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

Marian Griffith gryphon at iaehv.nl
Wed Sep 1 21:42:54 New Zealand Standard Time 1999

On Tue 31 Aug, Ola Fosheim Gr=F8stad wrote:
> Marian Griffith wrote:

> > There is no such thing as an emergent girl game market.

> Well, there are girl gaming sites...

Now before people read too much in this one statement please read the
rest of that paragraph where I tried (poorly) to explain what I meant

> > That said I also believe that a game were you must 'feel' and 'think'  =
> > more likely to appeal to girls. If you take a look at games that did we=
> > with a female audience:  Myst, Tetris and Creatures,  they have little =
> > common other than being gender neutral and well-crafted. Myst has a sto=
> > that you can empathise with. Creatures is constructive,

> Are you telling me that I've bought   G I R L   G A M E S   ????????????

No, I am telling you that there are no girl games, only games that appeal
to girls more than to boys. The problem is not so much designing specific
games as well telling the girls the games exist and they might like them.

> *panic mode*

(Mentally deducting 20 years from Ola's age to arrive at the primary
 school age that goes with that attitude ;)

> Anyway, the story in Myst doesn't "exist" on the box I think, so I don't
> know if you are right on that one.  Creatures doesn't work very well, unl=
> you are extremely patient.  And the spank-the-baby thing was very nasty!

Myst hooked me  with its beautiful tranquil images.  I love to walk around
that game just looking at the images. Riven, from what I have seen is just
as beautiful to look at. The game added to its looks a game that you could
work your way through at your own pace,  opening up more of the world when
you solved another puzzle.

> > What these games lack is the blood and explosions.


> > was something several of the males ooohed at.  I wanted to play those i=
> > sect-like creatures and find out how to build up a colony for them. And=
> > almost immediately started to redesign the game, by thinking of creatur=
> > I wanted to add just to make the colony more complete,  and even thinki=
> > of entirely new races  that might be interesting to play.  I do not thi=
> > this points  at a basic difference  between men and women,  but more at=
> > general lack of games that exist today. Addressing these issues will dr=
> > more girls to games, but will also attract more boys.

> The great failure of the gaming industry comes now that we move into soci=
> spaces.  Some seem to be rather ignorant to the value of having female
> players in such systems. I sometimes wonder if they think that their main
> audience 16-25 years old boys (or so) are homosexual men.  Then again, I
> don't know how to attract female players, so maybe I underestimate their
> market insights...  Of course, you are now most likely going bananas beca=
> I argue for using female players as bait.

Girls are not automatically attracted by violence or nudity*, other than
that  I think there is not -that- much difference between what boys like
and what girls like. If a game will allow for the differences in playing
-style- between boys and girls I think you are nearer the mark than when
you follow all the cliches. (* tongue very firmly in cheek ;)
You see essentially the same mistakes  with educational software.  There
the need to teach the hapless children  something  has led to some truly
horrible games that feel artificial,  and insult the children's intelli-

> Which ones of these games would you have chosen based on their marketing
> efforts, and which ones are not even worth looking at?

> http://everquest.station.sony.com/eqmain_h.html
> http://www.microsoft.com/games/zone/asheronscall/ (www.asheronscall.com)
> http://www.anarchy-online.com/
> http://www.atriarch.com/
> http://www.shadowbane.com/

I have not yet looked at these, but I will report back when I have done
so. I am afraid that I am replying to my mail off-line most of the time=20
so I can not easily check on web pages.

Yes - at last - You. I Choose you. Out of all the world,
out of all the seeking, I have found you, young sister of
my heart! You are mine and I am yours - and never again
will there be loneliness ...

Rolan Choosing Talia,
Arrows of the Queen, by Mercedes Lackey

MUD-Dev maillist  -  MUD-Dev at kanga.nu

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