Friday, March 6, 2015

GDC 2015 Booth Babe Report

The last day of the Game Developers Conference is always sad.  The show closes early and the Moscone Convention Center feels... Empty.  It's like a school after the students have gone away.

(Well, except for all the students are hanging around trying to get some value out of their overpriced badges.)

There is only one way to make myself feel better: make passes at booth babes!

For those of you who aren't familiar with the concept of a booth babe, it's a derogatory term for the women who stand at the different areas of the show floor and try to attract you by wearing skimpy, bizarre, or degrading outfits.

It's my practice to approach these spokes-models and make them as uncomfortable as possible (Examples: 2012, 2013, 2014).  Last year, there were only two sets of booth babes.  This year...

None.

Zero. Zilch. Zippo.  Nada.  No booth babes.  Seriously, here's what I found:

Three guys in Dr. Horrible outfits.
Actual quote: Just make sure you get SkookumScript in the picture.
Two guys dressed as bacon.
Actual quote: Most of our bacon strips are women. Funny, they disappeared right when you came by.
And that's it.  I mean, sure, there were a couple women in fancy dresses and one who tied her t-shirt up in front, but nothing...  I don't know... What's the word?

Oh yeah, degrading.  This is the best I could do after spending a whole week looking for booth babes.
Actual quote: No, you can't have our numbers. We're out of your league.
I spoke to them for a while.  One has two bachelor degrees; we talked about the spiritual foundations of Islam and the beauty of Jewish rituals.  The other was working on her masters thesis; we talked about her work growing breast cancer cells in a lab.

So, not only are their outfits decidedly not degrading, but they're both smarter than 99.8% of the conference attendees.  That's right, they're too smart to even act dumb.

What happened?  GamerGate happened.  If you aren't familiar with GamerGate...  Well, good for you.  It's like not being familiar with segregation; if you haven't lived through it, you're better off.

There are two schools of thought about what GamerGate really is.  The first camp thinks GamerGate is a bunch of sexist guys harassing women who make games.  The other camp thinks women are ruining the game industry because they have breasts and periods and icky stuff like that.  The game industry took both of these ideas to heart and (after a brief, chaotic period) acted decisively by removing all the sexist crap at GDC.

Anyway, here is the problem: games are no longer a strictly male entertainment and profession.  We can't treat women as fixtures, decorations, sex objects.  Now we have to see them as actual people.  No, not just people, but people who might be smarter than we are, more successful than we are, better than we are.

Hell, do I have to be the booth babe next year?

There is one bright spot.  I found this magazine in a machine outside the convention center.

An entire strip club promo geared to GDC attendees.
Ah, sexism lives on...

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