Ashamed to be a Gamer

I was in the local bookstore today looking through the magazines and for the first time in a long while I became ashamed to be a gamer. While looking through the rack of gaming mags I saw the following:

Girls of Gaming Magazines


Now I had heard about the things with videogame characters appearing in Playboy, but a whole magazine devoted to videogame women? That’s just sad. And a gaming mag using a woman to sell their mag? Is the game mag industry that competitive? So is there anyone out there willing to admit they bought either of these without a sense of shame or irony?

22 Comments Showing 50 most recent
  1. nowak

    …and yet, you still bought them? Their marketing is more to the point than you seem to realize.

  2. bryan-mitchell young

    It is research! I swear!

    Seriously, though, it is. I don’t understand why anyone would want to look at pixlated women (but they do have features on 2 whole real women!!!) and I bought the other one because of the cover story on M Rated gaming. Honestly, I find the real woman on the cover to be really trashy and not appealing at all.

  3. FireAndRain

    If you’re just expressing outrage over gaming mags using women to make a sale. . . you’re several years behind the times. Try looking up “PCAccelerator” sometime, that now defunct cross between PCgamer and Maxim was known for pushing the limits and exploiting women to make their sales. And they went out of business four years ago!

  4. Bryan-Mitchell Young

    I”m familiar with pcxl. I had hoped that its failure had signaled the death of that approach.

    I was, however, and still continue to be, much more creeped out by the Play magazine Girls of Gaming. To make matters even worse, now that I’ve looked at it, I notice that this is the second annual Girls of Gaming issue! There is even a pull-out poster of some character. I just don’t get it.

  5. Brian

    Wow, sex sells, get the front page editor of every newspaper in the country. Advice: emerge out of the university cave and, after you blink the harsh light of reality away, spend some time amongst people who aren’t career students (worse, career students who think being a soc student is “normal”).

    Who cares whether teenage boys or smelly, aging tech support drones like to look at naked video game characters or not? You sound like a prude and a bore. Besides that, the opposite of being ashamed to be a gamer sounds kind of ridiculous, if you think about it.

    And what is with the hyphenated first name? Is that a joke?

  6. Monster

    It’s a shame to look at created visions of women? Tell that to the classical artists. It’s not like this is hardcore porn. It’s an artistic representation of the female form.

    Let me guess… you don’t have a lot of experience with real women, let alone fake ones. Am I close?

  7. bryan-mitchell young

    As far as the hyphenated first name, you would have to ask my parents about that. They named me that, not me.

    I don’t think I was trying to imply that it was “wrong” but that I don’t understand the appeal. If I want to look at nekked women, I can look at real naked women. I think there is a big difference between looking at art, that is created for art’s sake, and looking at what, for all intents and purposes is a digital version of a swimsuit issue. I don’t think there is anything wrong with a swimsuit issue, but I don’t understand why someone would choose to look at women that don’t exist rather than pictures of real women.

    And Monster, Should I take advice from someone who lists an email “”? Sounds like you really know how to treat a lady.

  8. Burcu

    Well Brian, naked women and videogames do cater to similar audiences. I’m surprised that you haven’t noticed this. Let’s set aside the fact that “sex always sells,” but look into videogame audience. I mean this in the most kind way, but the words “geek,” “dork” come to mind. Not that there’s anything wrong with either categorization. I take prinde in my inner Trekkiness. But we tend to associate boys who stay home to play games and not go bar hopping to socialize with women. Consequently, seeing naked women, especially in the videogame context, probably is a much needed turn on strategy. In addition, the fact that these women are pixalated twice removes it from reality. This is not “porno” so-to-speak. It is an obvious fictional image. Nothing wrong with that. I suspect this post is gonna frustrate some of your readers, but oh well…

  9. meredithea

    I have two comments:
    1) Just because something is common (ie, “sex sells”) doesn’t make any more right or less creepy.
    2) Bercu implied that, by pixilating the naked women, it’s even less intimidating to (geeky) men. I don’t think we need to be making it any safer to objectify women.
    Bonus comment — way to make fun of Bryan’s name. Good rhetorical strategy, that. Now we *know* you’re smart.

  10. Brian

    Oh, it’s so much more impressive to speak blithely of “objectifying women” and similar tedious drivel that no one ever hears outside university, typically spoken by a 22 year old harpy with major personality issues. Guess what, you are in for a major shock when you emerge into the real world, because: NO ONE ELSE CARES. Men and women are fine with this stuff or regard it as too silly to worry about. It’s called perspective, go rent some.

  11. Bryan-Mitchell Young

    So because no one cares, that makes it ok?

    Is starting a flamewar on a blog an example of the perspective I should rent?

    Why do you seem to care so much? All I want to know is why people buy such things.

  12. I Hate Hypocrites

    “Who cares whether teenage boys or smelly, aging tech support drones like to look at naked video game characters or not? You sound like a prude and a bore.”

    So he’s a prude because he doesn’t get turned on by a videogame character? And I bet you’re SO interesting, getting off to images created in a computer right before Star Trek comes on.

    It makes me ashamed, not because it “objectifies women” but because the more men buy these games, the more companies will crank out shitty games that sell well because they show women in skimpy clothing.

  13. meredith

    Who is the 22 year-old harpy, sir? I am neither 22 nor a harpy. Facts and reality are both good tools you should perhaps look into obtaining. Please also remember to take your medication on schedule.

  14. Brian


    You’re a harpy. Who cares how old you are? In case you’re too dumb to tell, it was a quip intended to disparage, not a demographic citation. Does everything bounce off that concrete skull of yours? (Note to earnest, humorless fools: I don’t really think her skull is made of concrete, just something near to it.)


