A woman named “Rachel” has launched a new site devoted to something surprisingly simple: cataloguing the number of women and girls featured in videogames. She writes: “As I grew older, I found that video game culture and girly culture rarely intersected. Yet, happily, there were places where the two worlds overlapped; these were my favorite play spaces in my teens and beyond.” That’s where FEMICOM comes in.
FEMICOM is a portmanteau that combines the words feminine and computing. It is also a nod to the Japanese video game console called the Nintendo Famicom. FEMICOM is my attempt to document and preserve those special pockets of feminine tech, especially of the 20th century. Tamagotchis and Hello Kitty Game Boys are part of this space, as are web sozai, webrings, software skins, and electronic paper dolls, to name a few. By bringing these electronic artifacts together in a central archive, I hope to encourage comparisons among them and to ask and answer questions about stereotypical gender roles and how they have come to shape modern games and computing experiences.
FEMICOM will catalog these items, which are often missing from other video game and software databases, so that they can be easily browsed or searched. Additionally, the site will feature game development resources, interviews, and other relevant content.
It’s just getting started but it underlies the multiplicity of identities of players who interact with spaces traditionally thought of “dude stuff.” Rachel notes that she balanced a love of DOOM with “girly girly” stuff like Barbies. It’s nice to see some complication to the way we think about games.