Since I started my habit of reading 10 pages a day from a book that wasn’t exactly screaming “read me”, I’ve read eleven books about games or players. Thee are actually worth reading, the rest is mostly men talking about games and in doing so rehashes the insufferable stereotypization of “men only” being players.
The implicit bias is firmly locked in place, and in some cases so is the explicit bias.
I would, if I was a game design teacher, stop recommending Jesse Schell’s book The Art of Game Design. Not only is it extremely focused on mechanics only, the first edition reproduces stereotypes about who plays games in an almost dangerous way.
The fact that most of these books speak of the player as “he” implies the player is a “he” exclusively.
Even worse, when using “she” now and then is on more than one occasion used to demonstrate how manipulative women are. I’m not making this up. I can almost guarantee it happens at least once in every book about game design, written by a man.
I wanted to have misremembered. I wanted that these types of missteps weren’t true, but they were.
The awful part is that we had women writing about games in academia, but then the narratology/ ludology schism happened, and in the ashes of that fight, the ludology faction – led and supported mainly by men – were the ones left standing. And so we lost so many women.
And then #onereasonwhy, and then the disaster that was GamerGate.
The gaming world is an excluding one and that includes many of the books written.
The ones worth reading so far were: Values at Play by Nissbaum and Flanagan, Die Tryin’ by Derek Burill, and A Casual Revolution by Jesper Juul, although the last one does reproduce some stereotypes.