Killing for Girls: Predation Play and Female Empowerment
Predation games—games in which the player is actively encouraged and often required to hunt and kill in order to survive—have historically been the purview of male players. Females, though now much more involved in digital games than before, generally play games that stress traditionally feminine values such as socializing with others, shopping, and nurturing. This article argues that playing games that virtually simulate predation has many benefits for female players. Predation play teaches participants how to survive and succeed in stressful, competitive, aggressive environments. To remain in the game, players have to understand and enjoy the acquisition and negotiation of power, learn to face fear, willingly accept challenges, and accept the inevitability of failure without allowing it to deter future attempts. Through predation play, females can learn to excel in and enjoy high-risk high-reward environments. The author proposes that such play might help address gender disparities outside of play.