A study on the changing portrayal of female gender in video games is right up my alley, but this one sets off red flags from the word go. Compaso claims to be a peer-reviewed journal, but the "Introduction and background" section contains some errors that even the most passing familiarity with games (or the most cursory examination of the paper's sources) would reveal.
I'll look at just the first paragraph, sentence by sentence. Since Compaso is an open access journal (for which I am grateful, even if I'm being harsh on the paper), feel free to follow along with me, here.
That's an odd place to begin. If you're going to include simple games like Nim, you might as well include other electromechanical games of the era. I found a patent for an electrical shooting gallery with a lightgun that was filed in 1936, for example.
I won't split hairs, though. You can choose whatever starting point suits you–there's not one right answer. The reason the author chose this particular starting point, I believe, was that her sole source for information on the history of video games was the Video Game History Timeline cited, and it begins there.
I don't know what to say about this one. I can't find any game from that year with that title. I think Kondrat is confusing Spacewar! (released in 1962), one of the earliest computer games, with the Magnavox Odyssey (patented in 1968 and first sold in 1972), the first home game console.
Again, this is just not right. The ESRB was established shortly after the release of Mortal Kombat (though the way I heard it, Night Trap was more responsible for its formation), but the ESRB is not part of the US government (which isn't in the business of rating video games, or movies or anything else, for that matter), and games had been rated prior to its establishment, though not in so organized a fashion.
Now this is just a whopper. Not only is it incredibly false, missing even hugely popular games like Metroid (and MobyGames lists at least 400 other, earlier games with female protagonists), it even contradicts the Video Game History Timeline that Kondrat has relied upon.
For 1996, the VGHT says "Lara Croft debuts as the star of Eidos's adventure game Tomb Raider. Players love her, but critics charge that she's an example of sexism in video games." No mention of 'first game with a female protagonist.'
On the other hand, the VGHT's entry for 1980 mentions that "Two years later [than the release of Pac-Man/], /Ms. Pac-Man strikes a blow for gender equality by becoming the best-selling arcade game of all time."
No complaint, Tomb Raider really was popular.
First, the man's name is 'Wright'. Second, this is just repeating part of an entry on the VGHT: "Will Wright's The Sims models real life. It is not the first simulation game . . . but it becomes the best-selling computer game ever and the most popular game with female players."
When I first read this paper's abstract, I'd hoped to be able to write a post reporting on some interesting results, but the sheer density of factual errors in the introduction has quite put me off this paper.
Frankly, my skimming of the rest of the paper has left me shocked that a publication that purports to be a serious, peer-reviewed journal would print it. This paper "was a part of [Kondrat's] graduation project for her undergraduate study in International Communication and Media at the HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht." Formatting or language issues I forgive easily, but the factual errors and lack of clarity and organization is more what I would expect from a high school student's rushed term paper than a paper submitted for publication.
I'd rather build up than tear down, but it's my policy that if I decide to review something, I follow through on negative as well as positive reviews. In the interest of fairness to the journal: it appears, from a brief look, that other articles published in that issue, if not excellent, are of far higher quality. Some, indeed, look quite interesting.
Gender representation in video games is a current sensitive topic in entertainment media. Gender studies in video games look at the difference between the portrayal of female and male characters. Most video games tend to over-represent stereotypes and in general use extensive violence and cruelty (Maietti, 2008). Some video games use wrong, disrespectful and sometimes even violent representations of both genders. This research paper focuses on the current representation of female gender in video games and how they are represented, stereotyped and used as characters in games. Results show that there is a difference between portraying women in the past and present. This research paper is based on previous academic research and results which were achieved with online questionnaire among game players and two interviews with professionals in the field of game design. The results show that there is still negative stereotyping of female gender. However, at the same time, the answers of the respondents show that the target audience of video games desires improvements in presentation of female gender as well as male.