We’ve all heard it before,
“Video Games are for boys!”
But that hasn’t always been true!
I grew up at the start of the “Video Game Revolution” and I remember owning the Atari 2600.
Back then, this “Revolutionary” system didn’t have any sort of gender association with it at all.
Boy and Girls were free to play any game they wished from Pong to Pitfall and no one gave them a hard time for it.
Well except those parents who believed video games rot your mind!
The Mid-80’s nearly KILLED video gaming all together!
As I mentioned before, My family had an Atari 2600 back in the early 80’s and even though I was only 5 at the time, I loved it!
Sure, the graphics “SUCKED”, but we didn’t know any better.
Before that, the best you had was a dot and two lines for digital entertainment! (Pong)
I wasn’t the only one who loved video games back then. In fact, gaming companies saw the rising demand of new games and went full force to supply the masses. Doing a wonderfully half-assed job at it too!
By the mid 80’s, game companies where pushing out new games as fast as they could produce the cartridges to store them on.
Unfortunately, someone forgot to tell them they should be “Good Games” as well.
Google E.T. the Extraterrestrial if you really want to know just how low things got before the gaming market nearly imploded in on itself.
By 1985, the gaming market had nearly been crushed to death under the weight of all those terrible games.
Fortunately, a new Game System was about to debut that would give Video Gaming what it needed to supercharge it’s way into nearly every home in america!
The Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)
Although the NES was first marketed to Japan in 1983, it didn’t hit North American shelves until 1985 and by 1987, most of Europe could own the system as well.
Seeing the “Current” state of the video gaming industry, Nintendo devised a new strategy to sell their system.
Up until this point, Video Game systems like Atari and Pong where sold exclusively in the Electronics Department and relied heavily on older consumers to buy them.
Nintendo’s genius plan? Lets market this new system to kids!
The Toy Isle
For as long as I can remember there have been Toys for Boys and Toys for Girls with very few select toys marketed to bridge the gap.
When Nintendo decided to market the NES to kids, they had to decide on which side of the Isle they where going to place them.
You guessed it… Nintendo quickly became the HOTTEST Toy for Boys!
And they went “All In” too.
Every T.V. spot, every magazine ad, every piece of gaming merchandise was pushed heavily with one message.
Video Games are for Boys!
Not only did this strategy work, but it worked REALLY REALLY WELL!
As new games and consoles came out, the motto stuck.
Even as video games made their way back to the electronics department, it held tight to the BOYS ONLY mentality and for decades, “Girl Gamers” were just… Weird!
The industry is Changing!
Today, video games are marketed not just toward boys, but for the whole family.
With the wildly successful rise of Mobile Gaming, the market for Female Gamers is bigger than ever and the big names are taking notice.
More and more games are featuring Strong Women as their leads.
Sorry Lara Croft, but you were a terrible role model for girls in the 90’s.
Today we have female leads that don’t have to show off their “Goods” such as…
- *NEW* Lara Croft (Rise of the Tomb Raider)
- Chell (Portal Series)
- Faith Connors (Mirror’s Edge)
- Cortana (Halo)
- Ellie (The Last of Us)
- Aloy (Horizon Zero Dawn)
- and many more…
It’s no longer weird when a girl admits to playing a video game anymore. In fact, it’s now strange to even hear…
Video Games are for Boy!
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