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Gaiiden

targeting female audience

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First admission: I am a guy. OK, that said, I''ve always wondered something. Do girl gamers feel left out in any way? I mean, most every game is oriented towards "guy" gamers. Is this true or are games really genderless and appealing to both sexes? You look at an action game with blood and guts spewing all over the place and some people immediatly think: "a girl could never handle that". Well, I know that''s a load of bulls**t but can I ask what girls would want different in games? You think of a girl game and you think of Barbies or something, which is hilarious but wrong again. What are girl gamers in to? Do some of their tastes match ours? Come on, I know there have to be some female gamers hanging around here somewhere...... where are you? Speak up! (I do not try to sound chauvinistic in any way, and if I do, sorry. And if I''m just recreating one of those threads in the Lounge forum, let me know. ) ============================== \\// live long and prosper; \||/ die short and rot. ==============================

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Not a girl, but two relevant experiences:

First, a good friend of mine was a hardcore gamer and director of QA at Lucas Arts. He got his last girlfriend and his current wife, two people you wouldn''t expect to play games, into the hobby. He reports that co-op options, exploration and building are premo game qualities for girls. It''s not that graphic conflict is a turn off, as far as he can tell, it''s just pointless.

Second, I had the esteemed honor of converting an old girlfriend from a luddite into a gamer. How did I accomplish this evil task? I turned her on to Myst (stone me now ). The problem for her, and I think for the industry in general, is that there is not enough intellectual and emotional content in today''s games.

Imagine if the only movies that existed were Hong Kong karate flicks and bad, low budget space monster movies. These are what most games are the equivalent of today. There''re filled with direct, completely unsubtle conflict for largely amatuerish ends (kill foozle, save the ninth key of nin, kill the boss monsters!!!! you get the idea...)

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Just waiting for the mothership...

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Not wanting to step on any toes...

I would venture that the main things that separate females'' from males'' gaming interests would be best understood by looking at history, and looking into psychological factors. Many (in fact, most) games released today are targetted at the 18-25 age group, and these for the most part, are violence-oriented. There are weapons and head-shots and stereotypical wisecracks (sorry, Duke), but on the flipside there are ''male fantasy'' presentations of female characters in generally-viewed-to-be male-dominant roles (sorry, Lara). If you look at the RPG genre, which by definition should be socialize-oriented, you will find action and violence being the main point of the game (sorry, but EQ, Diablo, and UO are *not* roleplaying games, simply because of this), with little, if anything, given to actual personality and overall plot development. If you look at the RTS genre, you have war and dominance again.

Don''t get me wrong, there are great games out there that stand apart from all these. But 99% of today''s games have the same formula: competition against fellow human beings. Historically speaking, this has always been male-dominant.

So perhaps changing things a little, adding more intrigue, character-persona development, exploration, and discovery, would be not only beneficial to the game development industry, but cater to a wider audience as a whole?

(As stated in previous posts, this is not intended as a pessimistic or sexist commentary, but rather a general observation.)


MatrixCubed

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I think it''s funny the way every one who has posted so far follows their post with a disclaimer. C''mon people, this is a message board. It''s assumed that you are gonna say your honest opinions. If a girl is offended, big deal.

Anyway, girls like pointless violence sometimes. My girl and I used to play Tekken together all the time, as well as Gran Turismo. She tried Rayman, even the Sims and AoE2. She doesn''t like video games, but it''s not becuase of the violence. It''s just because they aren''t her thing.

I think one thing that definately needs to change is the way women are portrayed in video games. Who cares if Lara and other half-naked, misproportioned girls sold games, that doesn''t make it right, and until the industry learns that, girls will always be a non-target audience.

-------------------------------------------
"What's the story with your face, son?!?"

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Ok, nobody sounds chauvanistic, relax!
(I think there was a previous thread on the topic in this design group, not the lounge.)

As a girl gamer, the only time I really feel left out is when the game by default addresses me as "Mr. Soandso". I think monster bashing is boring, but that''s just my opinion, I know girls who disagree. I don''t have a problem with the females characters being half-naked, I just wish the male characters looked as good; games in general need more bishonen-type characters (like Sephiroth). I definately agree with Wavinator about the lack of intellectual and emotional content, and I would add social content to the list, like Matrixcubed mentions. Not social as in multiplayer, but social as in one of the puzzles in the game is you must get on person X''s good side and convince them to help you, using only dialog choices, not by giving them a foozle or a bribe. I''d like to see a game with a romance as one of the things the main character has to accomplish. I generally like games where you build up and/or manage complex systems, but this is where it''s essential to have emotional involvement - otherwise it gets boring quickly. I like games that can be personalized, especially ones that are designed to be hacked and modified by players with too much free time (e.g. Creatures 3; I''m almost done making a sprite with 14 posable body parts.). I like adventure games when they''re not horriffic and RPGs when they have good characters and story.

