So Sony is once again giving away a $10,000 scholarship to an American student currently enrolled in an undergraduate program relating to video game art, design, animation, production or visual effects through their G.I.R.L. or "Gamers in Real Life" scholarship program. The winning student is also eligible for a 10 week internship position with one of SOE's studios. The best thing though... nowhere does it state that the applicant has to be a female!
I like this. Sony has class in supporting a student who will improve the image of women in games, but is also not sexist in realizing that this could be a man or woman. Part of the semi-finals consists of writing an essay on "how the entrant could improve the image of women within video games and how the entrant's improvements could facilitate the creation of games that more women will play" which I found to be an interesting question.
It seemed that every idea I came up with... well, it would attract just as many men to a game as it would women.
1.) Bigger closets! Yeah, we women do love to change our clothes! You know what... so do men. Look at games like MAG, SOCOM or Oblivion and it seems to me that men like to customize their attire to reflect their own personalities too. They took away the Raven balaclava at one point in the beta testing process for MAG and there was instantly a thread complaining about it... by guys! :)
2.) More realistic looking females. Again, characters like Elena and Zoe in Uncharted 2 or the female Shepherd in Mass Effect 2 seem to be just as popular with men as they are with women!
3) Decent female avatars in online shooter games... well R6:Vegas did this, Uncharted 2's online mode has great female avatars... this too is gradually being done (though more devs need to take note).
4) Cooperative gameplay. Once again, co-op games seem to be currently all the rage with both men and women. I guess it's not a female thing to want to work with others!
The Imagine games apparently sell decently, and they are aimed primarily at younger girls... but please! Their MUST be a better way to have girls take an interest in gaming. I'm personally at a loss... I think a good game is a good game. Some minor tweaks might encourage more women to game, but I honestly think that young kids nowadays are all gamers. There won't be a need to get "girls into gaming" by the time the next generation grows up because they may not realize that girls aren't supposed to like gaming.
Anyway, just a quick blog and a few thoughts.... and for anyone interested in applying, here's some linkage for you! In all honesty, if you're female it's probably helpful in winning the scholarship... but I guess if you have some killer artwork and some good ideas, anyone can win!
LOOK WHO CAME: