A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Girl Got Game shows a team of professional female gamers preparing for and competing in major gaming tournaments. The violence in games is prominently featured, as are discussions about which violent strategies will eliminate other players on-screen. There's some bleeped cursing (sometimes mouths are blurred too). This aside, the documentary offers a very positive look at how women are building a professional, nonsexualized presence in the male-dominated competitive gaming industry thanks to their skills, commitment, and hard work. It will no doubt appeal to aspiring female gamers, and nongamers may find themselves more curious about the professional gaming world after watching (especially when they learn that people can make a living doing it).
What's the story?
GIRL GOT GAME is a documentary that follows a professional all-women gaming team competing in the male-dominated world of esports. Cameras follow CLG Red, which consists of Canadian Stephanie Harvey (known by the handle of "missharvey"), and U.S. players Christine "potter" Chi, Klaudia "klaudia" Beczkiewicz, Benita "beNITA" Novshadian, and Diane "di^” Tran, who live together in a team-sponsored house and travel around the world to play the first-person shooter game Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CSGO) against male and female teams. Because they are the first all-female esport team to land a major sponsor, the pressure is on to win, especially at 2017, the Intel Challenge Katowice, the biggest all-female CSGO esports competition in the world. But last-minute roster changes and coach replacements create some challenges, and the women know that they are going to have to stay focused and work together in order to become champions.
Is it any good?
This interesting documentary offers an inside look into the world of professional competitive video gaming, and at the growing presence of women as serious esports contenders. As in any sport, professional gamers go under contract, earn a salary, and participate in marketing opportunities, and they must cope with managerial decisions. But CLG Red, a team signed by the male-dominated company Counter Logic Gaming (in part) to inspire other women to become professional gamers, are considered the pioneering team in female esports. While some of the team members are proud of this, all of them want to be known for their outstanding playing skills, regardless of gender. Some also note that the dominant presence of men in coaching and managerial positions are a result of not having enough female gamers in the overall industry at this time, and not due to a lack of talent or respect for what they do.
If you're looking for any sort of reality show-type drama, you won’t find it here. Conversations between the women are completely focused on gaming. Despite disagreements about how they are playing, and what should be done to improve, they respect and support each other as gamers. Meanwhile, the overall documentary effectively breaks down the esports world and demystifies much of the vernacular associated with it, so that non-gamers can follow what's happening more easily. Not only does this make it more appealing, but it underscores the amount of commitment and skill required to game at this level. Girl Got Game will not only inspire young female gamers, but also help young male gamers become accustomed to seeing women in the esport world as equal players, not outliers. Gamer or not, it offers an excellent example of how women are working hard to rise in the ranks of traditionally male-centered worlds.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why it has been hard for women to become professional gamers. How many competitive female gamers are there today? How successful have they been compared to their male counterparts? Did you know that female gaming tournaments offer substantially smaller cash prizes than men's tournaments? Why do you think that is?
What kind of stereotypes exist about female gamers? What are the different ways Girl Got Game challenges these generalizations?
Are you surprised that people make a living playing video games? Why are the video games they play so violent in nature?
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