This weekend at Bocoup Loft, coders, artists, and and gaming aficionados are coming together for one reason: To dream up, design, and playtest a new generation of female videogame protagonists.
“Recently, there has been a lot of talk about the about reluctance in the video game industry to feature female leads and the poor treatment of female characters that are featured,’’ notes the weekend hackathon’s Eventbrite page. “In addition, many females working in the video game industry are faced with sexism on a daily basis. However, we can work together to change this!’’
The hackathon is an offshoot of a Vancouver-based effort, i am a gamer, which aims to spotlight missed opportunities and misconceptions in the gaming industry about what does and does not resonate with an increasingly diverse — and vocal — audience.
But building better female game icons will take more than swapping Zelda for Link or revamping Lara Croft’s figure. It means changing culture, to encourage more complex characterizations that move beyond the medium’s classic tropes and encourages a diversity of playstyles and archetypes.
It also means building a better community. The Bocoup-sponsored event — which a local organizer told me was open to all, even those without any game-design experience — could be a great catalyst for all those goals.