Sunday, 14 February 2010

Girls and Games

Barbara, Year 1 B.A.(Hons) Games Design,discusses Girls and Games


  1. I've always felt that the reason games are seen as a "male" hobby is that they generally apply to the male psychology. Males are competetive and goal-orientated, so games, an extension of competition by nature, became a predominantly male interest.

    Further, girls I've known (friends, girlfriends, my sisters) dislike being challenged and under threat, they like to enjoy an activity at their own pace, and not necessarily be told how they should do it. I personally see this as why most girls dislike violent games and gravitate to social sandboxes; not because of the violence or action, but because in "violent" games enemies are constantly assailing you trying to make you think fast or fail. This links into the fact most girls dislike having to "get good" at a hobby like gaming, and see it as worthless to devote any hours to improving your ability within a game. (hence the "boys toys" argument, they see it as throwaway and pointless)

    Thus females generally want accessible, immediate, open games, and they like the ability to control and customise the experience. Hence the success of the Sims, Nintentogs and Animal Crossing in that market. Not necessarily because those games are all mundane and pretty.

    The girls reading this of course, largely won't fit into this archetype, because they are "gamer girls" brought up happily playing "guy games", so I hope nobody takes offense. The point I am making is a generalisation, some of the girls in the course can even beat me at competetive violent games :P

    Also, I laughed at the "make me a sandwich" meme making an appearence :P

  2. I agree with Steve on that, I have a friend who physically won't fail a song on Guitar Hero (she restarts/quits whenever close) because somehow it's the worst possible outcome.

    I think when designing a game, at least for me personally, I don't think about what gender I design for. I think about the type of person I want to appeal to. Does the person like shooting? Check, do they like space? Check. Do they like being scared? Check. Oh look, I just created Dead Space. If you were to then think about gender, you'll find that the design of the overall game would change very little. How would you design a space horror shooting game for girls? Why is that so different than designing it for guys? I would think that designing a space horror shooting game for people who don't like space, horror or shooting would affect the overall design much more than the gender aspect.

    There's a lot of weight being put onto gender and I wonder why? When really, it all comes down to personality, likes and dislikes more than gender. If one happens to like a certain activity more, I don't see the problem, because it's not as if games are designed to alienate anyone (well, some are, but let's not get into that). The most ideal situation for a game is to appeal to everyone. Yet, I think when you try to make a game that appeals to boys and girls, old and young, gay and straight, etc etc, you get a diluted game idea with no focus. You wonder what you can and can't put in, because X demographic might not like it.

    I had some witty closing for this. But I forgot it, along with my main point.