The Tomb Raider rants, the busty Bayonetta babe, the angry geek girls, and the Call of Duty F.A.G.S ad. These are problematic and poor examples of gender representation in video games to highlight.

That’s the point.

Because this is undeniably the state of gender in video games. Women in games are busty, the women playing games are very justifiably angry, and queer games ostensibly don’t exist in the mainstream. To address this, “Gender Play” exists to look beyond the media surrounding gender and games– what’s written about it, talked about it, drawn about it– and look directly to games themselves. This exhibit is about seeing how play engages with gender and experiencing the choices players have to explore gender in gameplay.

Games give us a beautiful and unique ways to explore the conversation about gender because they allow us to interact with the piece of art in front of us. When we play a game, we become the player, regardless of our gender. So when we press start, can we play with gender?

“Gender Play” will explore how the signals we send to games translate our ideas of man, woman, and everything in between. Through a curated collection of games, the exhibit offers video games as a space to explore and express our gender. Featured games include: Dance Central and Madden, Portal and Gears of War, Persona 3 and Saints Row 2, Dys4ia, The Sims, Metroid, Playboy: the Mansion, and more.

Each day throughout the week in the Open Library, games will be paired to create a unique conversation about a specific aspect of gender in games. Then, on Friday 5/4 from 5-8PM, join us on the 9th Floor Lobby the full exhibit!

Please RSVP for Friday’s exhibit here.

Curated by: Gwynna Forgham-Thrift