Nintendo Attacks Macho Gaming Culture Stereotypes with “Play As You Are”
I know women and girls play video games. You know women and girls play video games. And we know they shouldn’t be marginalized within the gaming community or thought of as outsiders or “non-traditional” gamers in any way.
There’s also the stereotype that girls who do game are somehow weird; just a handful of female hardcore gamer outliers who are more anomaly than rule. “Normal” girls just don’t pick up a game for fun and relaxation!
That’s a stupid, outmoded way of thinking.
Problem: Some people are pretty piggish, and they still operate under that stupid, outmoded way of thinking.
As a video game pioneer and industry ambassador for many, many years, Nintendo is launching the “Play As You Are” campaign, hoping to dispel some myths and let women and girls who may have bought into that crap know that they don’t need to sit on the sidelines and let a stereotype keep them from grabbing a controller.
At GGS, we’re about gaming for all. Nintendo aims to change the mistaken public perception of who/what “gamers” are with the campaign, which starts October 1. Not all women/girls need to be hardcore gamers to enjoy video games; after all, there are “games suited for a wide range of interests and personalities,” right?
Besides, where do hardcore gamers come from? Playing lots of video games and learning just how deep and exciting the experiences available to you really are. Duh. So, it stands to reason that if we’re going to usher in a more diverse and accepting future as this industry continues to evolve and expand to more people than ever before, starting at the base level with a message like this is certainly one way to help WIN THE FUTURE.
It doesn’t hurt that some celebs are on board.
Consumers in the United States will soon see some famous faces talking about their love for the wide array of games and entertainment options available on Nintendo 3DS & 3DS XL hand-held systems. On Oct. 1, Nintendo of America will launch a new campaign called “Play As You Are,” designed to show how all kinds of women and young girls can explore their interests and express their individuality using the portable Nintendo 3DS – whether they consider themselves gamers or not. TV stars Dianna Agron (of Fox’s Glee), Sarah Hyland (of ABC’s Modern Family) and Olympic medal-winning gymnast Gabrielle Douglas are teaming up with Nintendo to showcase how games for Nintendo 3DS provide female players with fun, creative ways to challenge themselves and share what makes them unique.
Each of the three celebrities participating in the “Play As You Are” campaign will show how games for Nintendo 3DS engage their respective interests and personalities:
- Gabrielle Douglas became a household name after winning two gold medals as a member of the U.S. women’s gymnastics team at the 2012 Olympic Games. She will appear in broadcast advertising and go for a different kind of gold in New Super Mario Bros. 2 (launched Aug. 19), a new hand-held adventure that challenges players to collect mountains of gold coins as they discover new levels, new power-ups and fun multiplayer options.
Dianna Agron is not only a music lover like her character on Glee, she is also a dedicated fan, blogger and supporter of visual art. Fittingly, she will be featured in ads for Art Academy: Lessons for Everyone! (Oct. 1). The game lets players of any artistic skill level learn a wide range of painting and drawing techniques that can be applied in real life, from pencils to paints to pastels. She’ll also appear in spots for the puzzle-solving adventure Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask (Oct. 28). Dianna is currently in production on the feature film Malavita, directed by Luc Besson and starring opposite Robert DeNiro and Michelle Pfeiffer.
Sarah Hyland is a budding fashionista with a keen eye for clothing trends. Her role as Haley on TV’s Emmy award-winning Modern Family is a great match for her fashion-forward style off-screen. She’ll be seen in ads for Style Savvy: Trendsetters (Oct. 22), which lets players use thousands of items and accessories to create fabulous looks and manage their own customized clothing boutiques. Hyland also will star in a Nintendo 3DS holiday ad featuring Sparkle Snapshots 3D (Oct. 18), an application that lets users take 2D pictures, decorate them with 3D accents and share them with friends.
“These women are all amazing role models with their own unique tastes and talents,” said Scott Moffitt, Nintendo of America’s executive vice president of Sales & Marketing. “They know firsthand how Nintendo 3DS can keep them entertained and engaged wherever they go. We think young girls and women of all ages will enjoy hearing what they have to say about their favorite games and activities on Nintendo 3DS.”
From puzzle games to role-playing adventures and everything in-between, more than 126 software titles are currently available for Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo 3DS XL, with more downloadable content added to the online Nintendo eShop every week.
In addition to games, consumers can use the system’s built-in 3D camera and applications like Swapnote to connect with friends in creative ways. Nintendo 3DS users can also instantly watch thousands of TV shows and movies on Nintendo 3DS with a Netflix unlimited streaming membership and broadband Internet connection.
Okay, so it seems a bit 3DS-focused. Maybe it’s not the all-encompassing, all-out culture war we’d love to see. But, it’s something, and their fight is our fight.
In an industry where we seem to be getting into very testy debates over sexism and elitism in gaming circles on a weekly basis these days, it’s nice to see Nintendo focusing on expanding the audience and, hopefully, welcoming new/lapsed gamers into the fold.
It’s important for us, as evolved, modern gamers, to support and nurture our future fellow hardcore gamers, no matter how they’re turned on to gaming (be it through 3DS, iPhone, Wii U, Kinect, etc.). If 3DS is the gateway drug, so be it! The more people of any gender or background who jump into gaming, the stronger and more diverse the industry we love becomes. And that’s a very good thing!
Let’s see if Nintendo’s “Play As You Are” message resonates with gamers and non-gamers when the campaign launches October 1.