June 9, 2006 7:47 PM PDT

Explaining disconnect between women, video games

SAN FRANCISCO--It's not that women don't understand video games, it's that video games don't understand women.

Or so says Sheri Graner Ray, a game designer for the last 16 years, a veteran of Sony Online Entertainment and the Cartoon Network, and a keynote speaker at the Sex in Video Games conference, held here Thursday and Friday.

In her address, Ray, author of the book "Gender Inclusive Game Design: Expanding the Market" and a longtime spokeswoman for female gamers, offered up an explanation as to why women make up less than 10 percent of the gaming population.

Most video games, Ray argues, are like bad boyfriends--they're too involved with their own male sexuality to even try to crack the female sexual code.

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Video: Sex, games and videotape
Visitors find hot stuff at the Sex in Videogames conference.

Ray pointed to your typical video game heroine: overly endowed, highly sexualized, all but naked.

But "male characters are just as exaggerated as female characters, and women just need to get over it, right?" Ray asked.

Well... not exactly.

While it's true that both male and female characters display the common heroic traits of being young, strong, virile and fertile, Ray said, only the female characters display physical traits humans get when they're ready for sex: partially open mouths with large red lips, heavy eyelids (or "bedroom eyes").

The female characters are also dressed in sexually explicit clothing and placed in sexual poses, whereas the male characters aren't.

These "sex object" images aren't going to appeal to the average female gamer, Ray said.

As part of her presentation, Ray included a slide of some half-dressed, highly sexualized and anatomically perfect male Calvin Klein models.

"Who would be willing to play a character that looks like this?" she asked.

Not surprisingly, in a largely male room, only a few women raised their hands.

But simply sexualizing the male characters wouldn't necessarily do the trick, Ray implied. The fact is, she said, female gamers are concerned with more than just exciting visuals and flashy surfaces.

"Don't trivialize the importance of the emotional experience," she said: Video games need to provide a way for women to have a deeper experience with the characters.

Video game companies that truly want to market to female gamers will provide a way for players to become acquainted with their characters, Ray said, even allowing for an emotional attachment to develop. She suggested that some games could feature an interview section in the tradition of magazines like Seventeen and Tiger Beat, which run photos of teen idols alongside short Q&A sections that reveal casual details: hobbies, tastes and quirks.

In the long run, Ray said, female gamers need more than just action to stay involved, and to illustrate her point, she told of a seminar at which she watched a 13-year-old girl excel at a popular game. Instead of continuing to advance to higher levels, the girl soon got bored and quit playing.

When Ray asked why, the girl said, "I pulled his heart out once, why do I need to do it again?"

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46 comments

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it's all about adrenaline
many games stimulate the production of adrenaline, through death matches, battles, risk, action, suprise, and general survival of the fittest gameplay. Men seem to enjoy these adreanline-induced feelings more than women. Adrenaline can be addictive, esp for men. Women don't get off on adrenaline the same way men do. So you need to design games for women which are not driven by adrenaline fundamentally, but rather induce more feminine feelings (love, security, relationships, etc) that women would rather experience.
Posted by DJ-JD (7 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Exactly
Now I'm not going to generalize and say every woman wants the same thing, because too many people already do, but as far as the portionm of the female demographic they're struggling to understand (not the hardcore), I say this: Instead of stimulating adrenaline... stimulate dopamine.

Give us the chocolate bonbon of videogames. There are many games out there that already do this, games such as Final Fantasy X for instance.

By the time I finished this game, I missed Tidus just as much as Yuna did. All you need to make such a game appeal to a wider demographic of women and not just hardcore gamegals like myself is to streamline all of the pointless repetitive tasks that are used to artificially pad the game's length.


Either give us sensitive male leads we can learn to fall for, or strong (but realistic) female leads who we can feel proud to emulate. As much as Lara Croft has improved of late, I still don't quite feel she's realistic enough in character and motivations to see her as worth wanting to emulate. She's still too much cheesecake.

The zelda series has great potential to reach women in a big way if nintendo would just give link a personality and a voice (even if only through text) so that we can get to know him better.

Developers need to learn to play into our sense of fantasy just as much as they do the fantasies of men, but it will take more women developers just to understand what that even is.
Posted by cryforlife (17 comments )
Link Flag
You'd be wrong about that
Women love adrenaline. Lots of women work in high-energy
environments because of the adrenaline high they get there. ER
and IC personnel come to mind.

