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Dr. Kimberly Voll on Challenging Gender Stereotypes in Gaming

Jun 17, 2013 By Crissy Campbell

Dr. Kimberly Voll, CDM faculty, avid gamer and game jam organizer, has an article on Corona Labs, about her upcoming game jam iamagamer

Recently, Gamasutra quoted the video-game industry saying, "you can't have a female character in games." In response to this, iamagamer is hosting a game jam centered on creating strong, female lead characters in games. 

Voll's article looks at challenging gender stereotypes in video games:

…the industry still believes that we won’t buy their games if they have a female protagonist. And worse still, a small, but venomous side of our community exists, choosing vicious attacks over dialogue for people who might step up to point out unfair trends.

Something is horribly, horribly wrong. And it’s time to change.

The article also confronts Voll’s own gender biases and outlines why Voll herself needs this game jam:  

Why do I need to do this jam, you ask?

Because I always picture Sheppard from Mass Effect as male—I chose him because it felt more normal. Because every time I play a game, I choose the male option. That’s why I need to do this jam…

Because I look at a woman and assume she’s an artist, not a programmer, for no good reason. I assume that’s what people think of me, so I don’t tell people I’m an artist. I say I’m a developer. Both are true, but I’m ashamed to say only one makes me feel worthy. That’s why I need do this jam.

It’s an inspiring read on how we unknowingly contribute to gender stereotyping. Read Kimberly Voll’s full article on Corona labs.

iamagamer is happening July 12-14th at the Centre for Digital Media. Artists, designers, developers and writers are invited to spend 48-hours making games featuring awesome female protaganists. Find out more details here.


iamagamer was a worldwide success! 

Play the games. 

Read Kim Voll's opening remarks.

Read some of the press:

Strong-female protagonist game jam kicks off in Vancouver to fight industry sexism.

Plenty of girl power from video game programmers at weekend-long jam.

Iamagamer organizer Kimberly Voll rallies support for strong female leads in video games.