[MUD-Dev] Game design and gender: An interesting article

Jon A. Lambert jlsysinc at ix.netcom.com
Sun Aug 8 18:52:05 New Zealand Standard Time 1999


From: Nathan F Yospe:
>Found this article recently... it's an old one, but still relevant for a
>number of us.  I've been thinking about putting in more support for some
>sort of established societies (albeit still in the war zone) in the game
>platform for Physmud...

Hmm... How does "established societies" relate to the article?  I think I
might know, but I'd prefer you walk out on the limb first.  ;) 
Do you mean social themes or activities that appeal to a female audience?
I've always thought, based on your past posts, that Physmud would attract 
a strong following of those that would also enjoy Asimov, Heinlein and 
Clarke.   Based on that assumption, and it is just that, would this
tend to "turn-off" a female audience?

>
><http://www.salon.com/21st/feature/1997/12/cov_10feature.html>
>
>I don't know what this really means to me, but it isn't insignificant...


I believe I had read this article or another interview with some of the 
same participants.  In any event, I  came away with similar impressions 
from both.  Apparently many of these designers are quite torn 
on the issue of whether any given game is a "good game" for girls or a 
game that is "good for girls".   The latter seems driven by a social agenda.  
The consensus of the elite thinkers being that Barbie Fashion Designer 
is somehow not a good game because it teaches the wrong things 
to girls.  In any event, Barbie is perhaps a much younger audience than 
many of us intend to serve in muds.  The lessons of it do apply though to
differences in older audiences.  

Well I do know that games that are "good for boys"  get shelved in favor of 
just plain old "good games".  There's no reason to believe the same is not
true of girls.      

An aside.  While the notion that game machines, because of low-memory, 
are more conducive to "twitch" style gaming is accurate, the idea that game
machines were intentionally designed to have low-memory because they 
were designed by men is laughable.  At least that's my take on the 
interviewee's position.  It may not be accurate as Salon writers have 
a reputation for misquoting and misrepresenting persons they interview.

There certainly are "twitch" games that girls enjoy.  Tetris and many of the 
"mario-like" Disney titles for instance have wide appeal.  

--
J. Lambert




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