Lessons and activities encourage critical viewing of video games and evaluation of the sexual messages being conveyed. Themes include: sexualized heroines, selling violence to boys.
Choose Your Own Adventure: The Sims
Participants discuss the popular game, The Sims, which requires gamers to create characters who must maintain relationships with others in a virtual world not unlike our own. After watching video clips of the games’ creators talking about The Sims, participants discuss the difference between real and sim relationships, what it means for sims to have sex, and how gamers feel about acting out their fantasies.
Who’s Playing: the Gender of Gamers
After discussing the game genres that interest boys and girls, participants discuss male and female video game characters and how they embody or defy gender stereotypes. Youth also discuss gaming as a member of the opposite sex, and then create their own game characters that could be played by both male and female gamers.
Body Image in Video Games
After examining images of popular gaming characters, participants discuss how body type conveys meaning. Themes include: physical exaggeration as a means to communicate strength and heroism, super-sexualized heroines.
Rated “M” for Mature: Sex, Games and Ratings
Youth identify and examine the video game ratings system created by the Electronic Software Ratings Board, and discuss content descriptors for games with strong sexual content.
Debate: Lara Croft as Role Model
After examining how the popular video game character, Lara Croft, is both objectified and respected by gamers, participants stage a debate to determine whether or not the adventurer is a positive role model for youth.
New Worlds, New Rules: Video Games and Social Tolerance
Participants read an article about the recent inclusion of LGBT themes and same-sex unions in video games, then examine and discuss how playing these games may encourage tolerance.
Behind the Sounds
To increase understanding of how gaming realities are constructed, participants listen carefully to an interview with famous video game voice actor, Charles Martinet then create a new voice for a video game character.