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Girls and Video Games


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#41 of 56 OFFLINE   Dave F

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Posted April 18 2003 - 11:35 AM

I'd really like to read this article in 10 years, written by the same person. She has some good points, but sandwiches them between inane comments such as the phallic joystick comment and the comments regarding Tomb Raider (if she hasn't played the game, her opinion is invalid).

Also, if you are going to examine what can be viewed as a minority of games, it it can't be done without looking at the majority. To provide a true picture of how females are portrayed in games, it must be contrasted with how males are portrayed in games. The differences will be just as illuminating as the similarities.

In 10 years, she'll either have a mature, fair, and well thought out opinion, or she'll no longer care (which would be a shame). In summary, she's just looking for better game development, with characters that have more depth. How is this limited to females? This holds true regardless of gender. Someday she may look beyond the gender issue and realize this. Until then, the Mary Daly-esque comments regarding the phallic shapes of joysticks will continue to undercut her arguments.

Or maybe she'll begin development on a yonic shaped joystick that will revolutionize the industry.

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#42 of 56 OFFLINE   BertFalasco

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Posted April 18 2003 - 11:48 AM

Glen, you are absolutely right, I didn't think before I posted, so anyone delete my msgs please. I just took out my thoughts on you guys, I am sorry.

#43 of 56 OFFLINE   EdR

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Posted April 18 2003 - 12:48 PM

Hmm, the article actually turned out to be rather unremarkable for all the fuss. It's well reasoned and not very controversial. I suspect if some of the more vocal people here had read it, they might even agree with her.

I do think her points about joysticks are funny and off-base. Could it be that joysticks are shaped the way they are because of ergonomics? Nah.

She clearly understands that many men like to look at skimpily clad women, and she agrees that it does have a place. Her beef is when game designers pander to this desire in games where it's doesn't fit the storyline or context.

She also thinks that some games are marketed toward boys and men using sexuality, and that this can turn women off to games they might otherwise enjoy.

#44 of 56 OFFLINE   Steve Bjorg

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Posted April 18 2003 - 12:50 PM

Jason, you were right to call me out on that statement. I was irritated by some earlier posts, which lead me to some sweeping generalizations. I'm glad to see that I was wrong.
I sure hope that we will see more strong female lead characters in games and movies. The damsel-in-distress or kick-ass-fighter-in-thongs is just irking me. There has to be a middle ground there.
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#45 of 56 OFFLINE   Morgan Jolley

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Posted April 18 2003 - 12:52 PM

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It's exactly that sort of characterisation of "women's games" that makes them so lame. Go do some research, you'll find that women are not gagging for a new Barbie goes to the mall game featuring a sensitive Ken companion - which is what you're suggesting
I know. Barbie games suck, pretty much everyone agrees.

First of all, that example was given to counter what is already in games. Guys like hot girls with big boobs; girls like sensitive guys. If one already exists in games, you counter it by implementing the other. That was the reason behind my example.

Second, point was that some people (usually girls) complain about the kinds of games out right now, and then don't provide any ideas for how to solve the problem other than "make games that appeal to girls." Well, what games cater SPECIFICALLY to girls? I know guys who play The Sims and I know girls who play Half-Life, so I don't think the genre of a game being one type or another is going to help solve the problem any.
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She believes that more intelligent writing will attract more female gamers, and as an aside, adds that this would be welcomed by adult gamers in general
So to counter the stereotype that all girls in games are sexy, she applies a stereotype that no guys care about quality writing in games? Some of the most popular games out right now have the best storylines, and in fact, are bought because of them. Ask anyone who plays Final Fantasy why they buy each new game, and one of the first things they say will be the story. One of the best aspects of games like Half-Life and Eternal Darkness (violent, and thus, "masculine" games) was their interesting storylines.
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As for the "majority rules" argument, I have to wonder about a majority that excludes roughly half the population
But does that half play videogames? Just because the potential exists doesn't mean it actually puts itself to work. Most GAMERS (not individuals) are male.
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The women are more and more becoming less of a minority
And if they demand games aimed at them, then those games will be made.
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How much would you like a dude in speedo-tight breeches with a big fat one sticking out (if you know what I mean) jiggling his butt to be the tavern keeper?
I'm not sure many girls would enjoy this, either.

