October 4th, 2007

"We stab him!"

And now, a rant (Incoherence level: high)

So here I am, messing around online while waiting for Eric to get off from work, when he brings to my attention this. For the link-phobic, it's a list of various games that will be available this holiday season to help the little girl in your life become enamored of the classic Hasbro board games - by making them PINK.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, some genius in marketing decided that the reason why there aren't that many girls in gaming isn't because gaming has been historically dominated by the males of the species, it isn't because girls who game, just like boys who game, are dubbed "geeks", and girls can be damned vicious with each other when it comes to labels, no, it isn't because of the myriad of other reasons or excuses - it's because there's a lack of PINK in the games. Not just any pink, oh, no - we're talking bright, Barbie doll, ten-bottles-of-Pepto-Bismal-spilled-on-it PINK.

*breathe* OK, so they're trying to market to the "girl" aisle of the toy store. Fair enough - heaven knows that the aisle with all the "girl" toys is pretty well drenched in PINK, and they want to make sure the games will fit in. And yes, the Monopoly Boutique board with the box that doubles as a jewelery box will catch some little girl's eye, and the PINK and purple chess board will make some little one beg her mommy and daddy for that game for Christmas. It has nothing to do with the games themselves, I fear, but rather the "oh, shiny!" factor of the packaging. The problem is that a lot of things that are bought solely on the "oh, shiny!" factor are doomed to gather dust in the corner and never get played (or, in the case of the Monopoly game, have its pieces dumped out so the box will be used as a jewelery box). It's not really going to do much as far as helping swell the ranks of girl gamers. Honestly, I don't know if that's what Hasbro's going for or not, but it...rankles. It bothers me that they're trying to turn board games into another box with shiny pieces for a kid to beg for, just to have it sit unplayed for months after the new has worn off. I know, I know, it's business and a lot of games are marketed this way, and who knows? Maybe some girl will just adore the games so much that she looks for other, non-PINK games.

Somehow, I doubt it.