The 1980’s, the decade that launched a thousand development studios and a hundred video gaming systems, but also provocative advertisements that would have all the industry warriors up in arms at the amount of sexism emanating form the image.
Before the days of Booth Babes, the phrase ‘sex sells’ was part of the mantra of many developers and publishing houses. This was before cries of equality for all genders, races and species was the brunt of many discussions, especially from the little army of indie devs who like to bring up the issue every now and then.
Even before the internet was widely available in every household, magazines and newspapers were the only way to advertise a medium that wasn’t yet as mainstream as Hollywood movies. The Neo Geo advert featured words many others would copy, “couldn’t keep his hands off”.
Advertisers knew who to direct their campaigns towards back then, it wasn’t like today where you have to be generic about who the demographic is. There was no market research, it was just a given that men were the predominant gamer and while they may be the higher percentage today, the gap has closed.
It’s not like manufacturers of videogaming systems could have predicted that males would be the ones who would dominate the videogame scene. The problem lay with the developers, they were creating videogames for a male audience, regardless of any potential females that also like to participate in the enjoyment of such entertainment.
Since the developers of most of the studios around at the time were male, they didn’t consider the sex of who would buy their games. They knew it would most likely be parents who bought the games for the kids, but it was still an age where the mother was the housewife and therefore cooked and cleaned while the men played.
There is no way in HECK these kind of advertisements would be allowed today. It’s not just about political correctness any more. Sexism, misogyny, trans bashing and general exploitation of women is something we all want to leave in the past.
While some will disagree (note I said will and not may, because I know some will), it was actually all just harmless fun. It was just how things were back then and you can argue the crap out of that, but save your energy, you can’t change the past. Videogame advertisements featuring scantily clad women now only exist in the niche market of the adult industry and certain (unfortunate) Google adsense adverts.
In the present and the future, PEOPLE play videogames. Let’s not keep bringing gender into it, don’t force your opinion upon others, gently and subtly use your own words and try to be tolerable of others. If they see you use alternative to “guys” and “girl” gamers, it might have more of an impact than crying ignorance.