Sweden to give games sexism rating

558_L-narikoThe macho gaming world is about to be turned on its head by moves in Sweden to rate games on the basis of the way they treat women.

A video game trade group, inspired by the Bechdel Test, will study games’ portrayals of women and give each game a rating.

It is being seen as a precursor to a government-backed programme considering creating specials label for video games based on whether or not the games’ portrayals of women are sexist.

Inspired by the Bechdel Test, Vinnova is paying the Swedish video-game trade organisation Dataspelsbranchen approximately $36,672 to study the industry’s female characters.

“I do not know of any other project in the world asking this question, and of course, we want Sweden to be a beacon in this area,” said project manager Anton Albiin, who notes that it has not been determined whether all Swedish games would be graded on their treatment of women or whether only games with positive portrayals would receive special labels.

Only 16 percent of people working in Sweden’s growing, $935 million gaming industry are women, according to Dataspelsbranchen.

“Of course games can be about fantasy, but they can be so much more than this,” Albiin said. “They can also be a form of cultural expression — reflecting society or the society we are hoping for. Games can help us to create more diverse workplaces and can even change the way we think about thing.”

Moves to rate women as equals in games have been contested by male gamers who have aggressively been shouting down those wanting to reform the industry.