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23meg
May 20th, 2005, 12:33 AM
while "games for women" can be a good niche marketing strategy in a couple years, i think a gender distinction for games and for all software essentially shouldn't exist. i can understand the necessity for them growing at the moment; i understand why you're asking for them and looking to develop them: it's kind of seeking for a balance, it arises from the simple fact that the majority of games do come with cultural codes set for the dominant male character in them. but the "games for women" concept as i understand it would simply be just taking out the male codes and putting the female ones in their place, such as what kind of graphics the dominant female character will like, what kind of challanges she'd like to be put in, what kind of rewards she'd enjoy, what interests, desires, fears, etc. of this character can be stirred via gaming,, so on.

just thinking out loud again..

kassetra
May 20th, 2005, 12:39 AM
it arises from the simple fact that the majority of games do come with cultural codes set for the dominant male character in them. but the "games for women" concept as i understand it will simply be the same thing, just taking out the male codes and putting the female ones in their place.

Actually, no. That would be what some people in the gaming world assume when they try to "think of games for Women" ... but that's not what this thread or this topic is even about.

This topic is about essentially - a separate genre of games, developed to meet the needs Women; to find the games that Women would like to play. This does not involve taking a game / game genre that exists and swapping out male "codes" for female ones. This involves researching what Women think a "game" should be, and based upon those ideas, creating a new game type.

kassetra
May 20th, 2005, 12:44 AM
such as what kind of graphics the dominant female character will like, what kind of challanges she'd like to be put in, what kind of rewards she'd enjoy, what interests, desires, fears, etc. of this character can be stirred via gaming,, so on.

Actually to take this even further - those ideas are based upon the fact that a "game" for women consists of challenges/rewards based upon interests/desires/fears - but that's not what I'm getting at either.

I'm getting at essentially finding a "Woman's" idea of a "game." ... That may or may not involve challenges / rewards / interests / desires / fears in the traditional male-gaming-perspective sense.

It might be something completely outside of that mindset. :)

23meg
May 20th, 2005, 12:58 AM
I'm getting at essentially finding a "Woman's" idea of a "game." ... That may or may not involve challenges / rewards / interests / desires / fears in the traditional male-gaming-perspective sense.

It might be something completely outside of that mindset. :)
that's exactly what i'm talking about - if this kind of thing should exist at all it should exist outside that mindset. "a woman's idea of a game" conveys the intent here much better; maybe not a "computer game" in specific but the idea of "play" or "gaming" in general, right? because understandings of these concepts do differ according to gender.

my point is that software in general shouldn't be engineered solely based on gender/race/ethnicity/whatever. and i've always been disappointed with "niche-filler" software; actually with any cultural product that claims to have found a so far unfulfilled "gap" and aims to fill it.

kassetra
May 20th, 2005, 01:17 AM
my point is that software in general shouldn't be engineered solely based on gender/race/ethnicity/whatever. and i've always been disappointed with "niche-filler" software; actually with any cultural product that claims to have found a so far unfulfilled "gap" and aims to fill it.

Well, the case may be made for games that do not have a "niche" ... but in reality, to successfully market anything in today's world, a product has to fit into a narrow slot in order to be noticed.

And, in this case, in particular, I think at least 50% of the population as a whole has been completely overlooked in terms of computer entertainment. Simply because I want to make a game that takes Women's ideas into account as the *main* source of inspiration - which thus makes it a Women's game - doesn't mean that it is necessarily gender specific or a "niche-filler."

I doubt Half-Life2 would ever say, "New and Improved Men's Niche-Filler Game!" on the cover, yet, the number of women attracted to this game is small indeed. Furthermore, Half-Life2 wasn't engineered on the basis of ethnicity/race/etc. simply because *no other perspective was even considered/noticed outside of the 13-39 Male, predominantly white race demographic.*

So while I see your point, I don't think it stands up very well given the current gaming climate. Women's games are not niche-fillers or even software engineered for a gender - they are simply a new idea of game, that uses a completely different demographic as it's inspiration.

23meg
May 20th, 2005, 01:47 AM
Half-Life2 wasn't engineered on the basis of ethnicity/race/etc. simply because *no other perspective was even considered/noticed outside of the 13-39 Male, predominantly white race demographic.*

the fact that no other perspective has ever been considered is kind of fascist in itself, and shows that the mainstream gaming industry is indeed basing its products on a particular gender. and when you take into account phenomena like adult gaming (which is very popular in japan), "cop chase" arcade games of the 90s where the "guilty" or "bad" guy is often black, and the multi-culturalist, eclecticist nature of some very popular games such as The Sims series it's obvious that sexuality, race, and local cultures can all be exploited as long as doing so sells, and it does sell. and the case isn't any different with, say, the tv or the movie industries.


