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Games Entertainment

Uneasy Relationship Between Gender and Gaming 65

Posted by Zonk
from the yes-another-girls-and-gaming-article dept.
1up.com has a well thought out look at the Uneasy Relationship between Gender and Gaming. No girl power, no PSP lickers. From the article: "Leisure and entertainment have evolved alongside humans. Even in more primitive times, life couldn't be all about clubbing saber-toothed tigers. And while men and women usually enjoy the same forms of entertainment, it doesn't mean they always enjoy the same kinds of entertainment."
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Uneasy Relationship Between Gender and Gaming

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  • I don't think it will be too many more years before the game companies relize that about half the world is being alienated by there games and start making unisexual games.

    I mean DOA beach Vollyball.... heh who was that made for I wonder.

    • At first my wife look at DOA-XBV like it was a weird game, but after playing it she thought it was fun and a good game to play togher. and she is not a lez.
    • Actually women seem to be far less offended by DOAXBV than men. GameGirlAdvance even said they don't mind hyper-sexualized female characters if they seem like actual characters, the DOA girls apparently have elaborate backstories and personalities, something most other big-tits-no-clothes game characters cannot claim.

      Also, considering the length women go to to look more "appealing" (not necessarily just to appeal to the other gender, apparently it just makes them feel better about themselves), including va
    • I can tell you who I know that plays it.


      All of them.

      My ex-girlfriends since it came out, and my current girlfriend. Also most of their friends like it. I think it's fun, but I wouldn't buy it, or play it by myself... maybe white 20-something males aren't actually the target audience.
  • by pyrrhonist (701154) on Thursday June 30, 2005 @06:50PM (#12955101)
    No girl power, no PSP lickers.

    I googled for "girls lick PSP", but none of those links seem to be what you were referring to.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      They're referring to this vacuous whore [redassedbaboon.com] who the dribbling idiots at IGN have just hired as a writer. It's got nothing to do with the fact that they're a bunch of losers and the only way they can get a girl to be near them is to pay them of course... And unless those inbred idiots at IGN are mis-shapen enough to look like PSPs they probably won't get licked by her anyway.
      • Re:What lickers? (Score:2, Insightful)

        by blackicye (760472)
        From TFA: "Lets just get right to the point: I'm the chick who shamelessly licked her PSP. And you know something? I loved it, and I would do it again!

        I love my PSP. It's slick, long, shiny and new and panders to my every whim. Besides the fact that it is just straight up kick ass! ( Who wouldn't want to put their mouth on that thing!?!)"

        Vacuous whore is an understatement..I read that last line as who wouldn't want to stick it straight up their ass.
  • by mrighi (855168) on Thursday June 30, 2005 @06:54PM (#12955157) Homepage
    I think that games should be catered equally to men and women. For example, Tecmo's "Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball" featured topless male players right out of the box! Why did it have to take a group of concerned volunteers to develop a patch that made the game fair? [wired.com]
  • Vicious circle (Score:3, Interesting)

    by PhotoBoy (684898) on Thursday June 30, 2005 @06:54PM (#12955158)
    The games industry is trapped in a vicious circle, these days games cost a fortune to make and a single flop can wipe out a development company. So instead of experimenting and innovating with new ideas that could potentially flop developers/publishers stick to tried and tested franchises which means the female market goes completely untapped.

    Nintendo seem to be having the most success at breaking away from this problem, particularly with games like Nintendogs which has apparently been a big hit with many female gamers in Japan.
  • Whatever... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Otter (3800) on Thursday June 30, 2005 @07:00PM (#12955219) Journal
    As with a lot of topics, it's unfortunate that all the people who know exactly how to sell games to females don't actually make games. They do, however, write condescending lectures as if they just thought of all this stuff themselves, while trashing on the Barbie developers, who _have_ sold games to females.

    BTW, exactly when did male gamers stop being "awkward, snorting nerds"?

