Thursday, November 22, 2007

An interesting insight

The equivalent to a young man fighting his way to the top on the streets seems to be a girl becoming a popular person in the local high school. That's an interesting way of describing the differences between boys and girls.

It's this blog post at "The F-Word" that pointed me to it.

"GTA: San Andreas" (GTA is short for "Grand Theft Auto") isn't exactly a game with a high moral standard and though I haven't played it, I have played - and quite enjoyed - three of it's predecessors ("GTA 2", "GTA 3" and "GTA 3: Vice City"). "San Andreas" is the currently latest game of the series and has been in the media - especially in Germany, but also in other countries - for quite some time. Yes, it is violent. And yes, some of the content is quite questionable (as, for example, the fact that you can actually gain health by sleeping with a prostitute - in earlier versions of the game you needed a health kit or a trip to the hospital for it). But, when all is said and done, it's still a game. And it's not exactly what kids - no matter what gender they are - should play. Teenagers around sixteen, that's acceptable, adults is no problem either, but not younger kids.

Now, it seems, someone has been bold enough to come up with the equivalent for girls. The game mentioned in the blog post is, of course, not set in the criminal environment "GTA" is set in. That wouldn't be appropriate for girls - or so the creators seem to think. No, it's the immensely dangerous environment known as high school.

I haven't been in a high school, I grew up in Germany where we don't have high schools. But I've seen enough teenage TV series from the States to know what it is supposed to be like (although TV is not reality, and I know it). And I severely doubt (even after those amok runs during the last years) that the local high school is as dangerous a place as the Bronx in New York or central L.A.

In "GTA" you wreak havoc on the streets. You commit crimes, you kill people, you steal cars, just to be able to complete your missions. With a little bad luck (or good one, if you tick like me) you soon have the police, the FBI or even the army on your trail. And what is the equivalent for girls? Terrorizing a high school, if you really use all at your disposal.

I'm sorry, but I fail to see where those games are equal. Sure, if you happen to be the girl bullied by a real bitch at school, life is not very nice. It's shit in fact - I know what being bullied is like. But you know, deep in your heart, that it won't last. One day you will leave school behind you. And it might even stop sooner if - although that's not a very nice thought - someone more worthy of being bullied steps into the school. But apart from that, what else can you do (in this game)?

Do sexual experiments. Yes, I can see why that would be scary in the U.S. But anywhere else? People in Europe (well, most people in Europe) have gotten used to the fact that teenagers have sex. That's why there's sexual education in schools all over Europe.

Spread rumours. Surely not a nice thing to do, especially if you know they're false rumours. But as evil as pulling someone out of a car, jump in and drive over him once before you speed away? Hardly.

Smoke. A bad habit, but outright evil? Please.

So is this game "GTA for girls", as was claimed? Not at all. It's a game cementing the usual picture of women, in fact. Women act behind other peoples back, use their looks and their relations to gain power - not a gun or a baseball bat. And they can't rise to control their whole quarter and bring back respect to their gang - they can only hope to control high school by sleeping with the football team and spreading rumour about all the other girls doing the same.

This game is as much "GTA for girls" as a hamster is a murderous weapon of mass destruction.

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