    Prudes generally go around expressing how upset they are by what someone else finds a turn-on. Bores not only go on about it, they strenuously insist they aren’t really prudes. You sound like you probably belong to both categories as well. Good luck with that.

  15. Bryan-Mitchell Young

    So what are people that continue to come back to someone’s web site, call strangers names and refuse to answer the question of why they care in the first place?

    What is someone who seems so very very bothered by someone not liking something?

    What do you call a creature that lives under a bridge and charges people to cross it?

    I’m starting to think that all three of those questions have the same answer.

    You constantly call people prudes and bores. What has anyone here said that could be construded as prudish or borish? Never did I say that these magazines were wrong. I said they made me sad and I didn’t understand them. Obviously, you seem to find something in them or else you would not continue to post comments. So what is it? That is all I have asked of you.

  16. meredith

    While I’d love to engage in a debate about my boring prudishness, (I happen to think I’m pretty sexy and fun. I realize this is a subjective stance.) let’s instead examine why you need to be so pointlessly mean. Why, in the process of disagreeing with someone, must you attack them personally? Granted, tv talk shows do this all the time, and it’s fun to watch. It is, however, a sloppy way to argue. All it does is a) hurt feelings or b) make people instantly discount you. I would think that a better way to go would be to state your reasonings and give evidence for your position. Then, even if we do not agree in the end, we have both been human beings rather than animals.
    I apologize for the remarks implying that you are a stupid person who forgot his medication. Your remarks hit the button that makes me into a twelve year old who’d argue with a stump, but it doesn’t make it right that I said that. If you’d like to have a civil debate on the topic Bryan brought up, I’d be happy to do so. However, I will refuse to acknowledge you again if you continue your childish attacks.

  17. chris

    “Wow, sex sells […] Who cares whether teenage boys or smelly, aging tech support drones like to look at naked video game characters or not?”

    I suspect only a small minority of people, like Brian, are quite happy with games that spend more effort on realistic gravity on boobies than quality game play. I, however, am not.

    Why is the stereo type of “gamers” some pimply faced male who lives in his parent’s basement? Because the industry caters to that audience, forcing the gamer demographic into a vicious circle. Then, the NY Times runs articles questioning why girl gamers aren’t more common. Game publishers are shooting themselves in the foot by catering to only 50% of their potential target audience. News flash! Your average girl isn’t into boobies!

    I saw the magazine to the left at the local EB and thought maybe, just maybe, it would be a legitimate publication for women gamers. Instead, it’s the exact opposite of what girl gamers like myself are interested in (is someone going to make fun of my name because it’s usually given to boys?). It’s like they actively ignore the entire half of the population that actually *has* boobies.

  18. Alice

    Still so many folk seem to think games and gaming are for boys only, or nerds, or hardcore, or geeks. The fact of the matter is, women make up around 40% of the gaming audience globally (ranging from around 29% here in the UK to 69% of online players under 25 in Korea) – generally speaking. And yet, marketeers treat the game-buying audience usually as 100% male.

    You’d think they’d have done their market research properly, it’s not like ELSPA, the ESA and the like aren’t trumpeting these figures from the rooftops. Cheap & lazy, that’s what it is, and they should be hammered for it, I say 🙂

    A. x

  19. gamer

    it looks like one of those casual gamer mags there a nocence to the true gaming world casual gamers ruin it for all god d**m gta and stupid sports games what about the rpgs ,they are the greatist most of them dont even know were games came from

  20. GameLady

    Hi, I have no idea how I stumbled on this site…actually, I was looking for Play Magazine’s website and found this. I’m a chick, I bought the issue, and I think it’s a great tribute to some of the coolest female video game characters of all time. Samus is in there, wearing her trademark suit. Sonya Belmont resides inside as well. The DOA chicks are legendary, and they can’t help it if Tecmo makes them that way. The truth of the matter is that we can’t chide Play for putting up a magazine with art in it. The people you should be creeped out with are the guys and girls (mostly guys) that design these characters.

    Also, on a side note, I thought there were a lot of really cute female characters in there too, like the girl from Jak and also the ladies from Rachet and Clank. On top of that, they had some real-life girls of gaming, doesn’t that count for something?

    I don’t know, I’m just saying. I can see where people would be like, “What is this?” But I can also see where this is something I really liked reading, because it only comes out once a year and it’s a special issue. Kind of like the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, but with pixels. I’m not into boobies, but I’ll buy the Swimsuit edition because it’s still art to me.

    Lastly, if anyone actually reads the normal issues of Play, you’d see that the writers are quite old-school, and don’t bow to the pressures of advertisers to give a good review. If the game sucks, they say so. Plus they really respect older, cherished games.

    Just my two cents. Feel free to discuss the issue with me, I’m always open to a friendly chat. 🙂

  21. Dizzy

    This is a little late of a response, but you do have the right to believe what is wrong or right.
    However, I think being ashamed doesn’t quite specify your feelings. I just bought the Girls of Gaming Mag, and I think it’s a good relief of the basic mag with B. Spears, Jessica Simpson, etc. on the cover trying to implant the image of beauty really is. On another point, it is art and someone looks at to enjoy it I give alot of credit to the artist. Later days.

  22. maridoll

    I can’t speak for the “Gamestar” mag, but I’m a big fan of Play Magazine’s GOG issue! There are so many awesome videogame girls out there, and it’s great to see a magazine that highlights them. Also, in reading the mag I came across several videgame girls that I had never heard of before, and the artwork and bios got me all interested to track down the games they are in. If you want to see some of the more awesome artwork in this mag check out They did most of the girls in the ‘Retro’ section.