What Female Gamers Want

Here is an interesting little article:
http://www.gamespy.com/legacy/editorials/females.shtm

"Yes I Code"
As found on AGDC name tag 2002

Jacana's picture

Just to add a bit more detail to this.

I have played Quake, Doom, Heretic, Hexen and I really liked these titles. Heck! Even Duke Nukem was not that bad - tho the porn theater and chick calenders was a real eye roller.

I think one of the major things that these games had that the newer shooters do not: Co-Op. Almost every shooter now seems to have a major emphasis on death match! Frags a fun for a while but they do get boring - then again The Sims is fun for a while but it, too, gets boring.

Death Match, Capture the Flag, PvP, Team vs Team. It all seems to be people against each other. I think that in building games where you do run around and blow everyone to bits you also miss another important aspect of games. Storyline! What sort of story do you need to explain UT2003?!

I do lan, I do frag, I do snicker when I sniper someone with a grenade launcher. Its funny.

One of my more recent shooters was Serious Sam Second Encounter (I think thats the title). It had a good co-op mode but even more impressive was the gore settings! Fruit and Flower was just too damn funny. Something splatters hippie flowers everywhere and drops a piece of fruit :)

*fixed a few... typos* *whistles*

"Yes I Code"
As found on AGDC name tag 2002

souri's picture

(sorry, had to move the topic here)..
and I saw the typo you made before you changed it.... [:0] [:D] ... hehehehe...

Daemin's picture

From the girls that play games that I know of (not including Jacana), one loves to play Starcraft against the computer, but is afraid on taking on the guys. Other girls at lans like to play sometimes on their boyfriends or friend's computers for a bit, but usually aren't much into it. Although a game called "Jump and Bump" is faily popular as multiplayer on the same computer.

There are several articles on the internet that state that girls generally want games with good stories and character development, instead of just plain shooters etc. I believe that Laura Flyer (the XBox 'gal' that devilvered the good keynote on Saturday night) likes to play Age of Empires, so I think overall strategy games are good games for girls.

Well finally for this I think I might dig up some good resources on this topic that I've come accross.
http://www.gamasutra.com/features/designers_notebook/19980213.htm
http://www.grrlgamer.com/
http://gamespot.com/gamespot/features/all/gamespotting/102702/8.html

This one's a little bit different
http://www.gamegirladvance.com/archives/2002/10/26/sex_in_games_rezvibra...

Yeah, well I think the main thing is if we keep on making better games for everybody, which include a nice story and character development and also some violence it will all turn out for the better.

davidcoen's picture

one word, barbie

Blitz's picture

IMO gameplay is much more important than story. I don't mind clicking through sub-par plot developments to get to the good meat of the game, but i won't sit in front of a game boring/frustrating myself to death just to get to the next plot development. As far as co-op goes, i see things like CTF, and other team games as the ultimate co-op. Besides, you can play against the computer in these modes, just most people prefer to play against other people...
As whatshisname says in game architecture and design, just because there is no set in stone story that develops doesn't mean there is no story...the players create the story each time they play. You can look at any multiplayer game to see this. Counter-Strike, Various RTS's, and of course we can't forget the MMORPG's!
Anyway, this was all rather off topic :P
CYer, Blitz

Daemin's picture

Daemin slaps davidcoen around with a large trout.

Meatex Salami's picture

A good example of bad game with good story was new worlds.
Although i think story is only slightly less important than gameplay (to an extent)
Story is an excellent motivator especailly when its a good story and there are no BIG bonuses you get for finishing the game (like new game mode would be a big one but to play as normall except with a diff character skin would be ... well a ripoff)
I can stand small annoyances with gameplay (like the poor control system with resident evil) if there is a good and intruiging story.

That which makes us human will inevitably destroy us.

Fluffy CatFood's picture

As far as I can tell, my sister likes the strategy games like lords of the realm2 and stronghold.
Also adventure games like zelda and she has taken interest in morrowind when I play it. Shes a big fan of tonyhawk 4 as well. Most other female gamers I have encountered like similar things, although quite a few of them like fighting games like sreetfighter and tekken as well.

Lead paint: delicious but deadly!

rezn0r's picture

The difference between what girls and guys want is interesting. I remember reading a chapter out or "Game Design Perspectives" published by Charles River Media titled "But what if the player is female?"

Its an interesting read, and the author goes into great detail, even delving into physiological juxtapositions...

anyway, the main point that I derived was that since female gamers aren't fuelled by testostrerone like their male counterparts, pure competition held little interest. While guys will play away for hours just to "win", girls need other incentives to hold their interest. Thats why games that provide a creative outlet such as Zoo Tychoon or The Sims usually does well with the female audience.

The author of the article is Sheri Graner-Ray (a google on her revealed that she is now breeding dogs, lol) and you can mail her at sheri@silvar.com if you like.

The female demographic is becoming more and more important as a target for developers (its 50% of the market after all), and people like Jacana could prove invaluable in the future. Who knows what a girl gamer wants better than a girl gamer?