Your assumptions about feminine feelings may be mistaken, but
they are rampant among male game designers. Maybe the
reason that women-targeted games (the few there have been)
have largely failed is because the industry needs to get off its
butt and do some studies and find out what women really want.

I can give them a hint though:

1. Engaging Storyline
2. Intelligent gameplay
3. Lots of Action
4. Romance
5. Sex
6. Humor
6. Variety
Posted by Deborah Mitchell (7 comments )
Link Flag
Women have lives
Simply put, women know better than to spend their precious lives glued to a computer, while men, as usual, are fascinated with living in a violent fantasy world instead of lifting a finger to make the real one better. No surprise there.
Posted by kylegas (81 comments )
Reply Link Flag
yeah...right
Sure, women are far too busy making the world a better place....through shopping.
;>)
Posted by pfn92 (8 comments )
Link Flag
Men make time for things they want.
Why the hostility?
Posted by katamari (310 comments )
Link Flag
tell that to the women who were glued to Diablo/II and The Sims
Some guys never saw anything other than the backs of their wives heads for weeks as they finished Diablo
Posted by ackmondual (199 comments )
Link Flag
ha ha ha bless your soul...........
YEAH AIIGHT ******
Posted by TENNSUMITSUMA (4 comments )
Link Flag
Say what?
She obviously hasn't spoken with my wife and 2 daughters that play games (including online) or the women that I work with that are gamers as well.

As usual Sony and many other TRY to think what ppl want instead of asking. Typical know it all Godess Complex designer.

How about you work more on content and software stability..... Oh that would be scandalous!!!
Posted by md_what? (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
I wonder...
"...Ray said, even allowing for an emotional attachment to develop. She suggested that some games could feature an interview section in the tradition of magazines like Seventeen and Tiger Beat, which run photos of teen idols alongside short Q&A sections that reveal casual details: hobbies, tastes and quirks."
I realize that the gaming industy tries to play at teenagers and does so quite successfully Ray's statement actually made me wonder what an interview with a character would do for the game itself? I also realize she could've been just throwing the idea out there but what if she wasn't? She could've very subtly tried passing the buck off of developers not making games interesting to gamers and onto the gamers themselves. Having more insight into a character of a game seems to me like saying, "What the gaming industry needs to do is make these cute little interviews with the characters that'll get more girls you know they like that stuff 'seventeen' does it why can't we?"
Its almost like Ray is telling them not to improve or add a better storyline just push mediocre games at people with a Q&A section where girls can go and be entertained with a couple pictures and some text.
"'Don't trivialize the importance of the emotional experience,' she said: Video games need to provide a way for women to have a deeper experience with the characters."
I agree with that statement. One important way for the industry to do that is create a more immersive game. I also agree that there needs to be a level of reality for characters. I like what valve has done with the Half-Life 2 character alyx. She has none of the traits Ray said and has only been put in sexual positions by the gamers themselves not the company who created her. Meanwhile Ritual entertainment has done more or less what Ray speaks against. Putting both the main heroine and the main villiness in those sexually explicit clothes. I'm simply using Ritual as an example and the game Sin is supposed to be over the top so don't hate me on those merits. I'm simply pointing out that immersive games are out there both with and without the reality she seems to think games need. Drawing to a close I hope that games of all kinds can continue to be made both over the top and realistically presented and that people will realize that games are just that games.
Posted by Crow120 (21 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Strange . . .
Growing up with all the game systems, I never saw girls not
playing games.

In fact, many teenage girls I see today are playing GameCube or
PC games like the dickens.

My fiancee also plays many, many games. Ridge Racer V was a
favorite game of her's in 2000 on my prototype/trial PS2. She
also likes Daytona USA, many Mario games, Pokemon, etc., etc.
She's 30, so she grew up with gaming in all of it's form.

In school, Oregon Trail was a game girls fought over to get the
diskettes (yes, floppies) to play with. Carmen Sandiego was
another.

In my neighborhood in Las Vegas, a girl with a Tandy kept
pirating all of my games for older PCs, like Larry 1/2/3, KQ
1/2/3/4/5 (EGA version), Monkey Island, etc., etc.

Then my partner in crime, Composer #N-64, has an ex who
played tons of emu ROMs and N64 versions of Zelda.

