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03. 06. 2006

Women and games

Wired published an article about women and games, reporting how once again women who like playing games tend to be placed into two distinct categories, the casual gamers and the “rough” gamers. I still have quite a hard time trying to understand why someone even bothers to analyze the women’s gamer market so scrupulously if the end result is so utterly lame.

As no generalization can be made for the male game consumer, so none can be made for the female one. Being a woman doesn’t make you like a game genre more or less than another, though you as an individual might favor a genre over another.

Though, Lisa Sikora, of Microsoft's Casual Games division, seems to be pretty sure about what kind of games we women like, stating, “violence, the use of force as a primary game mechanic, is an excellent way to keep women from playing your game. Negative emotions aren't attractive to women. They don't like heavy, adrenaline-rich, head-to-head sports. I play Half-Life 2, but if I get shot at, I run."

Do I even need to bother commenting on this?

Posted by Camilla    Category: current affairs
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Comments (6)

Lisa, kudos for your amazing ability to speak so eloquently about all of womendom! I say that some use of force is in order. What an idiot.

Jenny:

I guess I am a casual gamer- the only game i play is Warcraft. I don't mind violence.

Kym:

Wow, stereotype much? :/

My wife was not thrilled when I wanted to get an xbox 3 years ago. Since then she has fallen in love with hack and slash dungeon crawlers -- the survival horror genre and to my surprise RPG's. Just last night I had to nag at her to put down the contorller and stop playing Xenosaga II or else we would be late meeting some friends for dinner! She proves to me daily that Woman cant be easily classified by anyting other than "gamer"

Kasa:

I have a decent collection of video games and one of them is actually Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. It's one of the most violent games out there but I obviously don't mind! But...I believe that most of the video games made consist of violence...*scratches head*...don't they? Dammit! They never want girls to have a little fun!

Ann:

I played international-level rugby for 15 years - by any measure an "adrenaline-rich, head-to-head sport" full of "negative emotions" such as enjoying a savage (but fair) hit on an opponent. I was joined in this endeavor by thousands of like-minded women. Multiply that by the many sports in the many countries where they're pursued and we can see that these researchers are missing so very much of what women are interested in.

It's not a lack of interest in power or strength or violence. It's that I'm bored, bored, bored by all the silly overblown cartoon violence in games I've played. When someone creates a game with the same emotional and intellectual impact of a real sport, then I'll be interested.

And for those researchers out there trying to pigeon-hole women and gaming, keep working, your stereotypes are meaningless. My 20-something nephew is far more squeamish about all things violent and bloody than his mother, for instance, and claims to not understand games well enough to be good at them and so has played far fewer than I have. And he's a mechanical engineer. The game industry has been as dumbed down as the film industry. They want to create blockbusters that appeal to the largest target market and they are only interested in subgenres if they can create a useful-enough mini market (think Chick Flick). Hence the need for stereotypes.

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