Women's games are not niche-fillers or even software engineered for a gender - they are simply a new idea of game, that uses a completely different demographic as it's inspiration.

i'm not classifying women's games as discussed here as niche-fillers; i think that came across the wrong way. here (http://www.ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=35656) you're actually inventing a necessity out of the blue (as opposed to finding an existing niche) and taking the appropriate actions to create something from the ground up, with regard to what everyone else is saying. what i'm calling niche-fillers is the opposite approach, that of the mainstream industries, the top-down, demographic approach that detects a niche, analyzes it, and carefully prepares the product that will sell the most to that niche. sounds like open source vs. proprietary, doesn't it :)

23meg
May 20th, 2005, 01:54 AM
some relevant links:

http://www.gamegirladvance.com/
http://www.game-research.com/
http://www.academic-gamers.org
http://www.gamestudies.org/
http://grandtextauto.gatech.edu/

kassetra
May 20th, 2005, 01:58 AM
i'm not classifying women's games as discussed here as niche-fillers; i think that came across the wrong way. here you're actually inventing a necessity out of the blue (as opposed to finding an existing niche) and taking the appropriate actions to create something from the ground up, with regard to what everyone else is saying. what i'm calling niche-fillers is the opposite approach, that of the mainstream industries, the top-down, demographic approach that detects a niche, analyzes it, and carefully prepares the product that will sell the most to that niche. sounds like open source vs. proprietary, doesn't it :)

LOL I kind of like that analogy...

One of the worst-kept secret sayings around Microsoft when it comes to packaging/promoting software, with regard to much of their "home-based" / "education-based" software is this:
"Make it sound appealing to the soccer moms or else they won't allow their husbands to buy it!"
Which classifies just about exactly what you're talking about in demeaning language.

Zenith_
May 20th, 2005, 02:20 AM
As much as developers (of games especially) should have at least some portion of blame placed on them, I also think that women as a whole aren't all that vocal about what they want. Obviously this is for varying reasons, and I'm certainly not proportioning blame here, but it's not often you hear a woman talk about what they'd like from a game. It has changed a little I think in the past couple of years, but it's still quite a small voice.

Female gamers are definately still a minority. I'm not sure if that's because most women aren't interested in games, or because the right game for them hasn't come along yet. A personal observation does point to the former, I've tried many a time to get family members/friends interested in gaming but just get a glazed over look in return. :D Most of them don't ever go near a computer much less play games. This is my own personal experience though and obviously only represents a very small section of women.

On the flip side of that, from playing MMORPG's (especially World of Warcraft I've noticed), there's definately been a steady increase in the female gaming population over the last year or so. So we are getting there!

kassetra
May 20th, 2005, 02:31 AM
I also think that women as a whole aren't all that vocal about what they want.

Female gamers are definately still a minority. I'm not sure if that's because most women aren't interested in games, or because the right game for them hasn't come along yet.

When I started researching user interfaces as a psychological experiment, there were a few surprising datasets I came across: (these are the general trends of the Women that participated in these studies)

1. The Women in these studies preferred not to use a computer to do tasks for fear of doing something wrong and "breaking it."
2. The Women in these studies didn't want to appear to be "stupid" in comparison to male computer users. (They weren't being compared to the male users, btw, nor were the male users in this study more computer literate than their female counterparts.)
3. Once the Women in the studies were shown how to do a task, they rapidly understood the basic principles behind how the task worked - typically through a fast-pased series of trial and error.
4. The Women in these studies were very interested in computers and other aspects of computing, but were hesitant to voice their opinion due to a lack of technical confidence.
5. Of all of the entertainment interfaces presented - the Women in this study preferred the interface behind "Solitaire" overwhelmingly (98%) - when asked why, the general consensus was that it was intuitive - they could "pick up the cards."
-

Given this dataset (not that I'm saying it represents all Women, mind you) - it's no wonder women aren't interested in the traditional computer gaming ideas!

