In today's main feature written for Gamasutra sister site Serious Games Source
, which deals with games created for training, health, government, and other uses, as well as their cultural effects, Powerful Robot's Gonzalo Frasca discusses Intel's web-based advergame, The Intel IT Manager Game
, and how a "cultural bug" resulted in the game's prompt removal and alteration.
Specifically, the writer explains in this feature how an oversight by the work environment simulator's developers led to an inability for players to hire any female employees. In this exerpt, Frasca compares Intel's serious game to Lionhead's popular action role-playing game Fable
, which also would not allow for female player characters:
"In the same year, Peter Molyneux announced at GDC that his highly-anticipated game Fable would not include female avatars as he originally intended. He explained that the decision was made because it would save a lot of production time and otherwise they would not meet their scheduled launch date. There is, however, a big difference between Fable and the IT Game. The Intel game is not merely an entertainment product: it is a piece of corporate advertising that simulated an IT workplace for an audience of real IT workers."
He the adds:
"Unlike what happens in the fantasy world of Fable, gender inequality is a very real problem for IT workers. According to the U.S. National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT), in 2004 only 29 percent of U.S. IT employees were female. The situation in the U.K. -where the Intel game was developed- is not better. According to the Women&Equality Unit of the British Government, in 2002 only 23% of the U.K. IT workforce was female."
You can now read the full Serious Games Source feature on the subject
, including more from Frasca regarding advergames and the controversy surrounding The Intel IT Manager Game
(no registration required, please feel free to link to this feature from external websites).