[MUD-Dev] Boys and Girls - was (Re: MUD-Dev digest, Vol 1 #163 - 25 msgs)

Jon A. Lambert jlsysinc at ix.netcom.com
Sat Dec 22 11:29:11 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001

more replies to old messages...
Marian Griffith wrote:
> On Mon 17 Jul, Jon A. Lambert wrote:

>> 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 ;)

I remember. :-) There is a lot to this.  The packaging of Myst,
Roller Coaster Tycoon and Sims is quite different from your standard
fare.  So the images are going to attract a gender neutral audience
at least initially.  But I think even if you packaged something like
StarCraft (a wargame) with a say a picture of a future space family,
along the lines of the Sims, you still would have no female
retention with the game.  I think there's something about the games
themselves, particularly the Sims and Roller Coaster Tycoon that
females enjoy.  Actually the appeal is rather gender neutral which
is ok IMO.  After all the bigger market share is really male.

Now I realize Barbie had huge sales.  We've got a Barbie game here
and frankly my son played it more than my daughter. ;-) I'm
wondering though whether it was really "played" a lot, rather than
just purchased by parents because it was an obvious choice (only
choice) for their daughters.  Why do you think I bought it?  Anyway
she did enjoy and play Titantic, Amazon Trail, Oregon Trail and the
Carmen SanDiego games.  This JammerLammer music game on the
playstation was also something she enjoyed.

> 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).

I'm not sure it starts there (the visit to the game shop).  I think
this...ummm... gender imprinting is done long before a girl or boy
ever visits a game shop.  Perhaps long before they even have access
to a computer.  I think they are very much boys and very much girls
by the time they're 5 or 6.  That is in terms of what we "expect".

Actually as read near the bottom, you seem to agree. :->


> 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.

Nod.  I have trouble with Myst as an example.  Yet there are a
number of games along similar lines.  Titantic, 11th hour, and some
of the movie adventure puzzle type games seem to attract an audience
based primarily on the "theme".

Here's an idea for game developers.  I think an interactive
adventure based on on some of the popular American soap operas would
go over real big with an older female audience.

> 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.

I'm not sure its competitiveness, but something deeper.  I think
competitiveness is just a visible manifestation.  I think women are
very competitive, however competitive in different ways.

> 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.

Aye.  Definitely.  Perspective is very different.  Not only is the
approach to math different, but navigation as well.  The different
approach that males and females take to navigation is very important
in muds.  Note the compass like approach N-S-E-W is very
male. Navigation by landmark seems to be the female approach.

Note: I'd posit if a woman designed a mud, and had no prior mud
background to pervert them, the resulting interface would not likely
contain compass navigation.

My daughter is very good at math as is my son.  However their
approach is very different.  As a teacher(==parent) I have an easier
time teaching my son than my daughter in math.  It's easier to
understand what he is "seeing" than she is.  Unfortunately (well
fortunately rather :-) ) we trapped into patterns of seeing things
by our gender.  :-P

--* Jon A. Lambert - TychoMUD        Email:jlsysinc at ix.netcom.com *--
--* Mud Server Developer's Page <http://tychomud.home.netcom.com> *--
--* If I had known it was harmless, I would have killed it myself.*--
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