As for your question as to whether they aren't interested or if the right game hasn't come around yet - I'd say you're right, in both counts - which is what I want to change. :)

bored2k
May 20th, 2005, 02:42 AM
Out of curiosity, do any of you read GirlSpy (http://www.gamespy.com/articles/593/593813p1.html?fromint=1) ? Zoe has some good ideas .. she's great. There's also the -probably- most popular female gamer ever, Morgan Webb (http://www.morganwebb.com/), but she's a *blushes* goddess :roll: ..

http://www.g4tv.com/host/46/Morgan_Webb/index.html

Zenith_
May 20th, 2005, 02:45 AM
1. The Women in these studies preferred not to use a computer to do tasks for fear of doing something wrong and "breaking it."

That is soooo not true in my case, I fiddle, break, then fix (well, hopefully fix anyway, lol).

The second point is true for me though, if for nothing else other than sheer stubborness (I am quite capable on a PC, but it's a very last resort to ask my husband for help if I get stuck). :D But I can totally understand how some women feel that way.

I see what you're saying though. Interesting set of results. I think a lot of women definately still see the computer as a male toy, when nothing could be further from the truth. I've recently been trying to convince my mother to get a computer (no easy task I can tell you). I know for a fact that once she starts using one she'd love it, but convincing her of that isn't easy. She has a real fear of them - and a definate fear of looking stupid. I think I've just about managed to talk her into attending some computer beginners classes, I'm hoping after that I'll finally convince her to buy one.

I think a lot of women, especially in the older age bracket, are the same. Gaming - that's a whole different ballgame, I don't think I'll ever convince her of the benefits of that. :D

Zenith_
May 20th, 2005, 02:50 AM
Being completely honest I generally steer away from gender issues in gaming, so I wouldn't read that sort of thing. I've joined in here only because I happened across it while looking for info on Ubuntu, and it seemed an interesting discussion. :)

This isn't because I don't feel it's something deserving of more attention, more because I don't really give two hoots who a game is aimed at - I either like it or I don't. Rightly or wrongly I don't tend to think about it further than that in the normal course of my gaming or indeed computing life - I just get on with it. Places dedicated specifically to womens issues of any kind don't generally attract me. Maybe I'm letting the side down a bit there, I don't know, that's just how I am. :)

kassetra
May 20th, 2005, 02:56 AM
That is soooo not true in my case, I fiddle, break, then fix (well, hopefully fix anyway, lol).

I think a lot of women definately still see the computer as a male toy, when nothing could be further from the truth.

Not true for me either - but most of the people in this study were not avid computer users. :)

What scares me is that many younger women do not like using computers because of a newer idea that "it breaks all the time and you always have to have some tech guy come fix it." ... (that was from a different dataset.) So now it's more of a "made by males for males" kind of attitude, which definitely is not the case.

(p.s. My mom LOVES games now... she uses her computer for banking, games, games, games, and IM'ing me. It's my DAD that has the issue with computers... heh.)

kassetra
May 20th, 2005, 02:57 AM
Places dedicated specifically to womens issues of any kind don't generally attract me. Maybe I'm letting the side down a bit there, I don't know, that's just how I am. :)

Ubuntu is different. The Ubuntu Forums are different. :) Different is good.

Zenith_
May 20th, 2005, 03:23 AM
Ubuntu is different. The Ubuntu Forums are different. :) Different is good.

Can't argue with that. :)

This gender discussion is the exception for me, as I just happened to stumble across it. Perhaps what I should have said is that I don't specifically go looking for gender based sites. Yep, that sounds better. :)

Stormy Eyes
May 20th, 2005, 04:04 AM
What I don't grok is why there's such a fuss over making games "appeal to" women. Why not worry more about making sure that a particular game doesn't turn off women instead, whether it's by being obnoxiously sexist or just having too many female models whose busts are way out of proportion to the rest of their bodies and are wearing next to nothing in the bargain? I'm starting to suspect that there's something to the charge that excessive violence and gratuitous T&A is a good way to spot a crappy game.

bored2k
May 20th, 2005, 04:18 AM
What I don't grok is why there's such a fuss over making games "appeal to" women. Why not worry more about making sure that a particular game doesn't turn off women instead, whether it's by being obnoxiously sexist or just having too many female models whose busts are way out of proportion to the rest of their bodies and are wearing next to nothing in the bargain? I'm starting to suspect that there's something to the charge that excessive violence and gratuitous T&A is a good way to spot a crappy game.
Some women are starting to play violent games nowadays. It's cool because it is no longer a "men's only" genre, but it's also uncool because excent violent/profane games are never good. It's a real game developers and publicists are making the focus of their ads "babes" with clothes thin enough to see their souls. It was a real pitty to see how the first anual Video-Game Awards on SpikeTV went off. Even high level journalists from gamespy.com were ashamed by this. In case some of you don't know, it was just a showcase of what Stormy Eyes describes as crappy: a representation of Violence and T&A. From rappers who do nothing more than influence violence, "babes" who were doing nothing other than bent over , it's a shame to see how the industry is shaping up.

