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

Caliban Tiresias Darklock caliban at darklock.com
Tue Dec 25 13:32:13 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001


From: "Marian Griffith" <gryphon at iaehv.nl>

> I think there is even a deeper question here. We have to ask
> ourselves *IF* women like games at all.

I have a wife, six sisters-in-law, eight nieces, and two cousins who
are all heavily obsessed with The Sims.

Most of them don't really care much about other games.

While it doesn't PROVE anything, it's a pretty strong indicator that
"if you build it, they will come".

> I think it is important that we, and the games industry, stop
> looking for the mythical "girl game".  Girls are not one
> character. They have tastes as diverse as boys.

That's true, and there's a lot more to a first-person-shooter than
shooting.  But the industry is interested in games that will sell to
girls, because they do not sell a lot of games to girls -- so when
we say "girl game", it's really just a convenient label for "new
kinds of games that will sell to people who don't buy a lot of the
old kinds of games".

You know, people like me. I buy two or three games a year, and I'm
very fussy about them. My game purchases for the past year have
consisted of American McGee's Alice, Roller Coaster Tycoon, and Tony
Hawk's Pro Skater 3.  That's it. (I was very disappointed by the
gameplay in American McGee's Alice, but it was still absolutely
beautiful.) I spend most of my time looking at games and wondering
when someone's going to make something I want to play.

> We simply should quit to try to put games in "boy" and "girl"
> niches, and start thinking of new and more varied games.

I think it's a huge mistake to take a clear and concise term that
effectively represents a large number of complex ideas and throw it
out over some misguided sense of political correctness or scientific
accuracy. When you say "girl game", you mean "a game that appeals to
girls". Everyone knows and understands that. The alternative is to
say something like "atypical game", which means nothing, or
"noncompetitive user-modifiable software toy with limited command
set directing highly flexible and powerful creation and
customisation interface", which effectively means nothing because
nobody knows what the hell it means except the idiot who wrote
it. (Not to mention it's probably not quite accurate.)

It is certainly not 100% accurate to say that The Sims and RCT are
"games for girls", but it is indeed accurate to say that both are
"games that appeal to girls" -- at least when compared to other
games. I think it makes *perfect* sense to refer to specific types
of games by their target players, at least until we have an actual
quantifiable description of the game itself.

After all, we have family games and party games, and nobody
complains that you don't really HAVE to play those with your family
or at a party. Until we have some kind of working statement of what
these kinds of games are, "girl games" works and nothing else really
does, just like "family game" or "party game" works. Go ahead, try
and come up with better descriptions. It's *not* easy; how do you
describe "Clue", "Boggle", "Yahtzee", and "Monopoly" with any phrase
BUT "family game"? No single description matches them all. And "girl
game" may not be the perfect description for what we're talking
about, but it's still the best one available.


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