  • by Alaren (682568) on Thursday June 30, 2005 @07:06PM (#12955301)

    Interesting article, but it makes the same mistake every other "Do Girls Like Video Games? Should They?" article makes:

    The lead character's gender has very little to do with the gender gap in gaming.

    "Psychologists" have really latched onto the fact that, yes, games with female protaganists like Lara Croft tend to attract more female gamers than games featuring, say, Duke Nukem or Master Chief. The article spends almost two pages talking about female characters in games, which really misses the point.

    What the article touches on briefly is that in Japan, girls are a little more likely to enjoy video games. There is a reason for this, and it has very little to do with the characters in the game.

    It's about the gameplay!

    Speaking generally often gets perceived as flamebait, but here goes: "chick flicks" are called "chick flicks" for a reason. It's not because the main characters are all female; it's because the movie is about relationships or family and it tends to tug at a person emotionally. On average, women enjoy this sort of thing more than men. Yes, it's probably cultural rather than biological. Yes, some men like chick flicks and some women hate them.

    But in any industry, be it movies or video games or food services, you have a choice. Appeal to the stereotypical , or carve out a niche among the idiosyncratic.

    In video games, both the stereotypical guy (sports and shooters) and the stereotypical geek (RPGs and platformers) are pretty well represented. But for all the "industry's" talk of trying to appeal to (more stereotypical) female gamers, when was the last time you played a non-RPG that portrayed romance, that centered around relationships, that placed cooperation above competition, and didn't marginalize women as sex-objects or helpless damsels in distress?

    "The Sims" comes to mind. Funny, that seems to be the gold standard in "girl gaming" discussions. But all its clones (Playboy: The Mansion?) haven't done as well. Fancy that.

    Okay, I've rambled long enough, but let's face it. This is just like the "are graphics important" debate. Yes, graphics are important and so is the protaganist's gender, but nowhere near as important as the way the game is played!

    • I wouldn't call any of it romance, but Payne and Mona Sax had a relationship of sorts, they cooperate and rescue each other, she's anything but helpless and you never see one little hint of a jiggle or cleavage from a model that's very realistic (assuming a fit woman).

      Oh, and every Metroid game ever made.
      • That would be you missing almost every point he just made.

        The structure of Max Payne 2 doesn't center around relationships, and Metroid doesn't meet any of the qualifications other than the non-marginalized female lead. No romance, no emotional relationships, no cooperation.
        • when was the last time you played a non-RPG that portrayed romance, that centered around relationships, that placed cooperation above competition, and didn't marginalize women as sex-objects or helpless damsels in distress?

          That would be Max Payne 2 hitting 3 of those 5 points, and touching on a 4th. Definitely worthy of mentioning, since he's basically asking us for a game that meets those qualifications. And just because the Metroid series doesn't include everything mentioned doesn't mean it's unworthy
      • I mean really man, Mona's only wearing a towel at one point. That's pretty gratuitous. There's even a suggestive drawing of her in the shower. Mona's a guy gamer's fantasy of a girl if I ever saw one. Very comic-book like, not like she was in the first Max Payne.
      • Sorry, my post was already waxing a little long, but maybe I should be more specific.

        There are games out there that appeal to girls and even to women. "The Sims," whatever your thoughts on that particular game or its audience, at least demonstrates the point. I have a sister-in-law (she's 26, married, has two kids) who plays RPGs. Nothing else--no shooters, no platformers, but she owns just about every RPG there is. She loves the stories.