I agree with S-Eyes. There shouldn't be a "boys/girls" division. But creating something that doesn't make any of the two parties want to puke.


The Representation of Females in Gaming (http://archive.gamespy.com/editorials/september00/females/)

Stormy Eyes
May 20th, 2005, 04:40 AM
I agree with S-Eyes. There shouldn't be a "boys/girls" division. But creating something that doesn't make any of the two parties want to puke.

Exactly. I doubt that Hironobu Sakaguchi or anybody else at Square Enix was aiming specifically at female gamers when they did Final Fantasy IX, but that hasn't stopped my wife from loving the game as a whole, sympathizing with the female characters Garnet and Freya, laughing at the hero's antics, or wanting to give little Vivi the Black Mage a big hug. Nor has she gotten over the humor behind the Kuja Principle: in most Japanese animation/videogames: the villain is usually a long-haired prettyboy.

bored2k
May 20th, 2005, 04:47 AM
Exactly. I doubt that Hironobu Sakaguchi or anybody else at Square Enix was aiming specifically at female gamers when they did Final Fantasy IX, but that hasn't stopped my wife from loving the game as a whole, sympathizing with the female characters Garnet and Freya, laughing at the hero's antics, or wanting to give little Vivi the Black Mage a big hug. Nor has she gotten over the humor behind the Kuja Principle: in most Japanese animation/videogames: the villain is usually a long-haired prettyboy.
LoL that is true. Sephirot, Liquid Snake, Kenshin Himura (he was the villain in the OVAs), Bison (Vega in USA), Vicious (C.Bebop), the kids from KIngdom Hearts, [long] etc. That is true lol !

tread
May 20th, 2005, 11:55 PM
1. The Women in these studies preferred not to use a computer to do tasks for fear of doing something wrong and "breaking it."

This is true, I observed it in a class I had to assist in teaching. The women in the class took a long time to get over the initial nervousness around computers .. though they became good programmers pretty quickly.

Another thing - I see that computer classes (in college at least) are almost exclusively male .. I had 3 girls in my class for a CS1 course, and 1 for a CS2 course. This is something I observed here in the United States .. in India there is an equal distribution on computer classes. Any thoughts on why this would be so?

bored2k
May 21st, 2005, 12:04 AM
This is true, I observed it in a class I had to assist in teaching. The women in the class took a long time to get over the initial nervousness around computers .. though they became good programmers pretty quickly.

Another thing - I see that computer classes (in college at least) are almost exclusively male

In my country [Dominican Republic] is a bit different. We barely have any females on specialized courses like Programming, Linux, but we do get a fairly good amount of them in generalized "howto use a computer: Office, Windows, Internet.". In college, I'd say about 30-40% of the students studying Systems Engineering are femmes. I think the " fear " of breaking stuff depends on the teacher. If you have someone teaching you Linux and all you hear him say is "You do this the X way but WATCHOUT because you might render your machina unconscious if you mistake X for the Y way!". These type of things make a begginer frightened about computers, often saying "they're just too delicate".

In college, most of the time they get better grades in programming/network classes. They know more? I don't know. Do they study more than les hommes and try to do their best better than us? They sure do.

poofyhairguy
May 21st, 2005, 04:39 AM
Any thoughts on why this would be so?

Because ever since the Tech bubble burst, nerdy things are no longer "cool." A lot less men AND women are in the industry. My Indian friends (my school has a large asian population) tell me that there engineering and tech is cool because it is seen as a way to get a better life (in this case meaning more material comfort, of course what makes life good are different for everybody).

poofyhairguy
May 21st, 2005, 04:53 AM
I'm not sure if that's because most women aren't interested in games, or because the right game for them hasn't come along yet.


