[MUD-Dev] Re: MUD-Dev digest, Vol 1 #163 - 25 msgs

Marian Griffith gryphon at iaehv.nl
Thu Jul 20 21:49:20 New Zealand Standard Time 2000

On Mon 17 Jul, Jon A. Lambert wrote:
> > Raph Koster wrote:

> > I think the key here is to realize that something like The Sims manages to
> > bridge both audiences. Rollercoaster Tycoon, same thing. And that's where
> > the real potential comes, because we all know that by and large, it's going
> > to be hard to get a subscription fee from something as shallow as the three
> > examples you mention. 

> Those 2 particular titles, "the Sims" and "Roller Coaster", stand out like
> like thumbs with flaming red nail polish on them.  The are coincidentally 
> very popular among gamers of the fairer sex.  

> Most females that I know are casual gamers (if they play PC games at all).

I think the "if they play PC games at all" is an important limitation.

> Most males that I know are hopeless game junkies.

Of course that might be an occupational hazard. For some strange reason
I have a lot of acquintances that are involved in architecture...

> These are of course generalizations.  ;-)

Doubtless. They still might be accurate too.

> So perhaps...computer games which attract a high ratio of females 
> to males are those which attract casual gamers. 
> Which leads us in a circle back to earlier threads on what 
> women like in games. :-)

On this subject  I have said before that I think that to a large extent
the problem is not so much "liking" as well as "exposure" or marketing.
I know  that I am not interested in the typical game box.  They tend to
be either very violent or very sexist or both. And if they are not they
are about cars ;)
As a result girls tend not to visit shops that sell games, they are not
familiar with computer games at all.  Instead they learn that games are
for boys (as are computers).
How many games are advertised in magazines that girls read? I doubt you
need any hands to count them. Considering that it is no wonder that the
number one girl game  is about barbie.  Not  because girls  necessarily
want to play with barbie on a computer screen (the dolls themselves are
better suited for that purpose) but because that is one of the very few
types of toys  girls play with at all. It is the one thing they are fa-
miliar with.
Given the almost exclusively male oriented marketing  of computer games
it is more of a miracle that -any- game sells well to women. Maybe Myst
is not  the game women are interested in,  but it is the only game that
appeals to them  in a sea of violence and gore  that makes up all other
computer games.  If a woman is buying a computer game  she has a choice
of very few titles, which subsequently gived a grossly wrong impression
of what kind of computer games women want.

Making some generalisations of my own...
Girls are raised to be less competitve than boys. This likely is a cul-
tural bias,  as I see considerable differences between e.g. the USA and
the Netherlands or the UK.
Girls are less interested in games  that require great hand-eye coordi-
nation. This possibly has a biological base. The male brain seems to be
wired for spatial relations more so than the female brain.  This is re-
lated to the subject of male/female approach to mathematics.
Girls compartimentalise their gaming less than boys. This means amongst
other things  that a boy is happy to play a game without any justifica-
tion at all, while a girl  tends to want an experience  that fits toge-
ther.  They want characters they can identify with,  a meaningful story
and a game  that makes sense (to them).  A boy wants to blow up the bad
guys.  Girls also tend to be interested in games  that are "diverse" in
goals. I.e. at any time have a number of things the player should focus
her attention on, while boys tend to be interested in games that requi-
re them to focus on one thing at a time.
Violence is off-putting.  This is a cultural bias,  but nevertheless it
is valid.  From young age girls are taught to avoid conflict while boys
are taught to seek it.  Further, at later ages girls are more likely to
be the victims of violence  which makes it less interesting for them to
commit it, even in the context of a game.
Sex is off-putting. Especially sexism.  It is frequently used either as
window dressing or as a "reward". This is a very male oriented approach
and one women in general feel disgusted, or at best annoyed, by.

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

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