The video gaming world has long been criticized for its misogyny and male focus, but women comprise nearly half of the gaming population. When one looks at the secondary role female characters often play in popular video games, usually as scantily clad eye candy, or the ways in which female gamers are treated by male gamers during online play, it’s apparent that the female voice has been ignored, at least when it comes to mainstream games.
A new web show, called “Ladies of the Round Table (LORT) Live,” now offers a voice to the female gaming contingent, thanks to Carmen Demint, who steers the vision of adjusting perceptions in the gaming community and offering a creative safe haven for technology-based startup companies. She stresses that chauvinism has been historically prominent within the game development community as well.
“(I wanted to) bring together four women in the industry and make a show that would touch the female demographic,” said Demint, whose gaming handle is Shrivasta. “If you’re not a gamer you wouldn’t know, but there’s all this misogyny that goes on.”
The show, which is livecast among multiple hosts who share a split-screen, goes live every Friday at 9:30 p.m. and is part of a larger brand, LORT Nation, a portal of video game reviews, articles, videos and the LORT Live talk show. Also tied to the show are plans for a scholarship program in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education. “The underlying tone of it all is to get the onus of the STEM education scholarship program back to the development community,” said Demint, who added it is especially critical to help foster the future of girls, like her own daughter, who want to enter technology fields.
Luckily, one of Demint’s many roles is one of a beta tester for new games, which helps further her mission of making sure women and girls’ perspectives are included. She also helps aspiring game developers through her PR and marketing company Roundtable Media LLC.
Demint, who works by day as a business analyst, has long held a vision that includes an online television network and brand that reaches beyond one particular industry. She attributes her own daughter as her greatest inspiration for this endeavor. At 12, her daughter excels in robotics, science and coding, which prompted Demint to ask herself, “What am I waiting on?”
Her efforts cast a unique light on the gaming community, as a visit to the Roundtable Media website reveals such titles as “Black Girl Nerds,” and LORT Nation, along with video game companies, authors and other creative upstarts.
“LORT Nation is all-encompassing geek, gaming and nerd culture,” said Demint. “Everything from game reviews to product reviews. People going to school for graphic design or coding apply for internships from us to start growing the talent they have to hopefully get a job in the industry.”
She said that developers are now listening to her and other women. A number of games being rolled out will feature female characters with more accurate physical attributes, like one particular game about Viking culture, with an historically accurate portrayal of women who learn to fight with weapons and armor at an early age.
But, “as with anything else in society, this kind of separatism will always be an issue. We’ve created this safe haven for women to come out of the closet and not hide their identities.”
Demint’s webcasting empire will grow with four new shows by 2015, and she’s being featured in an upcoming documentary, “No Princess in the Castle,” about women who have broken through in the gaming industry, despite aforementioned odds.
She also plans to launch a “street team” in the Akron area, which will submit user-generated videos and other content to the LORT Nation audience, which Demint describes as a loyal and attentive audience.