A girl I dated when I was 19 traded games with me all the time
for N64 and Dreamcast, playing many of them all the way
through, and being obsessed with completing the games.

At UNLV and CCSN, many girls use the cybercafes for LAN
games, outlasting the guys by hours every night.

Like I wrote in the subject-line, "Strange . . ."

Programmer #A-5 of www.totallyparanoia.com
Posted by fakespam (239 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Actually
I think this is where the person diverges... me personally, I'm not much of an adrenaline gal because I've had to deal with physical abuse in the past. So for me, I'd like to avoid adrenaline if at all possible.

And I think that's the #1 problem in trying to court female gamers is that not all women want the same things, they need to go with a multi-faceted approach, because we're not one game fits all any more than men are. But these are some avenues they can explore.
Posted by cryforlife (17 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Wrong, wrong and wrong!
1) girls like sexy girls.. look at teen mags.. that they wouldn't want to play a sexy heroine... wrong!
2) I've organized a local Go (the board game) club. I've consciously tried to recruite more women.. result: only 1 woman out of 15.. Is Go a sexualized game?
3) This stuff with emotion.. I would say you don't understand what game is ... game is not a soap..!
Posted by kildares (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Bizarre logic path...
I don't disagree with Ray's analysis of female characters in video games -- yes, they are overly sexual, and (as a male) I have always disliked that. I prefer neutral overtones.

In fact, one of the best puzzle/adventure games I've ever played involved a heroine who was not overly voluptuous, and looked NORMAL. That aspect made it more enjoyable, since I personally don't like looking at women as objects. The game is called Syberia, and has a sequel to boot.

However, there is a deeper message within Ray's analysis... something that's more personal. Why would someone use counter-examples of male Calvin Klein models? Two wrongs doesn't make a right.

Most women I know don't have a problem with the "sexuality" aspect of female characters in video games -- most just simply don't like gaming. Is that hard to understand? It doesn't have to do with pro-male or anti-female agenda, which is what I feel Ray's discussion tries to lead people into believing.

It doesn't matter to me if you've been involved with video games for 16 years -- I have a female friend who's in her 30s and we've known one another for almost 15 years. She never liked video games (excluding Metroid or Zelda), but the instant World of Warcraft came out, she's been addicted ever since -- a game with sexual overtones of its characters (especially the humans and elves).

Women seem to enjoy puzzle and thought-provoking games more anyways. But then again, as a man, so do I. :-)
Posted by katamari (310 comments )
Reply Link Flag
counterexample and alternative explanation
If sexy images of women turn women away from a product, then all the editors of Cosmo, Vogue, Elle, and all their advertisers are really, really mistaken.

Look to games where women outnumber men in the player base. All contain social interaction as a central or primary component.

Leveling is boring and "ripping out the heart again" is just plain tedious. Men aren't as repelled by this lack of imagination in games as are women. Other people are infinitely more interesting than climing a level heirarchy and will likely continue to be so.

(last I checked, I was male, but my wife is an avid gamer too)
Posted by fydfyd (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
counterexamples and better explanation
If sexy images of women turn women away from a product then all the editors of Cosmo, Vogue, Elle, and all their advertisers are really, really mistaken.

Look to games where women outnumber men in the player base. All contain social interaction as a central or primary component.

Leveling is boring and "ripping out the heart again" is just plain tedious. Men aren't as repelled by this lack of imagination in games as are women. Other people are infinitely more interesting than climing a level ladder and will likely continue to be so.
Posted by fydfyd (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Here is what they like
My whole family plays City of Heroes. That's 2 females and 2 males. We both like it, for different reasons.

The females like the ability to design the outfits of the characters, and to have many outfits per character. It is not uncommon for them to spend more than an hour designing the visual appearance of a character. They aren't particularly interested in leveling fast, but good team interaction is important. They are more likely to be healers, because the appreciation of other players is more important than doing massive damage.

They enjoy the action and adrenalin, but they also enjoy just flying around to find lower level characters that have died so they can resurrect them.

They are much more likely to write a "storyline" about their character, and to read the storyline of others.

They don't like making nearly-naked female characters, nor being in teams that have them. Most nearly-naked female characters are actually males.

They like making interesting, powerful-looking female characters.

