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Girls-Games-Japan: Why it is different to be a female gamer in Japan and how we can make a change in the West.
Tuesday, March 13, 2007 @ 5:00 pm EDT
Women’s culture has existed for centuries in Japan. Today, it extensively shapes Japan’s popular culture – even its game industry. Gender-blending, androgyny and the challenging of gender roles lie at the core of specific game genres produced by and for females in Japan. Whereas in the West most professional attempts to address a larger number of female gamers and to engage a greater female workforce in the game industry have failed, Avaloop – an independent game development studio in Austria – is about to change this profoundly. By taking the global de-disneyfication into account and employing female creative leads, its game Papermint has not only already gained a large fanbase of non-traditional gamers but even manages to blend games with the notion of bourgeois “high culture”. Papermint’s success is based on its practical realisation of Barbara’s research on Japanese gaming and girl culture, as well as the game’s wholly original artistic concept created by a diverse team.
About the Speaker
Dr. Barbara Lippe is the lead artist at the Vienna-based game development studio Avaloop Ltd, currently working on Austria's first virtual world. Barbara previously worked as a character artist at the Tokyo-based design company FuriFuri Co. Her unique characters were published in the character design encyclopedia Pictoplasma by Die Gestalten Verlag. Her art has been exhibited in London, Damascus, Budapest, Seoul, Singapore and San Francisco. She was a juror for the Golden Nica Award of the Ars Electronica Festival in 2002 and a columnist for CONSOL.AT, the leading Austrian video game magazine. Recently, she has been elected into the organising committee of the Nordic Game, the largest game developers' conference in Scandinavia. Barbara holds a Master’s degree in multimedia art and a PhD in cultural studies with a doctoral dissertation on girls, video games and Japan titled "Game Boys for Play Girls!". She hosts discussions and workshops in Austria, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands and the UK. Her academic and job-related interests include virtual characters, fan cultures, user-generated content, global youth scenes, leisure behaviour and gender, as well as game scenes and markets in Asia.