she doesn’t need to know that. And even when she is older and she wanders into a space where she is both a novelty and a nightmare, she will still be expected to heal her teammates. It will not take long before the girl gamer understands that much more effort is required for her to carve out a space in video gaming that is safe and warm and easy. At least this is easy. So she returns to her makeover.

At last, she is playing games. But, she is not just playing games, she is entering a process of becoming. Wife. Mother. Caregiver. One day she will look back and remember that this was the room that was made for her in the video game space. And that it is no different than anything that existed before it.

Minecraft: Lockdown’s Safe Space – Jess Parker

Picture this: 2020, Shackleton Halls, terrifying flatmates. My first year of university was not to be envied. Cohabitating with an army of silverfish and my flatmate’s week-old sick, one of my two palatable flatmates and I found solace in the comforting realms of everyone’s favourite sandbox: Minecraft.

2020, Shackleton Halls, terrifying flatmates

Myself and my two flatmates who weren’t the worst people that I’d ever met decided to partake in 2020/21’s COVID rent rebate, spending from Christmas until easter at home rather than isolating in halls with my five other flatmates who enjoyed Schöffels a little too much (I’m still upset that they made me know what these are) and spent their spare time setting fire to the sofas. We created a realm, and I found myself existing for most of my waking hours on the phone as we traversed our new virtual space.

The first thing that we did was find a cosy plot and start our little neighbourhood. I was pretty proud of the house I ended up with considering how long it had been since I had last played, and my housemate was pretty happy with her unintentionally Among Us-themed crib. I realise how aggressively the Among Us mansion dates this.

Among Us mansion

We spent time on our realm almost every day of the rent rebate, and it weirdly didn’t feel like I’d really been apart from the two of them for very long at all. I think I would’ve struggled a lot more with the lack of socialisation that was allowed to 2020’s cohort without the safe space that we found on our Minecraft realm.

When first year finally ended, it felt so cathartic burning it down. It helped that the Among Us mansion was mostly Wooden Planks.

Jill Valentine: A Real S.T.A.R – Lucy Corrigan

I always believed video games were a ‘boy thing’

“You want S.T.A.R.S? I’ll give you S.T.A.R.S!” solidified Jill Valentine as my favourite video game character when I was young. Witnessing her finally eliminate the eponymous creature that was hunting her down throughout Resident Evil 3: Nemesis (1999) so she could escape Raccoon City was cathartic, and my first exposure to the physically and psychologically strong female characters which I still adore.

Due to societal gender beliefs, I always believed video games were a ‘boy thing’ with only male protagonists, and sexualised female characters, so, having a female protagonist that was brave, military-trained and more than just fan-service was very enlightening to me when I was young. My appreciation for Jill increased as I got older and explored the franchise more, since she is one of the original protagonists from the 1996 game and has been subjected to many horrific experiences throughout the franchise yet, she always remained resilient and selfless, doing everything in her power to keep her allies safe, even at the near cost of her own life.

Her role as the resilient fighter has inspired

Jill is one of the most iconic female characters in gaming alongside Lara Croft and Samus, and her role as the resilient fighter has inspired a continuous inclusion of female characters within Resident Evil, and a new wave of female characters in gaming. Despite her immense impact on the franchise, Jill has not made any appearances in the recent main Resident Evil games since Resident Evil 5 (2009) in timeline chronology and Resident Evil 3: Remake (2020) as the main protagonist, although she appeared in the 2023 animated movie, Resident Evil: Death Island, alongside the other major protagonists from the original game trilogy. Hopefully, Capcom recognises their neglect of such a phenomenal and iconic character, and I really hope Jill returns in future games as a main protagonist.

Expanding on The Sims – Isabelle Porter

I quickly became enamoured by the game

When I was twelve or thirteen, I went over to my friend’s house and she asked me if I wanted to play The Sims. I was only somewhat familiar with the game, but I agreed and we logged on to her family’s PC in the living room. After waiting ages on the loading screen (The Sims 3 took forever to start up, especially if you had as many expansion packs as she did), my friend showed me her characters and houses, and I quickly became enamoured by the game and all its creative and wacky possibilities. A short time later, I got my own copy of the base game and a few of the expansion packs my friend recommended: Pets, Generations, and Supernatural. She came over to my house one summer day and help me set it everything up on my family’s computer.

I played The Sims 3 off and on

I played The Sims 3 off and on throughout my teens, though I lost the original world I created at some point several years ago. In retrospect, it makes sense that it was the kind of game I was drawn to, since I love writing fiction. While I do not consider myself to be much of a ‘gamer’, The Sims has proven to be a fixed media rabbit hole in my life, which I have dipped in and out of throughout my teens and now early twenties. Though I have switched from The Sims 3 to The Sims 4, I still find the chaos and world-building of the game to be almost as fun as it was when I was younger. Plus, I am much better at building houses now.

Not So Peachy: Princess Peach and Feminism – Halima Ahad

She is seen as a ‘damsel in distress’

Princess Peach from Super Mario Bros. has always been my favourite female character within the gaming sphere. Although she has been stereotypically represented in Super Mario Bros, I have loved the producers flipping the stereotype on its head in the new Super Mario Bros. movie which has recently been released in summer last year. In the game, she is seen as a ‘damsel in distress’ which is typical of many female characters within early 2000s video games. However, in the film, she is seen as a mentor to main protagonist Mario, helping him to be the best that he can be in order to beat the powerful Bowser.

Her key traits aren’t very appealing to me

As a child, I didn’t really notice the harmful stereotypes that her character portrayed but the representation of Princess Peach as a whole is really negative. She is locked away in Bowser’s castle and Mario has to dodge numerous obstacles in order to save her. However, seeing her in a new light in the Super Mario Bros. movie has made me ponder upon this stereotype. Although she is a cute and feminine character, her key traits aren’t very appealing to me looking back on the game now as a young woman.

Overall, I love the character of Princess Peach but in the modern sense in the new Super Mario Bros. movie. Her character in the game isn’t helpful in terms of the representation of women, reflecting the time period in which it was created.

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