With female players, success should not be measured by whether they progress to the higher levels of the game, but whether they keep playing. The females in my family keep playing because they can keep making new varieties of characters and outfits, and can interact and make friends while enjoying exciting action.
Posted by brianh59 (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Don't speak for others, we didn't ask you to.
I have been playing COH since second round beta, I registered two years in advance to play. Heard about it at GenCon a couple years before hand. Guess what though? I'm a woman! A 32 year old women who goes to a gaming convention, not only that one but others AND science fiction conventions. I am not the booth babe or the chick in chainmail, I am there for the games.

Sure it's fun to design a character, but I do not spend hours or days doing it. In fact, my friend, who is male, spent 3 days just thinking up weird punn-y names and designing characters before he ever started to play them.

I am an alt-a-holic, sure, but I have a server full of high level heroes and you bet your ass I would much rather do anything but stand around healing and rezzing. My one healer on my old main server, Virtue, is at 25 and has been there for at least a year. I only take her out for emergencies when de-buffers and bubblers aren't enough, hardly ever happens else she would have leveled by now. I have two controllers who would be more useful in a fight than my healer who might do some decent damage, but people only ever want to me stand around and heal or I get bored doing it with my regular groups.

I find being ONLY a healer is really pointless. I like to multi-task and do a lot of things at once. My first level 50 was a mind/kinetics controller with the leadership pool and teleport. There was never a moment where I had nothing to do.

There is no point, to me, in standing around being a heal bot. It is a waste of my skill. I could be out soloing with a different character, rather than supporting someone who is better off with a de-buffer who can ALSO control the mobs than a healer.

You sir, have no idea what the real women of COH and COV are like. There are a lot more of us than you think, and judging by the separate LJ community I'm in, they are nothing like the people you know. Not a thing! They are not unusual or unique in the world, they are average players who just happen to be women.

By the way, the majority of my characters are scrappers and tankers, although controllers and tanks are my favorite.

Just another note, not only do I play both COH and COV, but I have been playing video games since I could hold a controller. My first was the Pong system my uncle had, but eventually I got a Bally's Professional Arcade, a Colecovision and then an Atari 2600 attachment for it. I have just about every major video game console since that pong system, I inherited it from my Uncle when he passed away. I am constantly on the look out for some obscure system or game that I don't already have in my collection.

Don't lump me in with all the vapid women of the world who think that "girls don't actually play games."
Some of us can think for ourselves and decide what we like on our own. I like SMASHING things in mayhem. Brutes and Corruptors are my favorite in COV, I would rather de-buff than heal , or hit someone with a really large stone hammer and watch the screen shake.
Of course I like teaming, or else I'd not be playing an MMORPG. It's just that when I team, I prefer a team of people who don't rush head long into combat and get me killed repeatedly. I like teaming because the leveling is more fun and much faster than solo. I have soloed every AT in the game, so don't begin to tell me that I do not understand it and that there should be more dainty "non-fighting" things to do in it.

I'm not your screaming teen, I detest gossip of this age, I don't watch E! or reality television of any sort. I am also sick and tired of this stereotype of women gamers. I am not a thing, I am a person, and individual. So sorry I don't fit into your particular mold of what a woman should act like. I am a woman, not a girl, a grrl or just a female.

Stuff that in your hat and keep the speaking up about "what women want" to the people whom are actual women.

Eryn Tzun
www.tzun.com
Posted by ErynTzun (2 comments )
Link Flag
We're not animals.
All valid points are made thus far, but why are the posters in this
forum using animal terms like 'male' and 'female' instead of men
and women, or girls and boys, or dudes and chicks? It's very
unnatural to read the posting like this, because it makes me feel
that our species has be reduced to the same level as a dog or
cat.

Even the article's title uses the word women to describe a
woman, and I recall girl being written there, too, which leads to
a better, more natural style of expression.

Please reserve the words 'male' and 'female' to animals other
than humans.

If you don't like what I've written, too bad, too sad.

Programmer #A-5 of www.totallyparanoia.com
Posted by fakespam (239 comments )
Reply Link Flag
The disconnect between this woman and reality.
There are so many things wrong with this article its not even funny. I only know two women who dont play games, one of which is my 85 year old grandmother. Youll be hard pressed to find a girl who /does not/ like games in this day and age. In fact, the person who introduced me to gaming when I was little (with Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, and Doom2 no less) was my mother.