#46 of 56 OFFLINE   Greg_S_H

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Posted April 18 2003 - 02:56 PM

Does anyone who was around when the original Tomb Raider launched disagree that Lara's sexuality was not the main selling point for most people? I played it, I read Usenet posts about it, it seemed to me that the game was the thing. Sure, males appreciated Lara's appearance, but it was the novel (and excellent) gameplay and the Voodoo-showcasing engine that were most discussed. Frankly, once it became the Lara Croft T&A Show, I was out.

I hope my comments in my first post weren't seen as part of what could lead this thread to locksville.

To further clarify, I don't own a single "cheesecake" game. I've mainly been playing PC FPSs for the past decade, and my time has most recently been taken up by Metroid Prime and the various 3D Zelda games. I don't know if women like these types of games or not, but I see nothing in them that would offend them. The only female "gamer" I know is my sister, and she mainly likes the old Mario side-scrollers, Donkey Kong Country, and Sonic. She doesn't care much about games anymore, but I'm sure she'd still play something in that vein if it were released.

#47 of 56 OFFLINE   Morgan Jolley

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Posted April 18 2003 - 03:33 PM

Greg-

To back up what you said about Tomb Raider...

As the games became less original and Lara's body became rendered better (boobs more boob-shaped, less cone-shaped), the series saw worse sales. So the ability to see a hot chick in a videogame lost it's novelty, if it was there as a major thing to begin with.

#48 of 56 OFFLINE   Ricky Hustle

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Posted April 18 2003 - 03:46 PM

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Girls like sensitive guys

That's a pretty sweeping generalization there. One made by a pretty young guy. As a guy more than twice your age, I can tell you for sure that if there was one trait that most women look for in a man, that's not it. And they certainly would not want a male protagonist in a videogame to have that as his dominant quality.

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I'm not sure many girls would enjoy this (dude in speedo-tight breeches with a big fat one sticking out), either.

That's not the point of that statement. It's the male equivalent of Lara's quadruple D-cup breasts.

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Does anyone who was around when the original Tomb Raider launched disagree that Lara's sexuality was not the main selling point for most people?

I played it for the 3-D engine alone. I would have played it just as passionately if it was an Indy game.

I think the article was well-written and thought out, save the joystick bits.


#49 of 56 OFFLINE   Andy Sheets

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Posted April 19 2003 - 12:32 AM

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Some of the most popular games out right now have the best storylines, and in fact, are bought because of them. Ask anyone who plays Final Fantasy why they buy each new game, and one of the first things they say will be the story. One of the best aspects of games like Half-Life and Eternal Darkness (violent, and thus, "masculine" games) was their interesting storylines.

I think a big part of the problem isn't that games merely need "intelligent writing". Everybody would want their games to have that. The thing is that there's distinct lack of diverse subject matter in video games. There are a lot of women who really don't give a crap about high octane swords & sorcery/sci-fi/horror stories, but that's what makes up a huge percentage of the games out there. For instance, women who want games that deal with real world situations or historical subject matter that's mercifully free of gratuitous goblin attacks are going to have to either play The Sims or they're actually going to have to work to find something to play and that's more trouble than it's worth for most of those women.

#50 of 56 OFFLINE   Romier S

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Posted April 19 2003 - 12:55 AM

Frankly this whole back and forth discussion is rather futile as a majority of posts (with the exception of a few well though out responses) are men speculating as to what types of games a woman would want to play. Lets be honest here, as much as we think we know about women they remain a mysteryPosted Image

Brian brought up The Sims which is a perfect example of a game that breaks down all gender walls. I played the game for two weeks and the novelty of it wore off and I have yet to touch it again (nor do I have the slightest inclination too either). My wife has been playing the game on a regular basis for damn near two and a half years now. Superstar is coming in May and she already has a preorder placed. Which absoutely amazes me as my wife is anything but a gamer.

Some other titles she enjoys are Mario Party 4 and the two Super Monkey Ball games. At first we played a ton of the party games on Monkey ball but after awhile she really got into the single player game and I caught her a few times playing by herselfPosted Image.

