Over the weekend, Nintendo UK debuted a new YouTube channel called the Nintendo Girls Club. The first episode of the weekly show features British actress Jorgie Porter discussing the game Animal Crossing: New Leaf, a game in which the main players create the infrastructure of their town.
The channel is meant to promote news and trends in the world of Nintendo, geared specifically toward a new generation of girls who love gaming, an audience Nintendo’s had trouble finding. So is this move inclusive on Nintendo’s part? Is it offering a place for gamers to gather and relate to popular volggers like Mandy Hynes? Or is it further segregating young gamers?
Sexism in the gaming industry is still very much alive, and women are still called fakes for being gamers. The hatred aimed at women like Anita Sarkeesian for calling out sexism in video games has been well documented. Nintendo hasn’t had the best track record. They’ve also gone after gamers’ “Let’s Play” YouTube videos.
A Reddit post on the channel debut got into the gender stereotypes of gaming, and the gendered look of the series:
“I’m a girl and I love Nintendo and Animal Crossing…but that is just a little too ‘targeted at five year olds’ for me. Most girls who play Nintendo and who are old enough to get a YouTube account will probably not get into this…”
Some of Nintendo’s TV ads were targeted to shopping and entrepreneurship (owning your own boutique), and in the past, Sex & the City star Kim Cattrall was featured as a spokesperson for Nintendo. Over at My Nintendo News, the discussion was a bit more contentious.
“I’m torn. On the one hand, it’s a bit divisive and lends itself to stereotyping. But on the other, Nintendo is clearly saying that they welcome girls, a message that’s muffled at best from the competition. We’ll see how it works out.”
“Ehh. Kind of unnecessary to have a channel like this. I’m sure female Nintendo fans enjoy Starfox, Metroid, Zelda, and Smash Bros. as much as the males. This channel seems stereotypical and close-minded.”
It will be interesting to see if a version of this is released in the U.S., or if it actually reaches its target audience. Nintendo’s portrayal of women in games hasn’t always translated positively.
Screengrab via Nintendo Girls Club/YouTube