Yes, shock, women like first person shooters. Give me the blood and gore over vapid teen magazine quizzes any day. I dont want to interview a character in game or do some ditzy quiz; I want to play a game. To suggest such is an insult to any intelligent woman. The fact this woman even suggested such a ludicrous concept is proof positive she doesnt know a thing about the gaming world. I like scantily clad women in my games. I like the adrenaline rush. I like the competition. This article plays on antiquated stereotypes and the absurd notion that girls dont like games!

I find it shameful that this woman claims to speak for women yet she doesnt have the foggiest idea of what any of us like in games. I think if she took the time to really interview people instead of pulling statistics out of thin air and promoting her personal opinions, shed be shocked.
Posted by GrowlypantsMcGee (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
How about a word a woman who actually plays all types of games.
I've been playing games pretty much my entire life. I don't mind the blood and gore in them, I like to beat things up in the style of Hong Kong martial arts movies. I enjoy City of Heroes/Villains very much, and have been playing for over two years. Whoever wrote this article and the person they spoke to should not be speaking for the average women who is inclined to play games. They don't actually know any of us, and I doubt they'd understand our need to just enjoy playing a good game.
I like games and I would never in my life play a game aimed at girls or women. You know why? Most of them treat us like we have a difficult time picking up how to play, or treat us like we don't have a brain in our head. I do not want to brush the pony or do anything "girl game related" but beat the hell out of Mary Kate and Ashly for making the worst line of games ever in the history of games. I don't even really like puzzle games, there's only one I might play if I'm very bored and just have a few minutes, Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo. I am so sick of Tetris, who the heck would still play that game after 25 years of not really changing? If I were to play a newer puzzle game, you bet it would be Lumines where there is at least some innovation.

Some of us prefer to be treated like human beings, not easily offended people who can't look at half naked women, and men, in these games. If <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Thompson_(attorney)">Jack Thompson</a> were to have anything to do with this, he would assume that games are ruining our boys, well hell, if that's the case than since I've been playing my whole life I should be a mentally inept adult with the reading skill level just above grade 3 because I also happen to be a woman! I listened to rap music growing up, but I think Howard Stern is overrated.

I hate to break it to you people, but some of us understand that marketers know the only way to sell their terrible game is sex alone. Wouldn't want to sell your crappy game based on the merits of it being a good game! They think we'll fall for it, which many of us will not.
Speaking as a woman, I like good games. I don't care what system it's on, I am not a fan of any particular system to the point of bashing other people that are. If there is a good game on the PC, I'll make it a point to try to find a demo on GameSpot or borrow it from someone, eventually pick I'll pick it up. If there is a good game on GameCube, I can rent it, and pick that up if I like it, the same goes for any of the big 3 systems and the two main portables.

There is nothing in this universe to stop me from playing a good game, not "boobs," not some "fake blood." If it is a well designed, and thought out game, real gamers like me will want to play it. If the unrealistic bouncing in Dead or Alive 2 gets on my nerves, guess what, I can just not play or turn it off! If I get sick of the constant butt in my face in a 3rd person action adventure game, I can choose another game that is less like Fan-service and might be an RTS. As it is, I don't mind it, it is not a real person and I'm not about to start dressing like the women in the game. Too bad for those that might imagine we are that easily manipulated.

I also couldn't fathom why anyone would think that children could learn to fire a real weapon from a LIGHT GUN, with no reload slot on them, no reason to maintain them, unless you consider dusting them and untangling the cord a good comparison to cleaning and taking apart a real gun. I mean, come on! You think I could learn to fire an AK47 after I've played House of the Dead III on my X-box?

I have not ever been interested in firing an actual gun at a person. I didn't hang around juvenile delinquents as a child, whom also liked to fire guns in real life. Light gun games are fun, good training of the reflexes, and a harmless release after work. I would never think to do that to someone in reality. Yet, here is this article claiming to know what women want in games. While I'm at it, squirt guns didn't make me grow up into a violent misanthrope with detachment from reality, wanting to snipe people who disagree with me.

