Video Games For Girls & Women: Why Not?
Calling all female gamers. Why is it we take a back seat to the boys? Like they have more money or something? I bet you a girl is more likely to convince daddy to spend a few bucks for the “must have” item then most boys. Despite that we still seem to be taking a back seat in this industry. Why?!
I’ve decided I’d like to spend a while figuring out what kind of games are popular and being played by girls in the industy, versus what is actually being marketed to them.
According to the media awareness network, “Girls need creative games that engage their problem-solving and strategic skills, and involve interaction and cooperative play. If girls are to become active users of technology, the video-game industry must be encouraged to design games for them that are engaging and fun.”
That may be reflected in the titles below, games that seem to attract a larger female following:
The Sims 2
Oblivion: Elder Scrolls IV
Catz, Dogs, Horsez series
and many more…
I’ll be honest, I’ve played most if not all of these games.
However, one of the thing I will note is none of the games that are popular among females portray women with any kind of oversexed connotation, demeanor, or clothing. It’s absolutely degrading to see women are becoming the main characters in video games only to be portrayed in slutty clothing with Barbie doll porportions. If you didn’t know, a Barbie doll is so out of porportion her waist would collapse under the weight of her chest. How horrible!
According to the human sex ratio there are assumed to be 105 boys to 100 girls (source). That makes it an almost 50/50 split. Game companies are devoting their time and energy to marketing games for boys. The titles going out on the shelves every month aren’t usually “creative games that engage their problem-solving and strategic skills, and involve interaction and cooperative play”, most of them are shoot them up, fighting, or racing games that challenge reflexes and hand-eye coordination. Titles releasing just this March 2008 are (source 1, source 2):
Bully – a fighting/general troublemaking game
Army of Two – a multiplayer shooting game
Major League Baseball – enough said…
Condemned Two: Bloodshed – a horror/fighting game
Dark Sector – third person shooter
Universe at war – real time strategy
Viking – a medieval fighting game
The list goes on and on… a majority of the games scheduled for release this year are fighting, real time strategy, sports, racing, or first/third person shooters. How many times can you remake a fighting game, or a first person shooter? Most of them all boil down to the same basic concepts gamers see again and again with a different story line and graphics slapped on top.
That doesn’t mean I’ll rule out the games targeted for younger children and family. But I will point out they are targeted for younger kids and children. Why do women have to succumb to playing games like Barbie Race and Ride and Mary Kate & Ashley’s Sweet Sixteen? Most of these games involve using one or two buttons with little to no skills involved. Do game companies assume girls can’t handle more complicated manuvers? Is this really the reason girls are put off by “girl” games, because they are oversimplified?
It’s about time things change! I’m glad to see Nintendo seems to be taking a really active role in making games more gender neutral and entertaining for both male and female (the Wii is one of the best advances in the industry in a long time). Oh yes, I will admit there’s been a steady trend in making a more concerted effort to interest girls in video games since the popularity of female players boomed with the Sims. But I don’t think its enough.
Now is the time to take advantage of the market, while it’s still fresh and unpicked over. Female players are a thing of the future. Video game sales will only continue to grow as gameplay becomes more immersive, action packed, creative and realistic. Let’s take a step back and look at everything differently, males aren’t the biggest playing field — not anymore.
Are you female and interested in gaming?! Good! Check out this:
And some other great links