[MUD-Dev] Game design and gender: An interesting article

Caliban Tiresias Darklock caliban at darklock.com
Tue Aug 31 21:38:04 CEST 1999

On 03:12 PM 8/31/1999 -0700, I personally witnessed Matthew Mihaly jumping
up to say:
>On Tue, 31 Aug 1999, Caliban Tiresias Darklock wrote:
>> On 07:43 AM 8/31/1999 -0400, I personally witnessed Jeremy Music
>> \"Sterling\" jumping up to say:
>> >
>> >On Sat, 28 Aug 1999, Marian Griffith wrote:
>> >> 
>> >> There is no such thing as an emergent girl game market. There is only the
>> >> anti-girl marketing.  
>> Not true. A large number of companies have been formed rather recently with
>> the specific aim of making computer games for girls. How well they are
>> doing and whether they will survive is a whole different question.
>That doesn't mean there is an emergent girl game market. 

There exists a market for games whose audience consists primarily of girls,
which can be effectively termed a "girl game market". This market has been
recognised for quite some time, but is only now receiving serious
attention. And this is precisely what "emergent" means. 

So yes, it *does* mean there is an emergent girl game market.

>> Boys will not blink at a sixty dollar price tag. Girls will. This is
>> because...
>That's awfully broad, 

No pun intended, I hope.

>and, I suspect, based purely on anecdotal evidence. 

Which is precisely what virtually all behavioral science consists of: large
bodies of anecdotal evidence. We observe this behavior, so we go somewhere
else and look for it. Why, look, there it is. After you go to enough places
and mark off this behavior in enough instances, well, there you have it --
behavioral patterns. Whether this is actually science can be debated at
great length, but what's the point?

>Chuckle, well, unless you are NOT a man, then by definition, you are
>thinking like a man. 

Thinking "like a" whatever generally means "in a fashion typical to the
average" whatever. I don't normally think like an average anything. 

>In any case, for every fairly true, negative
>stereotype that exists about men, there is one for women.

This isn't about men and women. It's about games. Stereotypes are at issue
because there are generally good reasons for them; they don't normally just
spring out of a vacuum. It is important to remember, however, that these
stereotypes are only relevant insofar as they provide insight into what
qualities a game should have in order to appeal to a certain audience. 

Sure, we could get into a gender war about which market is better to market
to, but it seems pretty obvious that you'll stand the best chance of
success if you do what everybody else succeeds at. Unfortunately, you have
a lot of people like me out here, who don't buy a whole lot of games
because they're largely disappointing -- I bought Unreal, played it a
little, and tossed it off in a corner. It was very pretty and rather fun to
play, but it just didn't hold my interest. One of these days, I'll pull it
back out and try to figure out why.

| Caliban Tiresias Darklock            caliban at darklock.com 
| Darklock Communications          http://www.darklock.com/ 
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