Monday, November 26, 2012

Gaining Control - Postnoon Hyd Article

Postnoon Hyderabad had contacted  for an article on women in gaming.
Click here for the article.

Posting the same here:

Looking at the big push toward mobile gaming and casual gaming and what’s happening with the Nintendo Wii, women are slowly entering the gaming industry. Their numbers are few but there is hope for change.

Female representation in the creative industries has always been a topic for debate. Take the gaming industry in India for example. It has predominantly been a male-dominated one. So much so that hearing of a women gamer or developer in India has been few and far in between. We spoke with two women from the industry to know of where women stand in this field.
Purnima Iyer, game designer at Knowledge Adventure India (Bangalore) and Co-founder at Pinaka Interactive (Navi Mumbai) gives us an insight. On the industry she says it is a fledgling one. “It is great, still growing and has a long way to go. Innovation and quality is what we need to focus on. We should help each other out, share knowledge, promote and grow together,” she says. Numerous questions come to mind talking about women in the gaming industry, ‘Is the profession suitable for women? What are the timings? What about male co-workers, family etc…?’
Answering all these questions, Moumita Paul, a game designer at Lakshya, Pune says, “This profession has a lot of potential for women. There is a whole lot of different things to be done and not just gaming. There is testing, designing, production and developing and women can be a part of all this. Women have a flair for the creative, however, production has its limitations in terms of family because of the long hours.” Purnima adds that most companies do have flexible hours and work-from-home options.
For Moumita, getting into the industry was met with opposition from her mum who was concerned for her. Her mother stopped speaking with her, but Moumita persisted and finally won her over.
On the behaviour of men in this industry, Purnima says, “It can be quite subjective, some do some don’t.” But Moumita feels otherwise, “At least at work, men are very welcoming and supportive as there are very few enterprising women. In fact, most of them are surprised that a woman could be part of the programming or developing.”
But the bone of the contention still remains the portrayal of women. Moumita who is also an avid gamer, agrees that mostly women are given sexy avatars in games.
“Women are mainly designed to be hot and sexy as that’s how the men prefer them to be.” Purnima adds, “There are games which portray women as the damsel in distress who has to be rescued by the male protagonist; but then that is the case with most fairy tales too! There are games where the women are portrayed as equals. Whether they are the protagonist (Lara Croft, Bayonetta) or feature as a supporting protagonist (Half-Life 2). Many RPG (Role-playing Game) and RTS (Real-Time-Strategy) games give you the option of creating a woman character and building woman units respectively. Then of course is the question of objectifying and sexualising the women. To that, we have games like Portal where the playable character Chell, was not sexualised.”
But what both women seem to agree is on the lack of awareness and false concepts regarding a career in this field. At the NASSCOM Game Developer’s Conference this year in Pune the Women in games panel, announced the formation of a Women in Games Special Interest Group, which will help attract more women to the field. Moumita advises that all the women out there who are looking for a chance should do their research first and then enter this field. Half-baked notions can be dangerous.