Not true. The Sims has been out for a while, and as far as the "female demographic" is concerned it the most successful game ever. I think by studying it, ideas can be gained. For example, two interesting things about the Sims:

1. Its easy to pick up, but is very hard to master.

2. You can't "win" in the tradition game sense.

Both seem to mesh well with what I learned in my female psycology class....

poofyhairguy
May 21st, 2005, 05:19 AM
[QUOTE=Stormy Eyes]Exactly. I doubt that Hironobu Sakaguchi or anybody else at Square Enix was aiming specifically at female gamers when they did Final Fantasy IX, but that hasn't stopped my wife from loving the game as a whole, sympathizing with the female characters Garnet and Freya, laughing at the hero's antics, or wanting to give little Vivi the Black Mage a big hug.[ /QUOTE]



As a WAY offtopic sidenote- this game really shines on a modern emulator with some filtering.

halus
June 9th, 2005, 03:47 AM
Not true. The Sims has been out for a while, and as far as the "female demographic" is concerned it the most successful game ever. I think by studying it, ideas can be gained. For example, two interesting things about the Sims:

1. Its easy to pick up, but is very hard to master.

2. You can't "win" in the tradition game sense.

Both seem to mesh well with what I learned in my female psycology class....

Intresting.

I have heard that those Massive multiplayer online games, like World of Warcraft, are quite popular by women. Also the kind of small online games, like you find in Yahoo Games, like Backgammon with chat, have more female users than men users. In fact this information is coming from a developer of a coming MMORPG (Medieval Kingdom(s?), I think it will be called). He also had references to the Sims. Their game will be alot (way more than existing mmorpgs) about social interaction, building societies, and have a lot of minigames whitin the main game. Anyway, I think it makes sense to consider womens high social intelligens, when discussing women and games. At least I think Women have higher social intelligens, in general, than us men. Is that disputable? Maybe it is possible to assume a higher need for social interaction by women? and women getting more joy out of social interaction? And that aspect, getting joy out of and need for social interaction, reinforces when being better at social interactions?

bored2k
June 9th, 2005, 03:52 AM
Intresting.

I have heard that those Massive multiplayer online games, like World of Warcraft, are quite popular by women.
Ragnarok Online is widely popular amongs les femmes.

jfdill_2
June 9th, 2005, 04:32 AM
1. The Women in these studies preferred not to use a computer to do tasks for fear of doing something wrong and "breaking it."

I'm not a woman, but I remember the first time I was taking apart an external SCSI disk enclosure with 9 GB disk and I made backups, wore a wrist strap, and I was nervous that I would lose the data. Now I pull out a 400 GB disk drive with a cheeseburger in the other hand and it's like no big deal. I think that's an area where a lab setting could be a huge benefit, where you could take computers apart, and it doesn't matter if something "breaks."

I try to do that with my daughter, she's only 6-yr-old but very curious, so I make it easy for her to watch when I work on the computer, tell her what the different parts are for, and she loves it. I upgraded the motherboard in a computer, so I showed her the old one as a sort of "teaching aid" so she knows terms like "North bridge" and "South bridge" and "chipset." It's beyond me to see why she finds it so interesting, except it's what daddy does for a living, but it can't hurt.

PS When she was 3 years old, I had her "install" Red Hat Linux on some computers that I was setting up for a demo to show people how to set up a "dual boot" computer. I pretty much used all of the default settings, so just had her press the Enter key when it was time. I did it to make a point that it's not hard to install linux, and it was a funny little story to tell during the training.

panickedthumb
June 9th, 2005, 05:38 AM
I have built every computer I've owned for years now, and I don't know what a north bridge and a south bridge are ;)

allforcarrie
June 9th, 2005, 10:54 AM
My wife is hooked on wolfenstein ET if the makes a differance in this thread.

DarkKnight
June 9th, 2005, 02:55 PM
Both my mother and sister are die hard RPG fans =)
Although we don't have the netspeed to play MMORPG's, they are dieing to give them a go.

I would have to say that the main difference between male and female gamers is the want for a reason. Most guys will be happy to 'frag' countless AI in the name of fun, but it isn't that simple for a lady.

Brings to mind a joke I got told by my grandad:

Doctor says to a family; "I'm afraid he's going to use a brain transplant."
The doctor continues to say; "Sadly, it is not cheap, a male brain will cost 10,000... or 2,000 for a female brain."
Shocked the family stays silent untill a guy finally pipes up to ask about the price difference.
The doctor replies with a smile; "Well, it's because of the marketplace, we have to sell brains that have been used at a lower price"

Jokes aside, you are far more likely to find a lady playing an RPG then a FPS, although I'm willing to bet this is no surprise to anyone here...