        My wife played through both FF:Crystal Chronicles and Tales

    • Meh. Frankly I think the reason we have such a gender gap in gaming is because when games started out, they were seen as the domain of guys and geeks only. Most of the girls I know that don't play games don't not for the content in the games (after all, they watch the same action movies as the rest of us), but the mere concept of grabbing a conroller and playing a game is beyond them. It's not the content, it's society.
    • when was the last time you played a non-RPG that portrayed romance, that centered around relationships, that placed cooperation above competition, and didn't marginalize women as sex-objects or helpless damsels in distress?

      the longest journey

      bit of romance (talk/implied). all of the others. it was an RPG though.
      3.5 of 5?

      how exactly would a non-RPG portray romance?

      there was this game review i saw...it's an FPS about a couple's child who gets kidnapped/goes missing. the mother jumps on to the father's

    • female gamers, when was the last time you played a non-RPG that portrayed romance, that centered around relationships, that placed cooperation above competition, and didn't marginalize women as sex-objects or helpless damsels in distress? do various non-H dating sims count?
  • Dumb statement (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Henry V .009 (518000) on Thursday June 30, 2005 @07:17PM (#12955445) Journal
    And while men and women usually enjoy the same forms of entertainment

    No they don't. Men and women on average enjoy different movies, different books, different music, and enjoy these things in different quantities. Men and women enjoy different physical activities and different hobbies. It's hard to think of forms of entertainment that don't differentiate by sex.

    Most of the reason we see lots of stupid articles about "getting more girls into gaming" is that gamers don't have much experience with women and what they are like. So they listen to the most male-like of women, radical feminist lesbians, because that's the type of male-style thinking they can relate to. Hence the often fervent belief by nerds in absolute equality despite all reality to the contrary.
    • Men and women on average enjoy different movies, different books, different music, and enjoy these things in different quantities.

      So you agree with him, then, that both men and women like (for instance) movies, but not necessarily the same kinds of movies.

      You do know the difference between "forms" and "kinds," right?

    • He said, "form." Men and women alike enjoy movies, books, music, and physical activities. However, as the poster seemed to be trying to point out, they like different kinds of movies, books, music and physical activities.

      Your generalisations about gamers and casual grouping together of radical feminists and lesbians, however, is both insulting and dumb.
  • Gamer Grrl (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Macgrrl (762836) on Thursday June 30, 2005 @07:40PM (#12955708)

    My personal hit list for what makes a game enjoyable:

    Co-op mode - chances are, I won't get as much screen time to perfect my 12-step awesome combo moves, so playing competative just leads to me getting my ass kicked every time we play. That gets boring fast. Besides which, I'm probably in a relationship WITH you, and am playing the game to do something WITH you not AGAINST you.

    Support for casual players - I have lots of responsibilities outside of a game, sometimes I need to drop everything at a moments notice. Making me work for an hour before I can find a save point means I will have to keep replaying bits I've already done because I didn't make it to the save point before having to stop last time. This gets boring pretty soon.

    Alternate forms of advancement is good, e.g. crafting options. Sometimes I want to play a support class and be valued.

    If I do decide the play a tank of somekind, how about an avatar that doesn't look like a covergirl from Dragon magazine from the middle of the chainmail bikini era. I may not know much about real combat, but even I know a thong isn't going to protect me - unless there is some kind of 'distract' bonus to dodge AC.

    I like to see my character progress in some way that I perceive as meaningful. It probably doesn't mean a bigger gun. I liked the progresion in Civ II (size of territory, fitting out of the throne room), I like getting new skills in WoW or Diablo II. Not dying in Doom didn't really do it for me.

    Let me play my own way. I like to explore worlds in WindWaker or WoW. I sneak around stealthed just to see what's around the next corner, I may not engage everything I see in combat. Give me alternate ways of resolving a situation which may not require slaying everything in my path. Have the game remember how I solved my problems and respond to that - the bad guy is still alive, he's dead and his allies hate me, whatever.

    I'm rambling a bit now, but hopefully there are a few valid points there.

    • How is this gender-specific?

      Being a parent, I have little time to perfect combo moves or wander around levelling. Wanting to spend some time with my wife (and my daughter, when she starts gaming) means cooperative gaming and support classes.

      When I put a female avatar on a character, and she looks like a chainmail-bikini centerfold, my wife gives me funny looks. My four-year-old daughter just laughs and spends twenty minutes yelling, "Look, she forgot her PANTS! She has no PANTS! She's in her PANTIES!"