Daemin's picture

I think we can count Jacana to be the exception rather than the rule considering her choice in games ;-P

Pantmonger's picture

This kind of topic is old and does not have its answer in different styles of games targeted at women.
Females are people, just as males are people, with the wide and diverse tastes and ranges of activities not limited by or imposed on by gender.

It is society that has made it less acceptable for women to play games, not a dislike of the content on their behalf. Sure some will dislike the violence as will some men and the opposite is true, taste and likes are not gender issues.

Just in case you think Im talking crap, I too studied psychology and sociology, and also know of many women who enjoy violent and competition-based games so I have a certain understanding of the issues (or rather non-issues involved).

More women will buy games when game makers realize that women will enjoy their product and stop marketing it as a male masturbatory aid.

Sorry if that?s gotten rant ish, just this topic pisses me off. Remember the second you say someone will like or dislike something on the basis of gender, you are being a sexist dinosaur full stop, and you will offend people, so don?t do it.

rezn0r's picture

Pantmonger makes an interesting point. How many games focused squarely at the female demographic (or at a single demographic) alone have been successful?

Universal appeal seems to be the objective.

Daemin's picture

I agree with that, really its up to us to make good games for all, and if girls play them then that's cool.

Maitrek's picture

Games aren't marketed to females for a start, just about every female character in the history of gaming has been a purely over-the-top sex object. Games are made by men, and either you get to control Lara Croft, or use chicks in games as some kind of auto-salivating device for the (presumably male) player.

Even if there are chicks out there programming for games, and doing the art work, how many noted chick designers are there? Think of the big names of game design, there isn't a single female (that I can think of, I might just be a chauvinist tho - and I don't consider Stevie Case to be any good. Sorry!).

This is most likely because playing games has been a mainly male dominated medium for a long time, and the one quality that makes the best game designer is alot of experience playing games. Females will gradually take some part in this process, but not in any huge great hurry.

Most games are based on the so called "external" conflict. Such as destroying the opposition. Take one antogonist, and one protagonist, and as long as you get to be one or the other and destroy something, it's all good.

By conflict, I'm referring to the three types of literary conflict. External, internal and environmental. Believe it or not, literature is actually a fairly important part of gaming, and I would think that most projects need someone who is very well educated and/or passionate about literary devices and media and how those media can be used to express literary conflicts.

Females in general, probably don't usually like the lone gun syndrome. A very common mindset nowadays is that females like to network to solve problems as a group. I would guess that the gaming demographic/genre with the largest percentage of females is the MMORPG, because it has all the tools to go out, socialise, and conquer something as a team.

Newer multiplayer games that have team exercises are more suited to female gamers, but the content is still very much male macho run-and-gun type stuff.

Still it's not a type of conflict that is widely popular, and it's also why games themselves aren't such a universally popular medium. It's still just destorying things with a team.

The Sims is popular because it's not based on this mindset. There is environmental conflict. You have to create an environment and alter the way your Sim uses that environment to it's own benefit. It's remarkable that this doesn't get done more often. This particular type of (literary) conflict is much more suited to female psyche. This carries on to most of those building type games, anything constructive with environmental obstacles is better suited.

The Sims online is an excellent extension of the concept, because it has environmental conflict, and a social environment.

Problem is most game designers couldn't care about trying something that different, and it hasn't been successful enough in the past for publishers to warrant the risk even though the social conditions and the marketing were totally unsuitable in previous years. Maybe we'll see more in years to come.

Grif's picture

Roberta Williams and Sierra...?

Maitrek's picture

To be honest, although Roberta Williams did a great job with the King's Quest series, their success was based on a fan base that was basically derived from their very first few games which were more or less the "Doom" of their time, not on her ability as a games maker/designer. Seeing as no one had seen graphics before, the early King's Quest games were always going to be considered greats.

Her ability to make games and keep up with the modern industry (or lack of ability) has been proven with 'her' recent titles.

Jane Jensen did a fantastic job with Gabriel Knight, and number two was good as well, but Gabriel Knight 3 hardly ranks anywhere near the quality of the first two.

But I just can't see them taking part in the modern games market simply because they believed in telling a story through a graphic adventure, something which is not so pertinent to the current gaming audience.

Grif's picture

I agree with you, actually, regarding the pertinence of such design to a current market... was just citing an example. =)

Mind you, I'm still of the opinion that the telling of a story through an adventure game is still something that's just being done in the wrong way. That's a whole other kettle of fish from the point of this topic, though, so I won't bother going into it. =)

In regards to a female audience in general, though, I have to say that I think it's on the rise, and that's without the success of given "female appeal" titles. I can think of quite a few gals who've dug the odd round of Soul Calibur, f'rinstance, but if you present them with a "girl-focused" game they balk. In some ways it's probably just an "acceptance rate" thing, which, to my mind, has something to do with female perhaps requiring something a bit more social or self-reflective for them to get into it. There's certainly no shortage of females playing MMORPGs, for instance, and they cover both of those bases pretty well.

