Many of the challenges facing women in STEM are made worse by a pervasive sense of self doubt. Can a game could act as bulwark against these internalized feelings? The Enchanter provides a setting in which students can silence negative thoughts and focus on overcoming obstacles by externalizing their negative self-talk (e.g., “maybe they are right, and I’m not smart enough.”)
In The Enchanter, Gertie encounters a range of gender-related obstacles that she must overcome: for example, an authority figure will not let her enter the lab because he is expecting the new Royal Enchanter to be a man. Even the unreliable narrator will doubt Gertie’s abilities. To progress in the game, players must fight back against these doubts. Studies in which women students in science played The Enchanter suggest that the game is an effective tool to decrease gender rejection sensitivity.