      • It may not be gender specific to females, but they are the prime issues I experience as a female gamer detract from my ability to play a game to it's fullest extent that my husband doesn't experience in the same way.

        • And I'm merely suggesting that it may be less that you're a gamer grrl and more that you have a life. Or, at the very least, that there are gamer guys that are interested in the same things you are in a game, although for different reasons.

          But, not particularly wanting to get into gaming issues with you and your husband, I'll drop it now.
        • by JavaLord (680960)
          You don't get it, your issues have nothing to do with you being female. They are more about your relationship with your husband. He gets in more playing time than you do, there are plenty of relationships where this works in reverse, (ie talk to some married women in WoW, I've run into a few that play more than their hubbies).

          Most of the things you've stated are mentioned by males as well, who are more into the social aspect of mmo's and gaming.
          • Possibly what you state is true, but certainly there have been plenty of studies that confirm that even in a relationship where the woman works full time and the man doesn't, the woman in the relationship (in Australia at least) does the majority of the 'unpaid' work around the house - add children and the disparity increases.

            Your assumption about married women presumably applies to stay-at-home-moms, I make this assumption because I personally know no women who get more time to play around than their part

    • Co-op mode - chances are, I won't get as much screen time to perfect my 12-step awesome combo moves, so playing competative just leads to me getting my ass kicked every time we play. That gets boring fast. Besides which, I'm probably in a relationship WITH you, and am playing the game to do something WITH you not AGAINST you.

      Excellent point. Even though we could own each other at out respective games (myself with FPS type games, she with fighting games) the most fun my ex-girlfriend and I had playing gam

    • My wife started playing DAoC with me a few years ago and she enjoyed the exploration and questing aspects, but didn't care for the PvP portion of it (which was my biggest draw).

      These days, she's a monkey on crack for WoW. Avatars can be scantily clad if you go for that, but generally they're not. She spends half of her time playing as a big fat bear collecting herbs for alchemy and making money, or stealthing around exploring without any character advancement at all.

      At first, I thought the battlegrounds i
  • Gender is a grammatical term, not biological.

    see : http://ask.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=05/06/30/15 32238 [slashdot.org]

    for further details

    • Hmmm,

      This [reference.com] clearly supports you in it's first sets of definitions. However, if you read further down in the usage section, you'll find that it's been slowly evolving. It notes the usage of "gender" as a social and culture grouping, and sex as a strictly biological term is becoming more and more common. You'll notice that even in the dictionary that clearly labels it primarily as a grammatically term, still lists secondary usages that clearly match up with the usage above (3b being the easiest to identif

    • Great, now you've done it. You've gone and used the 's' word. Now the Bush administration can shut down Slashdot.

      Of course, feel free to use British curse words all you'd like, though. Saying 'the US is full of sods' would probably gartner agreement from most Americans, along with a healthy dose of ribbing on the size and climate of the UK.
  • The headline should be "The uneasy relationship between CONSOLE gaming and gender"

    I can't help but get the feeling this article was to rile up readers and not provide any positive insight. After reading this, I thought in regards to female gamers, how can this not even mention The Sims, Civ, Pogo, Yahoo Games, or some of the MMOs that have a wide audience? Could have sworn games have made improvements.

    • That's a very small percentage of games actively played today. The article's point is still valid. Oh, sure, some games dented the male-dominant world - I know, my mom plays those Popcap games all the time. But what about serious games for serious gamers, other than those dime-a-dozen Flash/Java "clones", maybe even where we'll interact with each other? Women like games, definitely. But (thankfully) they aren't pumped up on testosterone, thus having the need to fight and kill and maim, so they purchase a sm
  • Web sites and gamer magazines do these stories for there mostly male readers.

