The recent increase in digital gaming players and platforms does not imply that digital gaming is as inclusive as it could be. There are still gaps in participation that, if left unaddressed, will exclude groups who have been historically marginalized. Women are among those individuals most vulnerable to exclusion from gaming. In order to better understand the motivations and practices of female players, this study focuses on a group of undergraduates at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who have created a community that plays digital and non-digital games together and includes women. The research was conducted over eight months using interviews and participant observations. The study concludes that there are interrelated factors at the group, game play, and individual levels that influence this particular community’s inclusiveness. These factors include how the community values the play process over who wins or loses a game, uses games as facilitators of playful socializing, and negotiates their identities in relation to the “gamer” stereotype.
About Hillary Kolos
Hillary grew up in Virginia and moved to New York City to study film. She's worked in a wide range of educational settings teaching video production, game design, and even knitting. At MIT she focused on how we can use new media tools to make learning more participatory. She has worked for the Adobe Foundation, the New Learning Institute at the Pearson Foundation, Institute of Play, and the Tribeca Film Institute.
Hillary's CMS thesis explored a small community of undergrad students who played video games in an MIT dorm and how their relationship to gaming made their community more participatory: Not Just in It to Win It: Inclusive Game Play in an MIT Dorm