Not too long ago, I wrote a nice little article about what exactly it is that makes Call of Duty so addictive. While I was satisfied with myself for being so scientific and well-spoken about my approach to discussing the topic, I must admit that there’s a caveat that I failed to mention: Women, for the most part, are immune to its psychological manipulation.
And that’s funny, because it brings me to an interesting conversation I had with one of my female friends over the holidays: Essentially, this friend told me she would never again date a Black Ops player. Now, I’m assuming that she was actually referring to the entire Call of Duty franchise as being the deal breaker here. So I inquired a bit further as to why this may be.
Apparently, she just loathes Call of Duty more than anything, and as such, doesn’t want to be forced to sit and watch her boyfriend play it for hours upon hours. And it wasn’t just the fact that it was a video game. She admitted to actually enjoying watching her past boyfriends play games like Legend of Zelda and Final Fantasy. It’s just that Call of Duty is completely and utterly unappealing to her.
Right around that time, I was playing a lot of Black Ops II (Which, as you might have guessed, renders me completely ineligible to date the friend of mine that I just told you about.) One night, I got placed on the same team as two women. These ladies were the only two people on our team that had mics, so they weren’t dealing with the normal male reaction to female Call of Duty players. Still, listening to two women on voice chat over a game of Call of Duty was a really bizarre experience; I almost felt like I had somehow stepped into an alternate dimension.
So female COD players actually do exist; they’re just super rare.
Either way, I have to wonder why it is that female gamers traditionally tend to avoid the Call of Duty franchise, when male gamers are so addicted to it. Hoping to find some answers, I donned my investigative journalism hat and interrogated a few of my female friends who happen to work in video game journalism.
Jen Shaffer of Gameranx told me:
“Call of Duty initially sated my basic need to shoot-shoot-shoot, but the whole act felt mindless. Since its creation, other, more robust titles have surfaced that do the job better and make me feel like I'm actually experiencing something worthwhile.
“In general, Call of Duty doesn't generate interesting discussion in the gaming community, but that isn't a requirement for a game to be successful. As of late, CoD is just a fixture in the community like a lamp in a room. The room can exist without the lamp, but people would notice if it wasn't there.”
So Jen’s dislike for the Call of Duty franchise has less to do with the fact that she’s female and more to do with the fact that she’s, well, intelligent. While everything she said is definitely valid—I’d throw COD into the “mindless schlock” category rather trying to defend its ability to be intellectually stimulating (but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy it thoroughly)—her response doesn’t really give me any insight into the typical female disdain for the franchise.
So I talked to Jenni Lada, one of my coworkers here at Cheat Code Central. She gave me two reasons for not liking Call of Duty: “The first is that when I see Call of Duty games, each entry looks the same. I'm sure there are differences, but when I see them, all I can see is a wider range of sepia tones added to the color palette. The second is that I've heard terrible things about the way women are treated when they play Call of Duty online, and since it's such a social game, I can't imagine jumping into a multiplayer where I'll be harassed because I'm a girl."
While Jenni admitted to having very little actual experience with the franchise (her entire Call of Duty experience was spent in the single-player campaign of Modern Warfare 2), she does bring up a valid point: Women who play Call of Duty tend to get harassed. A lot. Like, way way more than should ever be allowed.
This sentiment was echoed by Violet Sun, a writer over at GeekParty.com, who told me she felt as if the COD severs were “full of racist bigots and general people that are just wasting airspace by existing.” She went on to explain: “Basically, it's the same tired old game it's been since the original CoD—it's boring, and it appeals to the type of people that I just don't enjoy.”
So both Jenni and Violet found the CoD community to be unwelcoming. And, as I mentioned just a couple paragraphs ago, this is unfortunately a common problem in CoDtown.
Still, while all of the women I spoke with had interesting things to say, I don’t feel like any of them truly answered my question. So I turn to you, Internet. What is it about Call of Duty that makes women hate it so much? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section.
Editor / Social Media
Date: January 2, 2013
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*