Beyond Barbie and Mortal Kombat: new perspectives on gender and gaming

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MIT Press, 2008 - Computers - 371 pages
4 Reviews
Ten years after the groundbreaking From Barbie to Mortal Kombat highlighted the ways gender stereotyping and related social and economic issues permeate digital game play, the number of women and girl gamers has risen considerably. Despite this, gender disparities remain in gaming. Women may be warriors in World of Warcraft, but they are also scantily clad "booth babes" whose sex appeal is used to promote games at trade shows. Player-generated content has revolutionized gaming, but few games marketed to girls allow "modding" (game modifications made by players). Gender equity, the contributors to Beyond Barbie and Mortal Kombat argue, requires more than increasing the overall numbers of female players.

Beyond Barbie and Mortal Kombat brings together new media theorists, game designers, educators, psychologists, and industry professionals, including some of the contributors to the earlier volume, to look at how gender intersects with the broader contexts of digital games today: gaming, game industry and design, and serious games. The contributors discuss the rise of massively multiplayer online games (MMOs) and the experience of girl and women players in gaming communities; the still male-dominated gaming industry and the need for different perspectives in game design; and gender concerns related to emerging serious games (games meant not only to entertain but also to educate, persuade, or change behavior). In today's game-packed digital landscape, there is an even greater need for games that offer motivating, challenging, and enriching contexts for play to a more diverse population of players.

Contributors: Cornelia Brunner, Shannon Campe, Justine Cassell, Mia Consalvo, Jill Denner, Mary Flanagan, Janine Fron, Tracy Fullerton, Elisabeth Hayes, Carrie Heeter, Kristin Hughes, Mizuko Ito, Henry Jenkins, Yasmin B. Kafai, Caitlin Kelleher, Brenda Laurel, Nicole Lazzaro, Holin Lin, Jacki Morie, Helen Nissenbaum, Celia Pearce, Caroline Pelletier, Jennifer Y. Sun, T. L. Taylor, Brian Winn, Nick Yee.

Interviews with: Nichol Bradford, Brenda Braithwaite, Megan Gaiser, Sheri Graner Ray, Morgan Romine.

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Review: Beyond Barbie and Mortal Kombat: New Perspectives on Gender and Gaming

User Review  - Shannon - Goodreads

I liked this book for the overall history of girl gaming and for its coverage of what makes a successful game for girls. I wasn't entirely interested in the section of women in the game development field, but it was still interesting to skim. Read full review

Review: Beyond Barbie and Mortal Kombat: New Perspectives on Gender and Gaming

User Review  - Lani - Goodreads

A 10 year update to From Barbie to Mortal Kombat, and basically a "where are we now" assessment of women in gaming. Many of the same contributors have new research, and other contributers frequently ... Read full review

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About the author (2008)

Yasmin B. Kafai is a Professor of Learning Sciences at the Graduate School of Education at University of Pennsylvania. Her research has focused on children's learning as players and designers of educational software, video games, and virtual worlds. She has published Minds in Play (1995) and edited Constructionism in Practice (with Mitchel Resnick, 1996). She lives, plays, and works in Philadelphia.

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