Scientists coined the name after large lips on either side of the creature's head reminded them of the Jedi master's floppy ears.The other part of the worm's name is Latin for purple and describes its colour.‘Sexist men do not want an intellectually interested, feminist woman criticising or looking at any part of something they consider “their” industry.’ Frankly, it is no secret that the games industry – and a substantial minority of its customers – has historically had a problem with women.
In a typical week, I play at least eight hours, split between first-person shooters such as Bio Shock Infinite, tactical titles such as Civilization, and time-wasting i Pad stalwarts such as Sally’s Spa. ’ It baffles me that this still happens, that we still assume that gamers are spotty, adolescent boys, because that stereotype hasn’t been true for at least a decade.
But still, when I tell people that I play games – a lot of games – their eyes do tend to widen. American research puts the average age of a gamer at 30, and it’s likely to be similar in Britain.
Women who talk about loving games should expect the question: but are you a real gamer?
If you write an article on the subject under a female byline (which I often do, alongside my job as a political journalist), you stand a fair chance of being besieged by comments asking how you could possibly be unaware of some seminal 1997 game for the Sega Saturn console, even though it only had a limited release in Japan on CDs hand-etched by its manufacturer.
One fiftysomething shooter fan told me she found it easier to pretend she was shopping for her son.
But spending 69p on something like Angry Birds – which celebrated 1.7 billion downloads in March – carries none of that baggage.There are still too many female characters relegated to lust objects, too many male power fantasies and too few women making games: about four to six per cent, according to the best figures we have.The overall effect is to make female gamers feel like interlopers.And there are all sorts of women dismantling that stereotype.In the past year I’ve spoken to a sixtysomething grandmother who plays World of Warcraft with her grown-up son, a new mother who kept the boredom of breastfeeding at bay with multiplayer Call of Duty sessions online, and the parents of young girls who love playing Cooking Mama.She adds that some games are also given subtle tweaks to appeal to women: after Skunk Studios renamed its macho King of Thieves game Raven’s Flight, its sales rose.