What I want is for other women who do not play games, to learn from those of us that do. It is okay to encourage your child to play games, as long as you think they are emotionally ready to handle the balance of school and games. Plenty of kids go overboard and do nothing but play games. This goes for the players of The Sims as well as for those who like MMOs and first person shooters. Gaming with your friends is fun, a cheap way to pass the time, and it forces you to learn cooperation in the case of many multi-player games. You're not going to get less intelligent from playing a game, in fact most of gamers I know do very well in school or are highly articulate. These are not the leet speaking, drooling morons, making large breasted characters with demeaning names who ruin game play for the rest of us. These are people who stick around and play for extended periods of time, these are people who put thought behind their character or at least enough to avoid putting a dash or an apostrophe in it in order to use something that's a violation of the EULA, or something that is latently racist or sexist in the unimaginative sort of way that idiots do.

I am an adult, and I'll do what I damn well please with my life. Much of it includes playing games, but just like any male gamer out there, I do have other interests. None of them include sports or mind numbingly stupid reality television like American Idol. Talk about a waste of time, a tv show promoting people who might be famous for 5 years before they get to old to be "popular" who cares about "actual talent."

If you are offended by a CGI woman or man, then you need a reality check. I think that women with huge boobs in games look really dumb, and pretty much fake considering that most designers can't seem to make large breasts look like more than pointy beach balls. So it's hard to take them seriously, let alone be offended. Most of the time, it's laughable when people make them in COH, so much so that if someone asked me to join their team with a stupid name and huge breasts, I'd walk away. Those people are the kind that usually get everyone killed. If you're in the game only because of the design, you aren't a real gamer.

I play with a ton of other people who consider themselves hard core to casual gamers, and the majority of them are decent, respectful men and women who are geeky or just like to relax in their down time. Games are harming people about as much as a movie harms someone. If you have previous mental instability, you are probably not going to react well to violence or sexual content in a game. Really though, how many M rated games are out there? The majority of games are rated E, then T, and the lowest amount M for Mature. You constantly rag on GTA and Tomb Raider, but forget to mention games like Spore, Sim City and Civilization IV, to which reach a much wider general audience than Grand Theft Auto ever will.

I am a thinking person, I do not want a game thrown at me and just because it's popular, it's got Lara Croft on the cover, so therefore everyone needs to buy it! Forget that, I want a good game marketed to me "as a gamer" and then I might pick it up if I feel it is worth my time. The current Tomb Raider, why sure I will gave it a try. The previous utterly worthless Tomb Raider? Not a chance would I pay for it. Enter the Matrix? Every single person claiming to be a fan bought that game. Was it any good? Not unless you like far too easy, bug filled games that give you a headache. Pushing a game out just to meet the release date of the movie, not going to work on most of us who know that 95% of media based games are awful abominations which don't live up to the original content.

Video games are an investment, just like any other collection people enjoy. If you want to assume that because I'm a women that I don't understand these games, or that none of my equals in the gaming community are as rabid as I am about games, you would be wrong.

I am sick and tired of other people projecting this stereotype to the world that "girls just don't play games." We have and we always will, it does not help that the rest of you are pushing onto the entire world that we don't play. My best friend growing up played games with me, she was also a girl. We had to literally fight with her brother to use the Atari before I got a Colecovision with an Atari expansion.

You are marketing strictly at males that WE don't play, so a lot of younger girls see this and assume men would hate it if we did play. Some of the males I've played with constantly try to "instruct" me how to play, when I am far better off learning on my own. So when children grow up in that environment they grow up to be females who think it's "unfeminine" to play and they couldn't possibly "get" how to do it. Rather than appealing to people just as human beings. Do you know how many men who think it's awesome that I play games? Quite a lot, and this is from working for a game store for 3 years. It certainly wasn't their choice to market games strictly appealing to them, or emphasize sex over the game being good. If you've got the courage to market your game, you will make it good and it will speak for itself. There are very few men who are offended by my willingness to play games, so why must you add your ridiculous assumptive article to the already full line of uninformed journalists online?

When you talk about gamers, you talk AT men, you don't remember that people as thinking creatures are not those who like to be talked down to. If you make a good game, and you make a cleaver campaign to entice people into playing, then I'm going to try it. If you make a awful misstep like Sony did with the PSP, then I am going to be reluctant to pay because of the almost racist and very much uncool marketing they put forth representing their hand held game system.

I realize that I am outside the norm, since I don't just buy up every Greatest Hits game out there. I am very picky about my games, if I'm going to spend $50 or $60 on something, it better be fun and it better last more than 20 hours. I worked for a game store, so you bet that any time a mother or father came around looking for a game for their young girl, I did everything in my power to direct them away from Barbie Horse Adventure and Britney's Dance Beat. Bad games with far superior counterparts such as Jak and Daxter and DDR.

