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From Barbie to Mortal Kombat: Gender and Computer Games Paperback – 4 Apr 2000

2.9 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 382 pages
  • Publisher: MIT Press; New Ed edition (4 April 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262531682
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262531689
  • Product Dimensions: 18 x 2.3 x 22.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 623,151 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"ÝA¨n imaginative, original, and complex volume that crystallizes feminist dilemmas regarding the origin and persistence of gender roles. . . . Ultimately this book--pluralistic, experiential, and collaborative--inspires us to search for games that give voice to participants' exploratory and even competitive desires while enabling them to build identities based on the emotional nuances of real life."-- Sandra Hackman, "Women's Review of Books"

-- Sandra Hackman, "Women's Review of Books"

" [A]n imaginative, original, and complex volume that crystallizes feminist dilemmas regarding the origin and persistence of gender roles. . . . Ultimately this book--pluralistic, experiential, and collaborative--inspires us to search for games that give voice to participants' exploratory and even competitive desires while enabling them to build identities based on the emotional nuances of real life." -- Sandra Hackman, "Women's Review of Books"

& quot; [A]n imaginative, original, and complex volume that crystallizes feminist dilemmas regarding the origin and persistence of gender roles. . . . Ultimately this book--pluralistic, experiential, and collaborative--inspires us to search for games that give voice to participants' exploratory and even competitive desires while enabling them to build identities based on the emotional nuances of real life.& quot; -- Sandra Hackman, Women's Review of Books

"[A]n imaginative, original, and complex volume that crystallizes feminist dilemmas regarding the origin and persistence of gender roles. . . . Ultimately this book--pluralistic, experiential, and collaborative--inspires us to search for games that give voice to participants' exploratory and even competitive desires while enabling them to build identities based on the emotional nuances of real life."--Sandra Hackman, "Women's Review of Books"

About the Author

Henry Jenkins is Provost's Professor of Communication, Journalism and Cinematic Arts at the Annenberg School for Communication, University of Southern California. He is the coeditor of From Barbie(R) to Mortal Kombat: Gender and Computer Games (MIT Press, 1998).


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2.9 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Before going into the review proper, I will state those downrating this book on the basis of factual innacuracy seem to be looking at an older edition (probably the hardcover), as it does, in fact, correctly identify Mortal Kombat as containing one female character, and Lara Croft's name is spelt correctly. However, even if these facts were still incorrect, to judge the whole book based on two (minor) factual innacuracies is shortsighted.

As for the book itself, it should be noted that it is definitely a product of its time. Around and just before 2000 multimedia CD-roms were very popular, and as such the book's main focus is on them. As that fad has ended the book will seem rather old-fashioned and limited in scope, as there is consequently relatively little discussion of "real" games (and I use this term with a fair degree of self-consciousness). However, it is not blind to its own limitations, openly discussing the argument posited by some that 'Barbie Fashion Designer' and other such titles are not games at all. However, the topics discussed are still pertinent and thought-provoking. Far from coming across as crazed feminist ranting, the book examines all issues from a variety of angles. For examples, the entire last chapter consists of quotes from "Game Grrlz" that provide a very contrasting perspective to all that has been said in the book prior.
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Format: Hardcover
If you have only boys in your family or have never put down money for a computer game, you probably haven't kept up with the brouhaha that has been developing over computer games for girls that has appeared in the last four years.
The focus on computer games for girls became a issue when it was noticed that while boys liked playing computer games and were more comfortable with computers; girls stayed away from these games. The result - girls would be computer illiterate and be unable to compete in the technical job market.
The book is openly feminist, dealing with how girls and women are represented in computer games; bringing in academic research into gender play, and interviewing the women in the game companies who are designing and producing the games. The interviews with the women in the game industry offers outsiders the rare opportunity to hear the opinions of the designers and developers. Some explain how market research determines what they produce, others provide a more personal view of what moves them to design. The word "empowerment" appears repeatedly.
The editors conclude with ideas for game play that gives voice and play space to both girls and boys. The book's inclusive points of view ends with a talk back piece by Game Grrls - women who enjoy playing action games to compete and win - often over men. The book provides a scholarly treatise on girls, computers, and society. Each of the academic chapters are followed by extensive bibliographies. For whose who are interested in the subject it is extremely valuable to have everything in one place.
Genevieve Katz © 1999, Games4Girls
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By A Customer on 23 April 1999
Format: Hardcover
I expected more from this book. The title is misleading, for one. What the contributors offer is a lot of opinonage about games for girls, etc. When they start getting to the meat of the matter, commenting on female characters in games made for males, they drop the ball, and offer wishy-washy "answers" to potentially interesting queries. I knew this book was gonna suck (offical Art Historian's terminology) when I searched the index for Lara Croft references and, upon finding a few, realized that they spelled "Croft" with an "s" EVERY TIME. Do these people even know the games/characters they're talking about? I guess it's up to art historians to pick this topic up, dust it off, and talk about it with respect. This book will make an excellent doorstop.
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Format: Hardcover
What a great idea for a book. It seemed really well thought out. I'm reading chapter one, and enjoying it greatly when BAM it loses me. While talking about Mortal Kombat, the game in the title of the book, it claims the game has no female chracters. So much for doing research ...... Yes, Mortal Kombat has females, even as far back as the first game with Sonja Blade. In fact some narrow-minded people objected to her at the time as she could kill or be killed. Street Fighter II which started this whole genre of games had a female player character and almost every game after it has had one or more. Recently released "Dead or Alive" features three females on the cover -- just the girls, none of the guys. Next time, check the facts. Anyway, I didn't read any more, maybe that was the only mistake in the book, but I don't know. Too bad, it's really good idea for a book.
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