My disclaimer: All of the above is just my opinion; I do not by any stretch of the imagination speak for Womankind.

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The main problem with gaming is that it''s seen as a plain competitive interaction between people where someone must "win" and someone must "lose". This is mainly due to where the whole gaming idea came from, which primarily was the physical activities like sport. I think that ultimately a game is not a suitable method for entertaining women (I personally know much better ways) mainly because their source of entertainment doesn''t focus around winning, or dominating (how many games aren''t based on these principles) but more or less social interaction (which I usually mis-interpret as "bitching" but women adamently tell me that it''s friend-type stuff). Women want interaction with the real world, real people.

Fortunately for women in todays society, all their needs and wants are supplied to them, and aren''t considered illegal, or amoral. Unfortunately for men, most of our desires aren''t supplied in real life, most of us don''t get a chance to save the world, or kill lots of aliens, or command massive armies and cost 1000s of lives but not be condemned for it. Most men don''t get to wield swords and take part in a "role-playing" experience where you take part in honour-based combat rather than shooting people from a distance, and save the world from some other evil person, or alternatively, shoot people just because you can get away with it.

Basically, reality is all the women need, whilst reality doesn''t provide that much for men who haven''t been toned down and conditioned to modern society - I call these kind of guys "sports nuts".

Most of the responses to this question can be answered in that old featured article about why games don''t appeal to women, there isn''t much else to say but women don''t need any supplement to their fantasies, whereas men do.

Uhh - that''s my 2 cents Australian (which is worth about 1c in america at the moment, damn!)

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My personal opinion is is that you need to get more women making games. You can''t point the finger at male developers who make games that they like to play.

I love Game Design and it loves me back.

Our Goal is "Fun"!

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I agree with Paul. So I am constantly asking my g/f what I should put in my RPG. Pity she doesn''t like computers eh?

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No offense Gaiiden, but I hate these threads with a passion. And I hate the articles to.

Girls play games. More girls than you think. There is no way to make more play games except a natural evolution. As Paul said, part of this evolution is more females being involved in the creative process. This cannot be forced, it will happen, just as it has in all other media.

I can''t figure out where people get the notion that girls don''t play games. I just can''t. they do. They''re all over. Everywhere. No evidence otherwise. I know a bunch. Most of them choose not to play Diablo or Unreal, but then again a great deal of them do. I choose not to play Diablo or Unreal, does that make me a girl?

Fact is, the "hardcore" gamers games do not make up the majority of sales. Deer Hunter does. I don''t know why. If that reflects the dominant male market, then so be it. We can only take that as an indication that women are more intelligent than us.

It''s a painfully male thought that something can be "done" to make more girls play games. Like they are a flat out different kind of human being, who have no interest in the way things are now. Bullshit. This is an imagined problem, and even what little bit of a real problem there is will be super-easy to remedy by women themselves when they choose this is an issue they want to fight. Till then, can we please shut up and try to make some good games, so that everyone can enjoy them?

======
"The unexamined life is not worth living."
-Socrates

"Question everything. Especially Landfish."
-Matt

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quote:
Original post by Landfish

No offense Gaiiden, but I hate these threads with a passion. And I hate the articles to.

Girls play games. More girls than you think. There is no way to make more play games except a natural evolution. As Paul said, part of this evolution is more females being involved in the creative process. This cannot be forced, it will happen, just as it has in all other media.

I can''t figure out where people get the notion that girls don''t play games. I just can''t. they do. They''re all over. Everywhere. No evidence otherwise. I know a bunch. Most of them choose not to play Diablo or Unreal, but then again a great deal of them do. I choose not to play Diablo or Unreal, does that make me a girl?

Fact is, the "hardcore" gamers games do not make up the majority of sales. Deer Hunter does. I don''t know why. If that reflects the dominant male market, then so be it. We can only take that as an indication that women are more intelligent than us.

It''s a painfully male thought that something can be "done" to make more girls play games. Like they are a flat out different kind of human being, who have no interest in the way things are now. Bullshit. This is an imagined problem, and even what little bit of a real problem there is will be super-easy to remedy by women themselves when they choose this is an issue they want to fight. Till then, can we please shut up and try to make some good games, so that everyone can enjoy them?

======
"The unexamined life is not worth living."
-Socrates

"Question everything. Especially Landfish."
-Matt


This is beautiful.I''d put it in my signature if it wasn''t so large.



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