Gender issues in computer games have been a hot topic the last few years. In the wake of the Gamergate harassment campaign of 2014 that targeted women players and designers, the gendered aspects of play has been fore fronted (Mortensen, 2016). Even though women make up half of the total gaming population, their place and role in gaming culture and industry is still contested with  AAA games persistently being targeted at a male audience, and female gamers and developers disproportionally being targeted for harassment (Jenson & Castell, 2015).  While research on gender and computer games has been going on since the 1990s (Cassell & Jenkins, 1998), it is no longer a topic reserved for the ‘ivory tower’ (Kafai, Richard, & Tynes, 2016) (Giannakos, Jaccheri, & Leftheriotis, 2014). Major newsoutlets across the world is covering how computer games persists as a ‘boy’s toys’, and the women gamers demanding equal treatment (eg. Kircher, 2016). As games are increasingly being brought into education, the need for gender inclusive games is also becoming more urgent.

A key step in bridging the digital divide in games is to empower women as game designers, and to develop methods for inclusive game design.  For this we need qualified research on gendered aspect of play, and ways to disrupt existing design paradigms. In this workshop, we will look specifically at design processes and research processes of computer games, and how games can be designed for inclusion.

We invite contributions in the following sub themes (but not limited):

  • Theoretical contributions, like for example analysis of Self Determination Theory and how the different aspects are implemented differently by female designers.
  • Pedagogical frameworks for teaching and learning computer game design related gender issues.
  • Specific aspects of gendered play, like sexual harassment and stereotype threat, but also gamer identity and role in gamer communities. Of particular interests are ways to combat and disrupt discriminatory practices.
  • Examples of games for learning, designed and developed by women
  • Examples of inclusive game design


Extended versions of workshop papers will be also published to a special issue for Elsevier Entertainment Computing Journal


Cassell, J., & Jenkins, H. (1998). From Barbie to Mortal Kombat: gender and computer games. the {MIT} Press.

Giannakos, M. N., Jaccheri, L., & Leftheriotis, I. (2014, June). Happy girls engaging with technology: assessing emotions and engagement related to programming activities. In International Conference on Learning and Collaboration Technologies (pp. 398-409). Springer International Publishing.

Jenson, J., & Castell, S. (2015). Online Games, Gender and Feminism in. The International Encyclopedia of Digital Communication and Society.

Kafai, Y. B., Richard, G. T., & Tynes, B. M. (2016). Diversifying Barbie and Mortal. Pittsburg: Carnegie Mellon: ETC Press.

Kircher, Hayley (2016): “Closing the Gender Gap, One E-Battle at the Time”, New York Times June 24th

Mortensen, T. E. (2016). Anger, Fear, and Games. Games and Culture, 1555412016640408.


Sept. 17th 2018 – IFIP International Conference on Entertainment Computing in Tuskuba City, Japan

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