Name: Maylee
Location: Central USA
Posts: 351
As with every year this years Quakecon was one for the history books of gaming. From the unprecedented tournament format to the splurge of announcements, and even a preview of the next game being release only a few months away. With so many treats one would be hard pressed to find much negative in the con, unless you are a female.

It was something that I, having been to 7 previous Quakecons, was even shocked at. Everyone understands the draw of booth babes. Sure sex sells they keep preaching to us. But one has to wonder what exactly is the draw of the Quakecon girls? Four lovely ladies dressed to the skin in as little fabric as possible following around Todd Hollenshead of id Software handing out prizes and just there for eye candy. One has to wonder what they are trying to sell here. The adoring fans that attend Quakecon would be happily jumping for those prizes if Harley Davidson riders (no offense you guys rock) were holding them; this was simply a case of female exploitation.

When the crowd gathers for a Quick Draw event everyone anxiously waits to hear if their name is read to come up on stage for the chance to win $1000, the attention is immediate and no one really has to do much more to grab that crowd’s attendance more than the purse at stake. What’s more is as the girls are on stage, the thick crowd waving their hands for more swag to be tossed out, we hear things from the stage like, “Which do you prefer blondes or brunettes?” yelled to the crowd. This was the point my mouth dropped open. “Did he just say that?” I remember asking SyncError. Then to make it worse, those who cheered got t-shirts thrown to them in reward for choosing the hair color of women they prefer. I looked around to really survey the area at this point. I see my shock was not alone. The women of the audience had taken notice of the jeering and they all of a sudden felt uncomfortable. Most of us are used to the setup - the model type women walking in the convention, prancing up on stage and basically everywhere in the limelight; except playing games. It is something we have grown used to as we have been told it is needed and really it will stay as long as the numbers of women attending stays low. But to a commentator taking it so far as to actually have sexual connotation and preference yelled out into the crowd that was something I had never really experienced myself until that moment. I was not alone in my emotion either, as several women walked away in disgust, several more just stood in shock, many not really sure what to do and so it continued through out the entire convention this way.

Not only handing out swag to attendees, these ladies are responsible for handing the prize checks over to the tournament winners. So after each tournament is concluded the winners are escorted back up on stage to get pictures with the Quakecon Girls and their prize money. Yet in 2005 when the Miss Quakecon all female tournament concluded, the girls that won did not have the Quakecon Girls, whom were present at the event, to take them onto the stage but instead they had some of the id Software developers up there. So someone understands that the Quakecon Girls make female gamers feel uncomfortable.

One of the ongoing issues for the female gaming community has been representation, from the Quakecon Girls, to booth babes, in game avatars, and sometimes-even lack of female representation. Lately the Female Players Alliance has been contacting various game developers to tackle the last two items. While the latest games from id Software have lacked any female presence at all, Marty Stratton of id Software stated that we were preaching to the choir about our need for female representation in games. I would like to know what song book they use since Quake 4 and Enemy Territory Quake Wars both licensed by id Software came to ship with no female models what so ever. Sure in the past id seems to have been a strong supporter of female models, Quake 2 and Quake 3 had female models to choose from, but it seems ever since they lost Anna Kang to her own company they have lost face with the female community. Or perhaps it was Paul Steed’s love of modeling females that was lost, either way we lost female representation. Each game comes with lame excuses of memory issues for female assets, even though mod teams were able to implement them with no issues whatsoever and no access to the engine code (Delta CTF, thank you very much!). I had to hope that Enemy Territory had better excuses, but sad to say they did not. When asked in a conference at Quakecon 2007 why female models did not make it into the game, Paul Wedgwood responded that at first they would have had an advantage, because they would have had to make them skinny. Then after they change the hit scan back to boxes, they just forgot to add the female models back in.

Should we remind these companies that sex sells? Where are the female models so your game can sell as well as those free t-shirts?

Take into account the whole Quakecon Girls scenario, mix it up with the lack of female representation in their latest games and you have a choir that seems to be singing, but not our tune. Let us hope that in the future id Software can be an example to other companies in a positive light for female gamers as they once were.

Source: Female Players Alliance