April Fool’s Day has come and gone, accompanied as usual by numerous spoofs, fake news releases and general confusion. Massively summed up some of the better pranks within the MMO industry, in case you missed them, and there were many more.
The best of the April Fool’s jokes I saw were both amusing and thought-provoking. Two excellent spoofs from The Border House and a fake ad from Blizzard’s Battle.net were both witty and also highlighted some of the topical issues relating to women in gaming that have come up this year.
How to Get Your Boyfriend to Play Video Games with You is a tongue-in-cheek role reversal of many similar articles on how to get your girlfriend to play video games. While most are well-intentioned, most are also patronizing and overly simplistic. Either way, it’s quite entertaining to imagine what this role reversal would be like, as the April Fool’s article outlines.
A Matter of Resources is another wry post from the Border House, poking fun at the recent article from Kotaku in which the producer of Bad Company 2 explains why “there’s no girls in our game”: it takes too much effort to build new skeletons and new animations. In other words, not only were female characters not allowed to fight wars, they were in fact the first casualty. I find these resource arguments to be highly dubious at best: not only would many women consider it preferable to use male walk and run animations instead of the butt-wiggling supermodel slink that too many games seem to use for female characters, but the notable omission of female military figures still occurs even in games that already do have female models (such as Champions Online). So, the April Fool’s post was both extremely funny, and also a great way of turning the argument on its head to point out how ridiculous are both the logic and the claims of resource prioritization.
Finally, hats off to Blizzard for their Battle.net Matchmaking ad. The actual Battle.net matchmaking system aims to match up players into well-balanced groups for experiencing game content; the April Fool’s version suggests that the matchmaking features of Battle.net actually extend much further. This is not only funny, but the frustrated women in the video complaining that they can’t meet men who can pwn noobs up to their standards form a very positive contrast to the unfortunate reality of GameCrush, a recently launched site that offers to match male gamers up with female “playdates” for gaming and dirty talk.
Did you spot any other April Fool’s jokes that were relevant to women in gaming? Please share the links if so!
By Emily “Domino” Taylor