Just a thought, anyway. =)

- Grif

Maitrek's picture

Yeah I totally agree, there is definitely a number of females out there that don't mind the current state of play. It's just a matter of encouraging them to play.

bradb's picture

Jacana is a girl? Well i will be damned - i so wouldnt have known from the way she was all swoony for Lars from DICE at AGDC haha (and a certain comment she made to me before the start of proceedings saturday which i won't repeat here).

When your key market is a male dominated demographic and with publishers already nervous enough about loosing money on their investments of course your going to see continued promotion of games which appeal more largely to this market to ensure a monetary success for the publisher.

So how do we solve this problem, well for a start women and computing in general is something that needs to be looked at, women just dont seem to be getting into computing especially at the high school and university levels - I should know i have recently progressed through both and have teenage female friends who never touch a computer except for the odd bit of word processing or sometimes Instant Messaging.

I have no solutions for this debate just identification of the problems in my opinion, what would attract gals to gaming I'm not sure of. Certainly the "Barbie path" isnt it, the sims may be an option but in my opinion a bad one, perhaps intense story driven games with a bit of romance between the lead characters thrown in? - Maybe we should get Jane Austin and Stehpen King to combine to write a game plot for us....

Brad Beddoes
Programmer / Biz Dev
Tycom Studios
http://www.tycomstudios.com

souri's picture

quote:


Originally posted by bradb

Jacana is a girl? Well i will be damned - i so wouldnt have known from the way she was all swoony for Lars from DICE at AGDC haha (and a certain comment she made to me before the start of proceedings saturday which i won't repeat here).

Jacana's 'pimped' this site to Lars. I'd find it pretty funny if he came on here one day and read this thread. [;)]

Jacana's picture

LOL :)

I think what Brad is trying to say is girls want cute guys developing their games ;)

I can see it now - Guys of Game Dev pin up calender for 2004!

"Yes I Code"
As found on AGDC name tag 2002

Maitrek's picture

Well just look at hollywood for an example, sometimes romance stuff has to be thrown in to grab some chicks attention. But honestly, how many male romance novellists are there (I'll ask my mum later)?

And I've read random pages from those romance novels, and trust me, even the female authors aren't *that* romantic >:)

How could you write a love story into a game without it seeming so totally cheesy? I mean computer game plots are thin enough as it is, and the characters in the games are as shallow as puddles, a couple of clich?d lines in the occasional cut scene is not going to cut it in terms of convincing relationship development.

There is like, two games I can think of where the male/female relationship thing was approached in any kind of convincing manner (but this is not to say anything happened, it was just very VERY slightly in the background). One was Blade Runner, that is based on a movie, that is based on a book, and the other is....ahh I forgot.

I mean, Elaine and Guybrush? Chelsea and Tex? These relationships are all comical stuff, which although funny, still doesn't attract female gamers.

bradb's picture

quote:


Originally posted by Jacana

I can see it now - Guys of Game Dev pin up calender for 2004!

I know you want to see Ty the Tasmanian Tiger nekkid.

quote:


"Yes I Code"
As found on AGDC name tag 2002

I thought you were an artist or designer??

Brad Beddoes
Programmer / Biz Dev
Tycom Studios
http://www.tycomstudios.com

Jacana's picture

quote:


Originally posted by bradb

perhaps intense story driven games with a bit of romance between the lead characters thrown in?

Baldurs Gate 2 actually had character romance thrown in. I didn't buy it. I did not get me all "swoony". It was rather silly. Then again there wasn not much pick. If you ever played the game you know Anomen is not a great catch ;)

"Yes I Code"
As found on AGDC name tag 2002

souri's picture

quote:


Originally posted by Jacana
I can see it now - Guys of Game Dev pin up calender for 2004!

I can't think of anything more scarier. *shudders* [:)] Romance in games can work if done well, I reckon. I might be a softy, but the Final Fantasy games do romance ok.

Maitrek's picture

Yeah Final Fantasy do the whole relationship thing alright, but are those the kind of games that'll spearhead the attack on the female gamer market?
Doubt it :(
What about Planescape : Torment? That's story driven and all that garbage, good characters etc etc, how come babes (I love chauvinistic terminology) aren't playing that?

Jacana's picture

quote:


Originally posted by Souri

I'd find it pretty funny if he came on here one day and read this thread. [;)]

I suppose now would be a bad time to mention that I told Lars this was my site [:p]

Brad has already signed on for my calendar! He wants to be Mr. October!

Souri - how about we put you on the cover?

"Yes I Code"
As found on AGDC name tag 2002

souri's picture

quote:


Originally posted by Jacana

quote:

Originally posted by Souri

I'd find it pretty funny if he came on here one day and read this thread. [;)]

I suppose now would be a bad time to mention that I told Lars this was my site [:p]

Brad has already signed on for my calendar! He wants to be Mr. October!

Souri - how about we put you on the cover?


I think there are laws that prohibit the showing of my naked body [:)]

Jacana's picture

Ewwww! Naked?!! ICK :)

More like the 50's pin ups... short skirts and bathers!

"Yes I Code"
As found on AGDC name tag 2002

souri's picture

I don't look too good in a skirt either. [;)]