There are a lot of bloody video games out there, and now there's one more... it's just not violent. Two young women who call themselves Andy and Sophie created Tampon Run, an old-school style shooter game where enemies are vanquished not with guns, but with tampons.
Not only does this game finally fulfill your dream of throwing your tampons at unsuspecting evil strangers (everyone has that dream, right? No? Just me?) it also has a purpose. Andy and Sophie explain at the beginning of the game that they decided to create Tampon Run to make menstruation less of a taboo. Animated slides explain:
Every woman menstruates for a large portion of her life. Yet most people, men and women alike, feel uncomfortable talking about anything having to do with menstruation. The taboo that surrounds it teaches women that a normal and natural bodily function is embarrassing and crude. Tampon Run is a way of discussing the taboo in an accessible way. Instead of holding a gun, the runner holds tampons, and instead of shooting enemies, the runner throws tampons at them. Although the concept of a video game may be strange, it's stranger that our society has accepted and normalized guns and violence through video games, yet we still find tampons and menstruation unspeakable. Hopefully one day menstruation will be as normal, if not more so, than guns and violence in our society; normal enough to place in a video game without second thought.
So Tampon Run is a game both fun and educational, like Oregon Trail, with more periods. And its message is one that everyone needs to hear: periods are not gross and weird, they're normal. What is gross and weird (as well as devastating) is human gun violence. Having menstruation remain a taboo makes women feel self-conscious about their own bodies and further confuses men about women's bodies. De-mystifying the process through gaming is helpful for men and women alike: both men and women are already bragging about their high scores on social media.
And it's important that this game was created by two women. It's no secret that STEM careers, especially computer science, need more females. It's not just about diversity in the workplace and it's not just about equality for women (although those things are incredibly important): Computer science needs more women just as much as more women could be benefited by going into computer science. Women have a unique perspective into half of the world's population that just can't be served as well by a male-dominated industry. They can and have created unique projects with code that wouldn't be created otherwise: just go to any female-dominated hacking space and you can see it for yourself. No disrespect to men, but it takes a different kind of balls to make a game about periods.
So hopefully, Tampon Run will become the next viral Internet game and do even more than it intended: not just culturally normalize menstruation, but inspire more girls to create through code.