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

Marian Griffith gryphon at iaehv.nl
Sat Sep 18 21:51:55 New Zealand Standard Time 1999

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

I promised to get back to this post a looooong time ago...

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

> Well, there are girl gaming sites...

That does not make it a girl games market. Most of th the girl gaming
sites appear to be about quake  and other supposedly male-only games.
I think it says something about boys and girls and stereotypes...

> 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!

The picture on the box of Myst  is beautifull.  Very tranquil for the
most part. It is not immediately off-putting with its aggressiveness.
Creatures is cute.  I have never seen a box for tetris so I could not
argue about that. Of course, at some point word-of-mouth took over in
advertising the games amongst women.

> 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...

I highly doubt you underestimate their marketing insights.  They seem
to be reaching games out to the existing player groups. Like I said I
have yet to see a single game advertisement in a magizine girls read.
Yes, you must approach girls different from boys, but it doesn't have
to be fluff to appeal to girls.  On the contrary I would say.  By the
time they are thirteen, fourteen girls are much more mature than boys
the same age.

> Of course, you are now most likely going bananas because
> I argue for using female players as bait.

I am not sure I understand why you made this remark. :(

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


The first picture was not boding well, with a girl in harem dress
prominently on the frontpage. Looking further the site was not so
bad after all, with reasonably done images of males and females.
Looked to be a straight diku-mud clone with images.

http://www.microsoft.com/games/zone/asheronscall/ (www.asheronscall.com)

The site itself was rather bland and unappealing, but at least not
offensive. To attract girls it should probably be organised better
and explain the gaming more than talk about the options.  Things I
was looking for and could not immediately find were answers to the
questions like: what do I do here? and  what -is- this?


The same problem really as with the microsoft game. It was not im-
mediately obvious what this game was about,  and this was not easy
to find out either.  There is some epic struggle  between good and
bad guys (depending on which side you are on) but the how and what
are rather nebulous on first and second glance.


The complaint about the difficulty to find what the game is seems
to be a recurring theme to this little survey. What am I going to
do is something people are going to ask I suppose. However, while
looking through this site  I admit this being the first that does
appeal to me.  The idea of roleplaying an alien creature might be
interesting. Of course that depends on the fact that indeed there
will be roleplaying (instead of faction fighting / pk-wars).  The
artwork was strange but seemed to fit to the theme.


This was the most beautifull done site of the five, and the one that
least appealed to me.  The first impression was  that I had stumbled
onto a site of some satanist sect.  The strong emphasis  on violence
and the use of stark colours did not improve things.  From the looks
alone I would say  this is a site that appeals to few girls,  and is
the one  that most closely resembles the type of imagery you find on
game boxes.

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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