Saturday, January 30, 2010

Gender Construction in Games

And now, because this blog needs slightly less serious stuff to talk about, something I noticed recently.  In my copious spare time I like to play strategy games, I was playing Birth of the Federation a little while ago, and then moved on to Sword of the Stars.  I could talk alot about these games in the game sense, but what caught my eye, or more properly my ear, was the voices.

Take BOTF, for example. Playing as the Federation, you'll find that science vessels and destroyers are voiced by women, while larger, more deadly vessels tend to be voiced by men. (when I say voiced, I mean the voice, presumably of the commander of said vessel, that acknowledges an order you give it)  By the same token, in SotS, you'll find Repair ships, when given an order to repair a fleet, speaking in a female voice telling the rest of the fleet to "be more careful out there", while other command are acknowledged by male voices, such as ordering your fleet to move "engines to power, aye!" and so on.

It's a miniature microcosm of how gender thinking informs what voices we expect to hear in certain contexts, really.

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