Wednesday, July 28, 2010

What Do Women Gamers Want?

On my reader today, an interesting article jumped out at me, Why Video Game Designers Are Missing The Mark With Women. I went on over and enjoyed what the author had to say.  Especially dealing with the armor/clothing on female characters.

This is not a new complaint.  It even has a Tvtrope.

Stop, from Stoppable Force, provided a great example:

 For a more extreme example check this one out:

Seriously boys.  We get it. You like boobs and skin.  Normally, this doesn’t really annoy me, but when my dwarf paladin is running around Northern in skimpy chainmail, I really must question her intelligence.

However, as a gamer and a woman there were a few other points I wish she had brought up. Now my experience in gaming is a little different than the traditional gamer.  I am VERY picky when it comes to games, and often lose my interest in them just as fast.

Thus, I have only played a very limited number of games, and have seen my brother, father and husband play a bunch more.

Here is my criteria for a game to hold me attention. 
  • Excellent characters and story
  • Forcing the player to think about solutions
  • Engaging world and playability
Which is what I think more women gamers want.

Games with brains.

Yeah, we like to think. We like psychology. We want to spend hours reading through text and getting into a story.  For many, games like KOTOR, Bioshock, Half-life, Halo, Mass Effect gives them the best of both world.

However, my favorite genre of games is not longer popular.

I am a huge fan of point-n-click adventure games.

During the late nineties there was a rush of “adventure” games, like The Longest Journey, Circle of BloodThe Gabriel Knight series, and  Grim Fandango.  RPG’s are okay, but few are able to met these requirements. I have only played one in the last couple of years which has met these points:
Dragon Age, I love you.

These games all had great stories, memorable characters and were challenging.  They didn’t however involve jumping, fighting or trying to time a specific button to cause an effect.

I am not saying those game are not fun, obviously they are,  just not for me.  I am amazed I have played WoW so long because it does require me to do all those things.  However, the great thing about WoW is I don’t have to do this.  I can spend the whole day dancing in Dalaran if I want, or just pick herbs.  The freedom to spend my time anyway I choose, makes me want to tackle a hard instance or healing an impossible situation. 

I want a choice.  I want to be able to achieve the same result by multiple avenues. 

Basically, I want more games like those adventure games.  Games where you could take your time.  Games with mental challenges (if anyone played The Beast Within, you know what I mean when I say “cuckoo clock”) and fantastic stories.  I want real plots and twists.  I want characters I can invest my energy.  I want game control which won’t break my brain. Seriously, if I have to take a college course to figure out how to walk, something is broken.

Do that, and I am loyal. I will buy your stuff years after your last game.

Yes, Jane Jensen, I am looking at you.

What about you ladies in the interwebs? What do you look for in a game?  What brings you back for more? What would you like to see more?

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