I encourage parents to take a look at the maturity level of their kids and realize the girls can handle things at a much earlier age than boys, so why the hell try and protect them from what the rest of the world perceives them as?
We're not all afraid to defend ourselves, we can sit in a horror movie and like it just as well as a guy can, some of us like the action as well as the stories that go with them. It's too bad that some game companies have trouble resolving the issue of a good story and combining it with a good game.

Make good games and stop pushing forward the belief that girls shouldn't be playing games, because it's not something they're good at or are interested in. That's a big fat lie.
You enable that belief by only showing the negative aspects in every one of these types of articles. I don't see any concrete evidence that I'm any better or worse in this area. So prove to me that having less sex or violence in a game will make the game unappealing to men, or prove to me that having more half naked men will attract more women to the industry.

Treat me like a human being, who cares what gender I happen to be? I've got money, I'll buy your game. Stop acting like I'm an alien from another planet and treat me with some respect.
Posted by ErynTzun (2 comments )
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Your aboslutely right
I'm a teenage girl who loves to play video games
I don't want to play a game where I get to run around and play with a pony. I actually love the one-shooter games, it's a great thing to pass the time when your bored, when your stressed, or on a rainy day.
I have never ONCE thought about actually killing someone. Some of my friends who are girls love games, and a lot of my guy friends love games.

I agree with you COMPLETELY
Your awesome =)
Posted by Googlebash (1 comment )
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women and technology
I know there are women that play all kinds of games... they say 10%.
but maybe the real problem is not only the games but the technology as a whole: pc , console, gamepad etc. I don't think women are interested in computer related technologies as much as men.
Posted by atomas123 (12 comments )
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What era do you think this is?
I just read your biaased and ignorant article on female gamers and the disconnect that supposedly exists between women and games.

I play city of heroes and villains, and got my boyfriend into playing it, not the other way around. i dont play the game for the pretty costumes or the oooh, strong females characters that I can pretend to play with in a make believe world. I enjoy the game for what it is, an interactive world filled with other players, both male and female who enjoy the game for what it is.

Next time, check what era your in before you start tossing around generalizations about women and games.
Posted by cypheroftyr (1 comment )
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But, is it true?
Most claims that gender drives what people like to do are unconvincing to me.
Posted by J.G. (837 comments )
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Not everyone is a hard-core gamer
I think games like Nintendogs, Animal Crossing and The Sims 2 are compelling to both men and women because of their open-ended nature.

In my opinion, games that have broader appeal must be very open-ended. They might have some optional specific goals for goal-oriented people, but they would also allow low-key entertainment. This allows everyone to do what he or she wants.

Also, not everyone (man or woman) wants to play for hours a day to advance in level. Many people only want to spend a few minutes here and there as a light diversion, and want to spend most of their time doing something besides playing video games.

Maybe that is the greater disconnect---between hardcore and casual gamers? On average, I'd guess more women are casual gamers, while more men are hardcore gamers.
Posted by bluemist9999 (1020 comments )
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woman player
I got addicted to Lineage II the same time as my boyfriend, prolly a little over a year ago. But, I have to say that once I hit a high level, and leveling is really a grind, I lost interest. He on the other hand is still going strong. We did the whole ventrilo, talking to other people thing as well. I do find that things like, making dinner, etc. do cut into playing time, especially in a game that's so time consuming. That means I can't really party with other people since I have to walk away a lot, and would feel bad being on the ventrilo server explaining that I had to go all the time. I do hop on once in a while, but I find myself wanting to do other things more often than not. The repetetiveness is what's gotten me mostly I think.
Posted by avienndha (1 comment )
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Males are more visual
She says don't overlook the emotional component.

Huh? The only emotional component is the "yuck" you (intially) feel when someone gets their head blown up for the first time! Then it's just fun;-)
Posted by technewsjunkie (1265 comments )
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Women are from . . .
Women are from SecondLife, Men are from Quake.

It's a gross genrality I make but it was more the pun than anything. The basic fact is that men and women are different. Perhaps it will take more women developers before female focused games gain any popularity. Does this happen with more women joining the computer science boys with thick thick glasses or more business school graduates going into gameing house direction and story development?
Posted by jabbotts (492 comments )
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LOL! More emotional games!
Yeah, sounds great. We all need a greater emotional connections and attachement with our video game characters. Let's start with holding hands and grieving their deaths. YUCK!

