What the future of gaming might look like
On Wednesday nights, a few dozen Northeastern students convene in 346 Curry Student Center to hang out and play video games like “Mario Kart” and “Super Smash Bros. Melee.” They’re members of Northeastern Entertainment System, the university’s video game club, and they’re part of a growing trend that’s seen video games become a ubiquitous part of pop culture.
The makeup of the club is diverse, with almost a perfect 50-50 split between men and women. But that’s par for the course: According to SuperData Research, a data provider on the gaming industry, 46 percent of gamers in the U.S. are female. “It’s nice to have a wide variety of people, both in terms of gender and majors,” said Lawhorn, referring to the group’s diversity. “It makes the club a better place to make friends, which is a huge part of what makes it so great.”
Brandon Sichling is the gaming club’s faculty advisor. His first unit in his “Games in Society” course focuses on feminism in the gaming industry. It’s a pretty popular topic, especially in the wake of the so-called “Gamergate” controversy, which The Washington Post once described as an “Internet culture war” pitting women in the gaming industry against a “motley alliance of vitriolic naysayers.” “Gamergate speaks to people trying to project their perceived normality as objectivity,” Sichling explained, “and that is super toxic.” Lawhorn agreed, saying that gaming is built on the premise of diversity and inclusion. “Bigotry, racism, and sexism really take away from the point of gaming,” he explained.