    The real fact is some girls like games and some dont. Many like game and dont know they are a gamer, Look at who is playing most of the java games on the web. Hard core gaming girls(or woman) are harder to find, but they like what guy gamers like. I known woman that like CS others that like The Sims to some that like Leasure Suit Larry.

    My wife is a gamer play many game love the FF series and has a bad WOW habbit. My 6 year old da
  • Phantasy Star IV for the Genesis likewise starred a tough female named Alys.

    ... Strike 1. See, she was never the main character... And then she dies about 1/3 of the way thorugh the game... A sign of weakness, maybe?

    Few adventures star middle-aged balding men with love handles and average jobs (although it's not unheard of: Dragon Warrior IV starred a rotund merchant, Taloon, whose wife handed him lunch every day on his way to work

    Stiiiiiike two. Talloon is a pretty minor character in Dragon Warrio
    • Strike 3 - I call bullshit on your strike 2.

      Taloon was definitely the most important and major character besides yourself (the 'chosen one')

      He had a whole chapter devoted solely to him and later in the game he was that all important 4th member to fill up your party. Not only that but you got to run his shop and sell battle axes and whatnot for insane prices.

      • Did anybody else intentionally take a long time getting through Chapter 3?

        I thought being on the other side of the counter in the shop was the greatest thing since sliced bread when I first played it, especially being like "no, I'm sorry, you heard the price wrong. It's actually 100 GP more expensive" just because you didn't like the look of somebody... or wanted to make sure the Sword of Malice stayed in the shop until you earned enough to buy it yourself. :P

        What's the status on some of the Torneco no Da
      • Hey, I love Taloon. But... You never sell battle axes, Hero, Ragnar, Alena, Cristo is the best party, and the money you make in chapter 3 can only be taken to the fifth chapter through abusing item carrying. He is a nice source of Sword of Malices at that point in chaper 5 though.
    • I won't even mention the cleavage-bearing atrocity that was XII, but if you want a game with a primary female character, check out Final Fantasy VI (aka US FF III on the SNES, etc).

      The main character was a woman (Terra), and she ended up being pretty kickass. There were also some supporting female characters... well one good supporting character anyhow as Celes kicked ass.

      I remember being a little shocked at the idea of an RPG with a female lead - not that I'm gender biased but it just wasn't a common t
  • There are many reasons why women arn't targeted by games manufacturers

    Women arn't stupid enough to keep buying the same game. Women know that bigger numbers doesn't mean better gameplay.

    Women arn't interested in scoring points, or winning in the same, obsessive way men are. In their eyes they've already won, by not playing the game in the first place.

    Women have hightened color perception and perceive virtual worlds differently to men, in that they often get motion sickness from playing FPS. Being sick is
    • > Women arn't stupid enough to keep buying the same game. Unless it has the word "SIMS" written on the box. > Women arn't interested in scoring points, or winning in the same, obsessive way men are. Have you played any MMORPGs recently? In my experience, the female players are just as level-hungry and treadmill-focussed as the guys are. I have a couple of female gamers in my circle of friends, and whenever we've played the same MMORPG, they have *totally* outpaced me. > Women have hightened col
    • Wow, for someone who says that only Sith deal in absolutes that post was chock full of stereotyping. You could've at least thrown a "most", or a "many", or possibly a "generally" in there.
  • The BBC have also picked up on the 'women in games' issue recently [bbc.co.uk]: more coverage on Wonderland [typepad.com] and the Guardian Gamesblog [slashdot.org]. Nice to see us girl gamers being written about, again...
  • by Xentor (600436)
    I can kind of see the other side of this story. I'm writing a computer game at the moment, in my spare time. It's an adventure game in the style of the old Sierra games (Yes, AGS, for those of you in the know -- My other game-in-progress is actually a homemade isometric engine).

    Being a fantasy game, the plot is a little bit "out there," but if you take out all the frills, it really does boil down to:

    1) Boy meets girl
    2) Girl gets kidnapped
    3) Boy rescues girl

    Why? Well, it's the type of plot I was brough

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