I'd really love to hear a female perspective on this subject, to see exactly what games she would (or wouldnt) like to play. I personally know several females that are diehard MMORPG'ers and swear by those games. I know a few that are complete fantasy nuts and love games like Enclave and such. It would be a mistake to say all females want something nice and cuddly to playPosted Image

#51 of 56 OFFLINE   Morgan Jolley

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Posted April 19 2003 - 07:05 AM

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It's the male equivalent of Lara's quadruple D-cup breasts
Actually, no. The male equivalent would be something like the guys in games like Dead or Alive and Tekken. The girls in DOA:XBV walk around in just g-strings, but Lara Croft is always covered enough so you don't see that much. Sure, she wears short-shorts and sleeveless shirts, but she's not running around in lingerie or panties, so the male equivalent would be wearing more than was described.
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For instance, women who want games that deal with real world situations or historical subject matter that's mercifully free of gratuitous goblin attacks are going to have to either play The Sims or they're actually going to have to work to find something to play and that's more trouble than it's worth for most of those women
Guys like playing these games, too. Unfortunately, its an extremely small market compared to action games, RPGs, and pretty much everything else. Unless the market for these games gets big enough, regardless of the sex of the people, then these games won't be made.

And how exactly would a game about a historical event work? The only way the game would be interesting enough to sell at all would be if there's some sort of action, which would then fit with a few big games already on the market.

#52 of 56 OFFLINE   BrianB

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Posted April 19 2003 - 07:09 AM

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Unfortunately, its an extremely small market compared to action games

That's back to that "appealing to the small niche that buys lots of games & makes lots of noise". Have you seen the sales figures for the Sims, Roller coaster tycoon, Pacman, Qbert, Frogger etc? Hell - look at how many copies Tetris has sold... Bizarrely, it looks like if you can build a game that crosses the "boundary" well, your market increases dramatically...
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#53 of 56 OFFLINE   Romier S

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Posted April 19 2003 - 07:32 AM

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And how exactly would a game about a historical event work? The only way the game would be interesting enough to sell at all would be if there's some sort of action


Tangent (not dealing with girls on videogames):

Another generalization. Might I point you to the Total War (Medievil, Shogun and up and coming Rome: Total War) series of PC games that deal with historical situations quite nicely (and even accurately at times). Very deep strategy titles that are for the hardcore strategist. They are anything but boring and they don't rely on their action sequences to drive the game. The series also happens to have sold quite well on the PC market.

#54 of 56 OFFLINE   Morgan Jolley

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Posted April 19 2003 - 07:34 AM

First of all, Pacman, Q*Bert, Tetris, etc. were games that came out a long time ago and are games that you can play for a few minutes, stop, and then pick up again later, or play for hours on end. They're puzzle games.

The Sims, Roller Coaster Tycoon, and similar games are simulations. Those have been out for a while, also.

But making a game that creates a new genre or crosses boundaries is not a new thing. Many games reinvent genres, add unique elements to them, or set new standards for them. The best example of this I can think of is Super Mario 64, which MADE the 3-D Platforming genre.

The problem comes from making a game that appeals to JUST women. There is no such thing as a game that appeals to just one sex, and if there is a game that appeals to ONLY women (since that's the big issue), then what is it that women want to play? All I see is girl gamers that complain about there not being girl-games, but they don't offer concrete ideas, only vague ones like "better writing." I know girls who are content with games like GoldenEye, and I know others who love DDR. If anything, games should just try to be good rather than appeal to any specific sex.

#55 of 56 OFFLINE   Romier S

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Posted April 19 2003 - 07:44 AM

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The Sims, Roller Coaster Tycoon, and similar games are simulations. Those have been out for a while, also.


What exactly does the release time for these games (or the genre for that matter) have to do with their ability to break the gender boundaries we are discussing? There are many simulations out there that a women may not take a second look at. There is something about those games listed that has a cross-gender appeal. If the game is well made and has the ability to sell to both sides of the population then so be it. To hell with the genre.

I'm sure EA and Maxis are not worried about how long the Sims has been on the market or that it is a simulation considering it (and its expansions) have consistently been in the top 3 best selling PC games for almost 3 years now.

#56 of 56 OFFLINE   Andy Sheets

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Posted April 19 2003 - 08:31 AM

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Another generalization. Might I point you to the Total War (Medievil, Shogun and up and coming Rome: Total War) series of PC games that deal with historical situations quite nicely (and even accurately at times). Very deep strategy titles that are for the hardcore strategist. They are anything but boring and they don't rely on their action sequences to drive the game. The series also happens to have sold quite well on the PC market.

Don't forget the Civilization series as well. I gave a copy of Civ2 to a female friend of mine recently. She's a very casual gamer and hadn't heard of it before but she loves it Posted Image


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