If this is what it takes for women to get into video games I am all for the disconnect to remain.
Posted by Stan Johnson (322 comments )
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XX chromosomes = XXX offensive?
I'm a gamer, female, and I don't mind playing sexy characters, as long as they don't look weak and silly, e.g., most of the female Tekken characters.

I'm offended more by misogynist attitudes in games, especially the stereotyping of female NPCs - flighty, weak, frightened.

It starts young, too. How rotten is it to hear my son's current hero, Spyro, mutter "Chicks!" in response to a ditzy mermaid? We had to have a big talk about that.

And for the record, I don't need emotion in my games, just intelligent forward motion. Keep a great story progressing, or make the challenges smarter and the moves more clever. If I need romance - well, I've got a husband for that, thanks.
Posted by alistone (2 comments )
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They just don't know..
I disagree with this article entirely. I'm a "gamer girl." I'm a junior in high school and I've loved games since I got introduced to Spyro on the PS. I love the Final Fantasy series and even Soul Calibur!

For my career I'd like to be a fashion designer. But, you know what? I completely dislike clothing/accessory shopping! I love shopping for electronics &#38; games! I'm not saying this for all girls out there, but many that I've seen like to worry about their love live and their looks.

Things I like in a game are characters that I can connect with throughout the storyline! Not with some stupid Q&#38;A like in a teen mags. Not only that but good gameplay. I actually enjoy leveling up. Especially in Kingdom Hearts II, it's actually fun to become stronger and learn more ablilites! I don't mind an occasionlay "sexy" looking character in a game. It doesn't bother me one bit. Games are suppose to be exciting and keep you hooked for days on end.
Posted by ninjachan (1 comment )
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you women are funny
one of my main points is........you women want to bit*h about how little the girls in games are wearing.............ahh LOOK OUT INT THE "REAL WORLD" AND SEE HOW MUCH LESS GIRLS ARE WEARING THAN THE ONES IN THE GAMES AND THEN KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT FROM NOW ON.

Oh..one other thing any girl (gamer or not) that thinks that women are shown as puny helpless beings I games for the most part should 1 wonder why (even today) only men have been on the front lines in wars since the beginning of time. And 2 really shut the F*** UP cause they evidently never went up against nina Williams in tekken. (You male gamer know her dont you&&&..yeah&&&..she been beatn you @$$ like a piƱata hasnt she&&&&&&&.thats right. Anyway)
Im going to spell this out for all of you. Men play videogames. We like sexy women (tifa dead or alive etc) we have it mixed so its two things in one that we like. Now I dont know if women really feel the way this article said. but I say this, much like when they tried to change up the rules of the NFL to better accommodate women and failed miserably so too will the gaming world. Its not going to change. why because as long as guys like sex and girls and there are more guys paying money for and playing games (of which all four will always be true) then the companies (if they know whats good for business) wont fix whats not broken. Videogames became the juggernaut that it is because of men. And we buy games for the ungodly flawless story (final fantasy VII) real life fighting (tekken) and perfect women (dead or alive) among other things. ITS PRETTY F*C*IN SAD THAT SO MANY WOMEN ARE THAT JEALOUS OF THE GIRLS IN THE VIDEOGAMES THAT THEY WHAT TO TRY AND CHANGE IT CAUSE THEY FEEL INADIQUATE OR INFERIOR (which they may just be&&&..i mean those girls on dead or alive&&&that cant be healthy anyway. IF YOU DONT LIKE IT DONT PLAY. AND LEAVE US MALE GAMERS ALONE. its not our fault that fake pretty beats real ugly any day. would you like to see women be fat and have too much make up on or something......hell no keep those girls sexy. But when I (and MOST other guys) play we want to see cool male heroes and villains (like cloud and sephiroth) sexy as Hell girls showing as much as legally possible (like tifa lockheart and mai shiranui) reat sound great graphics and other things.

The only thing that females can do is to make there own games or games "geared" toward females sort of like the WNFL (which I just found out existed) but youre not going to change the way games are now or will be.

P.S. LONG LIVE SONY AND PLAYSTATION
Posted by TENNSUMITSUMA (4 comments )
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