Why is motherhood so poorly portrayed in video games?

Kicking off our series of features about motherhood and gaming, Kate Gray looks at why the maternal role is so badly represented in the medium

I’ve never had a baby. I once had one of those dolls that you could feed and it periodically pissed itself, but I gather this only represents a fraction of the experience. I’ll tell you what I have done, though: I have played a lot of video games.

Games, you may be startled to discover, are not too great at portraying motherhood – though they seem to have fatherhood all figured out. Did you know that once you have a daughter you suddenly become aware that women are people, too? Who could have seen that coming? This modern phenomenon, known as the “dadification of games”, has largely come about through game designers and writers growing up, becoming parents and having all these feelings about protectiveness and caring that they want to express through their chosen medium. See The Last of Us, BioShock Infinite and The Walking Dead among others. Meanwhile, due to the fact that not a lot of senior game designers are women, and because many of the ones that are women are often forced to choose between career and family – because sexism is bullshit – the motherhood stories just don’t get told.

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