Games that are female friendly

Discussion in 'Game Design' started by zoombapup, Jul 10, 2006.

  1. Laser Lou

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    The only game I remember that criticizes the player, and this is an old game, is Patton Vs. Rommel; Patton critiques the player's moves after every turn. I actually enjoyed that feature.
     
  2. dmikesell

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    Do you people really refer to a woman as a "female" when you talk or just when you write? It sounds so clinical.
     
  3. zoombapup

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    Jon: I'll get that turn done tommorow, just been stupidly busy this week (buying a house).

    The point of the thread, was that I think we should, if we want to appeal to a casual audience, actually try and understand the audiences needs and wants a bit. If my audience for a game is mainly women, then I feel its my duty as a designer to try and understand that audience. It certainly cant hurt.
     
  4. tentons

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    The only problem I see with that in a game is that you want to always give instructive feedback about an action so the player knows what resulted from that action. You don't want the player to wonder if there's a bug in the game because there was no apparent reaction from a "bad" move. So IMHO you must have some kind of feedback for all game actions. Just be careful to not take things to an extreme, whether that means insensitive negativity or total lack of feedback.
     
  5. Anthony Flack

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    Nope! Wouldn't have a clue. If they don't like what I like then I can't really help.
    "Time's up!" is fine, but "You almost made it!" is patronising and very annoying. Anyway, I thought the casual game rules say that you're doing something wrong if you let the player lose like that... perhaps you should say "Aw, what the heck. Close enough"
     
  6. Christian

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  7. Anthony Flack

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    Hm, it's more than gender bias, though. Videogames are a medium which is much better suited to simulating projectiles than interpersonal relationships. It's very easy to create a computer model of a rock being thrown. It's difficult, and usually unconvincing and largely missing the point, to construct videogames about jealousy and social manoeuvring. So if that is the difference between what men and women want, it's also largely the difference between what videogames are good at compared with other forms of entertainment.

    Shooting and racing and jumping and intercepting targets are just playing to some of the medium's biggest natural strengths, after all. And there's nothing wrong with that - after all, books are great at interpersonal relationships, but absolutely terrible at depicting collisions between moving objects.

    And I thought Ms Pac Man was originally the product of unlicenced ROM hackers, whose product turned out to be better than the original and so was acquired. But I guess they added the bow after that.
     
  8. JPickford

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    I might stick with 'Loser' it makes me laugh.
     
  9. lexaloffle

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    I saw Sheri Graner Ray talk at a small symposium on women and the game industry a few years ago. She didn't talk so much about how to design games that will appeal to women, but rather some common barriers that put women off. The two points that I remember are:

    1. Women have a lower tolerance for punishment in games. If the player is sent back to the start of a level after being hit by a single bullet, a female player is more likely to give up. So perhaps the style of feedback message 'You failed! Loser!' is part of a more general principle, as it contributes to the percieved degree of punishment.

    2. Women aren't put off by female characters with unrealistic body shapes per se - it is the sexualisation of female characters which is off-putting. An elven warrior with erect nipples, slightly open mouth and red cheeks might not seem so out of place in a modern game. But compare this with a dude running around in a thong with a hard-on.
     
    #29 lexaloffle, Jul 12, 2006
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2006
  10. Anthony Flack

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    Stop giving away details of my top-secret game designs.
     
  11. JPickford

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    I'm always a little skeptical about stuff like this. It might technically be true but it might not actually be related to gender at all. Fewer women are avid gamers and they may approach games in a more guarded manner and be more easily put off by negative feedback. In this scenario a non-gaming male would have the exact same response.

    I suspect a lot of the 'women like casual games' stuff is just a reflection that casual games are simply friendlier to people who aren't steeped in video game culture and traditions.
     
  12. Savant

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    I think you have a point but I think the original point is valid as well. As the gaming demographic ages, male and female both, there is a lot less tolerance for wasting their time. Sending me back to the start of a long section because I died is grounds for a shelf moment and an uninstall. I just don't have the time anymore. In my youth, I could sit in front of a game and play for hours and hours to beat a single section. Now, I can maybe get a 1/2 hour in a night - and I want to see new content.

    I'm not saying that games need to be super easy but rather that game designers need to flex their brains a little and come up with new alternatives to death and the standard "back to the start of the level" solution.
     
  13. JPickford

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    I totally agree. We've been suffering from the coin-op mentality for over 20 years now.
     
  14. Anthony Flack

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    Hmm, I think that has been starting to shift away from the "die and repeat" model in the last few years, and we've largely adapted to a "plug away and slowly get through it" system. With unlockables.

    The tricky part is working this constant progress into a game without ballooning the content out to unmanageable levels, and without making the game long and dull. Or too short.

    Man!
     
  15. Bouncer

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    I think women like sex and violence too, it just needs to be presented differently than in your average game.

    I enjoy and watch a lot of films (Ecspecially such films that contain lot's of violence and/or sex) myself and often literally force my girlfriend to watch all kinds of films (even when I know she will not like them :) here's the conclusion:

    Dislikes:: cheap sci-fi, almost all unrealistic monster movies, overly long fighting sequences, weak female characters, pointless female nude scenes (where just tits & ass are shown), simplistic macho male characters.

    Likes: Charismatic male characters with muscle, strong female characters, rough sex scenes with dominating male, violence when 'realistic' or stylish and when there are tough women involved, good storylines and overall realism, but also likes surreal movies with a good story.

    She did like Kill Bill and SinCity a lot for example, both contain strong female characters, but also a lot of violence.

    I don't know what this proves... my girlfriend certainly doesn't represent more than just one type of woman... but there's a huge difference in bad excessive violence (doom and most action and war movies) and good and stylish excessive violence (All Tarantino movies).

    Why doesn't any indie do games that contain lot's of great sex and violence. And I mean adult sex, not some geeky manga or softcore crap.

    Sex and violence with strong male and female characters and a good storyline. I think this would catch the older male and female gamers. Maybe...
     
  16. Christian

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    You are all talking about content, what about play? :confused:

    The Sims is not about simulating physics. Perhaps the problem is that developers are unable to see other ways to use their tools than the obvious use of such tool.
     
    #36 Christian, Jul 12, 2006
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2006
  17. JPickford

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    Well my wife likes that bloke in CSI. So all games should feature CG gore and a lead male character who's slowly going deaf.
     
  18. Anthony Flack

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    No, the Sims illustrates it very well. You can make relationship simulators with computers. But the relationships are, by necessity, extremely simplified and abstracted, and by computer games standards it is still a very complex piece of software to create, even at this primitive level.

    But simulating physics is bread and butter to a computer.

    I'm not saying we shouldn't have life sims. Kudos to Kudos for daring to try it. But compared to books and films, computer games deal with human relationships very badly, and physics very well. So I'm suggesting that there's more than just historical precedent at work - it's probably quite natural that each medium plays to its strengths most of the time.
     
  19. Applewood

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    I don't see what's wrong with that. It's a bit like my wife who always sets me tasks that I can't succeed at!
     
  20. JPickford

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    Think of Maggie Thatcher.
     

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