While Anita Sarkeesian receives death threats and rape threats for the crime of generating thoughtful, detailed critiques of the sexism in video games, as happened just a couple of weeks ago, then you know that the world of gaming sorely needs a lengthy session of sensitivity training—if its problems with women aren’t so deep-seated as to resist any improvement, that is.
Enter Andy Gonzales and Sophie Houser and their charming Flash game Tampon Run, which they designed this summer at a camp called Girls Who Code. Gonzales and Houser are both high school students in New York who wanted to attack the sexism in the gaming industry.
As Gonzales says:
“We were brainstorming what our potential feminist game would look like, and Sophie jokingly suggested a game where you could throw tampons at people. The moment she said it, we realized it was a game we could make. We did some research about the menstrual taboo and realized it was a real problem that we could legitimately address with our game.”
The game is preceded by a few splash screens in which the creators explain their purpose in designing Tampon Run:
“Although the concept of the video game may be strange, it’s stranger that our society has accepted and normalized guns and violence through video games, yet we still find tampons and menstruation unspeakable. Hopefully one day menstruation will be as normal, if not more so, than guns and violence have become in our society.”
The game itself is very simple—it emulates Mario Bros. by having a character run in a rightward direction, shooting projectiles to kill an endless succession of oncoming marauders, except the projectiles in this case are tampons. Even removing the tampons from the equation, just having the protagonist be a woman is a relative rarity in video games. You shoot the tampons at the “enemies” until you run out of ammo, but every now and then a fresh box of tampons hovers near you, and when you jump you can refresh your supply. If an enemies reaches you, you lose two tampons. The game ends when you run out of tampons. The game doesn’t exactly reward hours of playing time, but I enjoyed it well enough—in my third game I achieved a high score of 129!
via Internet Magic