Published on March 25th, 2016 | by James Wright
Game Changers Book Review
Game Changers is written by Leena Van Deventer and Dan Golding which focuses on the changing landscape of gaming in society, particularly that this leisure past time has grown from a niche to being available almost anywhere and everywhere for everyone thanks to smartphones and portable gaming. Furthermore and since the first home consoles were released like the Atari 2600, gaming did become a family orientated affair, however as this medium progressed, it did draw males into this interactive world which of course brought the many stereotypes that plagued gamers for years. Even Microsoft recently came under the spotlight just a few months ago where they had scantily dressed women dancing at one of their gaming events which still proves that this medium has not quite grown up.
However as the medium progressed and this multi-billion dollar industry expanded, gaming became readily available to almost everyone that also challenged this stereotype and made it more accessible to female gamers. Even though the industry had more females, games continued to be catered for the male market, particularly with its overtly sexualised characters such as the original Lara Croft and more recently Bayonetta. This book also focuses on the infamous “Gamergate” incident that saw two women, Zoë Quinn and Anita Sarkeesian targeted by online trolls which led to rape, death and numerous threats against them. Ironically, even the two authors of Game Changers have been targeted due to their stance which is crazy, especially in the year 2016!
As a result, gaming was highlighted as “boys club” and this is where Game Changers addresses the problems in the industry, particularly with the 2014 Gamergate incident that saw Zoë Quinn threatened and abused online for her involvement in the gaming industry. On that note, this was not the first time a female gamer was threatened or abused online but it did highlight a problem, particularly with sexism and misogyny. Nonetheless it is illegal to threaten someone on the internet and in Australia and if broken, the perpetrator can face up to 10 years in jail which may and hopefully make people think about their online “trolling”. The book itself is also split in a variety of interesting chapters on the evolution of gaming, the role of gaming journalists and their theories as to why gaming went off course.
The final chapter of Game Changers touches upon the politics of gaming and nicely wraps up the history of gaming, including the amazing changes of the medium such as VR and how a Melbourne-based company has maximised this technology. The book finishes nicely by noting that video game should be for everyone, without fear which I know that all the staff at Impulse Gamer wholeheartedly agree with. So embrace gaming for what it is, a medium for people from all genders, sexuality, race and socio-economic backgrounds to get together and share the passion for what they enjoy.
In conclusion, Game Changers is a powerful and disturbing look on the gaming industry that really hits the mark of the issues that face this medium. It’s a very well written account, especially as it includes an Australian perspective so kudos to the authors on this thought provoking insight into this popular leisure activity for millions of people around the globe.
Title: Game Changers
Author(s): Leena Van Deventer, Dan Golding
Publisher: Affirm Press
Release Date: March 2016