[MUD-Dev] games gender bias (Re: Affecting the world)

Ola Fosheim Grøstad <olag@ifi.uio.no> Ola Fosheim Grøstad <olag@ifi.uio.no>
Sat Sep 20 11:15:55 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

Marian Griffith <gryphon at iaehv.nl> wrote:
>> If you are able to attract
>> female players, male players will come, driven by their very own
>> nature...  :-)
>Belief me, female players rarely want to deal with male players who
>are attracted to a place for no other reasons than that there -are-
>female player around.

So?  Don't you think that male players faced with 2 otherwise similar
worlds would choose the one with some females onboard?  Anyway my
personal belief is that any society/group where the female (or male)
population drops below 25% is unhealthy and less interesting in the
long run.  So getting those women interested in a world is worth some
extra effort.

>> However, online entertainment systems adds a new dimension to
>> "toys", the multiuser aspect, thus designing for "male entertainment"
>> only, is probably not the best road to success.  The key to success is
>> probably to find the female equivalent to racing-car-splatter-
>> entertainment and kill-everything-that-moves-and-if-doesn't-move-kill-
>> it-anyway-entertainment.
>I would suspect that appeals to only a small part of the male population

Hmm..  Not really.  Those two are the most used successful recepies I
believe. (+ the platform (mario) style thing, but I suspect that one isn't
biased towards one specific gender.)

>I will not go into feminist theories  of the value of those traditional
>stories that serve mainly to enforce gender roles.

Well, whatever culture is established is essentially the interesting
point here. (not if it is a good one or not) Unless, of course, a
larger portion of the female population has a desire to break those
gender norms.

>If a very, -very-, broad generalisation can be made: we prefer stories
>and meaning.  Mindless violence is off putting far more than violence.
>Most games excell in mindless violence clad in a flimsy story. Usually
>only an excuse.  This is, by the way, not dissimilar with how violence
>is handled in most movies.

Here the nasty monster called "interactivity versus storyline" raise
it's ugly head.  Are you suggesting that hack'n'slash is fun if there
is a history for behind it consistently portrayed throughout the

If gender research has anything going, I would expect a cooperative
world, to be more attractive to women. Wheras a powerstruggle world
ought to be more attractive to men.

Some researchers says that women are more likely to emphasize the
equalness in a dialog, while men are more likely to try to position
themselves (to appear at least as good or maybe better).  This is
reflected physically by women's preference towards sitting next to
eachother, while many men prefer to sit opposite of eachother.

I'd like to exploit this in a MUD, any ideas?

>Returning to the subject of this list. Games with a story will attract
>more females than games that do not.  That is the strong point of most
>roleplaying games (mushes mostly).  They combine a story,  usually one
>where gender roles are less rigidly defined,  with an environment that
>discourages  battles of ego (1).  The story puts everything into pers-
>pective  and the cooperative environment shies off  the hormone driven
>examples of the male species.

I think there is something in your story/meaning theory. Some
researchers says that women are more task oriented than technology
oriented, thus they use the computer to accomplish a task, not for
just using the computer (as most geeks do :).  So, if there is a
story/meaning in a MUD then there is "a task", and hack'n'slash is
just a "technology" that fits the task and is therefore more ok in
this context?  Or?

>(1) there's a well known phrase decency disallows me to use.

Being an ignorant indecent norwegian: I don't have a clue... :(


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