EDGE OF STEAMBOAT

Gaming between the sexes

— Why is it that men have this intense fixation with electronic gaming? Although the Interactive Digital Software Association has determined that 43 percent of computer and video gamers are women, I have yet to find any.

Equality in the universe of gaming among men and women has started with a putter but at least the engine is running. Computer and video game companies are beginning to create games that cater directly to women and girls.

Not many women I know enjoy cutting off heads or shooting down a building (although I know there are women out there like that). So, companies have found ways to entice women into the gaming world with games to decorate homes or empower little girls through physical strength.

I think you could make an empowering game where women could strategically work their way to the most successful spot in a company or fighting off an attacker using self-defense. I was about 9 when I got Nintendo. I mastered Super Mario Brothers, Tetris, Zelda and Donkey Kong before it began to gather dust in the back of a closet. I lost interest because I found nothing femininely connecting that made me stay.

Stephanie Reineke of Springsips and I sat at GEEKSgarage Wednesday morning trying to figure out why men and boys find computer and video games so intriguing.

Electronic gaming has become so interactive now that males seem captivated by the graphics, the action and the distance from reality. GEEKSgarage manager Kip Strean said men love to play games and playing games is a reflection of real life "when they can't think of their own."

Reineke said she thinks it's because men have an innate competitiveness that companies cater to with violence and adventures.

I guess it would be like any woman being fixated with day- or nighttime dramas. Television, also a form of artistic expression and considered protected speech, is much the same as virtual reality games. They take over any sense of reality and create an experience people want to encounter.

Sitting in front of a screen for hours seems a waste of time, lazy and out of touch with reality. However, many people who become enveloped in virtual gaming and computers find intelligence in the mechanics of these evolving machines.

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