9 November 2008





Part 8: Until The Fat Lady Sings

The modern gaming PC is an amazing piece of hardware. With much more raw power than any console, capable of far superior graphics and glorious surround sound, equipped with near-infinite versatility of control and able to access data with lightning speed from massive hard drives, the PC is the greatest games machine in the world. Or at least, it would be if it wasn’t for YOU.

I don’t know the precise details of TPCG’s readership demographic, viewers. That it’ll be around 98% male, though, is pretty much a given. That’s been the way of games magazines ever since the 8-bit age gave way to the 16-bit era and left most of the market for more abstract, “pure” videogames behind in a quest for ever more graphic violence and realism, of a sort that appealed almost exclusively – and I use the word “exclusive” there in its proper sense, derived from “exclude” – to boys. Computer formats (as opposed to consoles) suffered from the phenomenon particularly strongly, due to the extra layer of tech-nerditude, and the PC market is the biggest sausage-fest of all, existing in an especially macho environment of constant under-the-bonnet fiddling and endless high-spec willy-waving.

I realise that the less-intelligent proportion of the readership has already stopped reading at this point to run off and write a badly-spelled and randomly-punctuated letter of complaint, but I don’t raise this issue in order to trot out the hackneyed old line about how it’s sad that the PC gaming market doesn’t encourage female gamers. I don’t give a crap if the PC gaming market encourages female gamers or not. It’s a plain fact of life that there are things boys enjoy more than girls and vice versa, and there’s nothing wrong with that – quite the reverse, in fact. Vive la difference and all that.

(It’s ultimately a genetic thing. Girls basically want to interact positively with other people, whereas boys want to fight with them. This is why MOST – not all - nurses are female and MOST – not all – doctors and surgeons are male. Nursing is a nurturing, empathising sort of job, whereas being a doctor is essentially combative – you against the illness, immediate objectives, male problem-solving rather than female empathy.)

So what IS my point? Well, the problem about all-male communities is that without any balancing influence, they have a tendency to de-evolve back to their most base, grunting, primitive state with alarming speed. And so it is that when women DO appear in mags like TPCG, it’s in juvenile, stereotypical depictions that would embarrass the average 14-year-old heavy metal fan. Oh look, an implausibly pretty and immaculately-manicured Amazonian jungle babe with enormous tits. And what have we here? I do believe it’s some bikini-clad gangster arm candy, with enormous tits. For a bit of variation, here’s a tough space marine wielding a massive laser bazooka – but get this! We’re so radical and alternative, SHE’S A GIRL! With tight-fitting reinforced body armour everywhere, except – for some reason – her enormous tits. (And obviously, all these women have waists so tiny that they’d actually snap their spines the first time they bent over to pick up their sword or their space pistol, under the weight of their enormous tits.)

But it doesn’t matter that these pathetic adolescent-wet-dream figures put women off from being interested in PC gaming (and thereby making the average game convention smell about 8000% better). Women won’t be interested in mainstream PC gaming for as long as either you or I are alive. What matters is that until the day that an AAA game stars an ugly fat chick, or at least a gorgeous medieval-style warrior who doesn’t meticulously shave her armpits every morning before going out to slaughter the minions of the evil dark lord N’Guulthkzrak, those of us whose attitudes to the opposite sex didn’t stop developing with the Director’s Cut of American Pie will be tainted by the stale smell of PC gamers’ shame. And none of YOU will ever get laid.

“Stuart Campbell” holds the world record for death threats received by a videogaming journalist, at over 25. So what makes you imagine that he gives a chimp’s chuff what YOU think? He’ll probably also annoy you when he writes for our fine sister magazines Retro Gamer and GamesTM.

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