This was unexpected

Imagine being a geek father who enjoys spending endless hours with a daughter who loves and adores you.

Imagine being thrilled that a friend bought you and your daughter a gift-a game that might provide many hours of enjoyment for both you and your daughter.

Imagine looking at the box and realizing that all the player characters were male.

Imagine being a father who cares about his daughter having characters she can identify with.

If you can imagine all of that, you can imagine the frustration felt by Peter V Brett when his friend gave him the game Justice League: Axis of Villains from DC Comics and and game maker Wonderforge.

Brett was not a happy camper and neither was his daughter:

“What girl can I be?” Cassie asked, digging through the game pieces.

“I don’t think there are any girls, sweetie,” I said, anger building in me. Cause really, DC & Wonderforge? WTF? You know it’s 2014, right?

Cassie put down the game pieces. “I don’t want to play this, then.” She turned and moved to leave the room, and it broke my heart. In part for her, and in part because I love superheroes, and this should be something we can share.

“How about if we make our own girl pieces to play?” I asked. “It can be an art project.”

She immediately brightened. “That’s a great idea!”

Despite this, Brett wasn’t happy and expressed his frustration on Twitter.  In no time at all, someone came to his rescue and gave him a link to Derivative Crafts (yes, this is a problem others have faced before).  On his blog, Brett expressed his frustration, stating:

When comics and game designers exclude or otherwise diminish the role of female characters, they are really telling girls they are not welcome. That sure, they CAN play, but they can’t have full immersion. Full immersion is for boys only.

And fuck that.

I fixed this shitty game, but I shouldn’t have HAD to. We have a right to expect (and demand) that comics companies and the game designers they license to do better. Sure, it’s a free country and they have a right to make boys only games if they want, but we don’t need to support it, or stay quiet about it.

Not long after, The Mary Sue picked up the story and signal boosted it. Today, there was an update on the story: the game maker apologized.

Yeah. I know.

This isn’t how these things often go.  We’re so accustomed to doubling down and digging ever deeper holes. Yet here we have a clear-cut apology.

Hi Peter,

We read your post about the Axis of Villains game and wanted to write back.

First off, let me just say that we screwed up, and everyone here knows it. It’s an internal regret for our team that we did not include female super heroes in the game. And it’s a personal regret because so many of us are parents of daughters, who understand firsthand the importance of developing playthings that are inclusive and convey to girls a sense that they can do or be anything. I myself am a mom of 3- and 4-year-old girls and I share your views 100%.

In any case, I wanted to let you know that as a company we really learned the lesson. For our next game, DC Super Friends Matching, we included 3 female super heroes: Wonder Woman, Batgirl, and Hawkgirl. This game is a better example of our work. (I’d love to send you a copy if you think your daughter might enjoy it.) If we ever do another run of the Axis game, we will revise it to include female characters.

Read the rest of the apology and Peter V Brett’s comments here.

This was unexpected