The scientist and data junkie in me really liked TL Taylor’s chapter on why women play videogames, because it provided numbers and explanations from women as to why they play these games. I am not a woman, so it gave me some insight as to why they want to play videogames, something that is typically seen as being very masculine. She indicates that women are highly likely to play videogames, especially MMORPG’s and other online games almost as much as men are, and they seem to enjoy the same aspects of the games, such as exploration and discovery, equally as much as any guy would. Why are these games so much more popular to women than other games?
It seems that multiplayer adventure games seem to draw women in more, perhaps because of the social aspect of the game, although that can’t be the only reason. Some of the women being interviewed state that they sometimes like to go solo and play by themselves when they don’t want to interact with other people. Perhaps it is also due to the customization of the characters, the ability to choose hair color, facial features, and clothing. Women also seem to enjoy the exploration aspect of the games, although I don’t quite follow Taylor’s reasoning when it comes to explaining that. Half the purpose of an RPG is to explore, regardless of gender. But perhaps women do feel safer exploring in-game than IRL. Perhaps the violent and sexist nature of FPS’s and other games like them are unattractive to women. The plot revolves around how many bullets you can fire and how many people you can kill, and the women in the games tend to be extremely sexualized.
It doesn’t make sense that games tend to be marketed and designed in such a masculine way. On the surface it does, because of the stereotypes that say men are the only ones that play games, but it doesn’t explain why a videogame production company would be so willing to just write off fifty percent of the population. Television has programs marketed to both groups, and movies are marketed towards everybody. So why aren’t videogames? Somehow, despite the increasing number of female gamers, the industry has completely overlooked making and marketing a game for them. It doesn’t really seem like it would be particularly hard, either. It would have many of the same aspects as current games, but be more up female gamer’s alley. Perhaps the companies are suffering from a lack of female employees, who can more easily indicate what the average female gamer would want. Having a writing staff with women would help too, but that seems to be a problem that is plaguing a lot of media currently. Not making every woman in videogames look like an adolescent boy’s greatest fantasy also might help. It could also be that the companies are just lazy, and don’t want to stop producing games that make money and take a chance on a game that is more female-friendly. Regardless, there is an increasing amount of women playing games, with little to no reaction from the gaming industry.
Please note: I didn’t include any pictures because after a google image search for “girl gamers”, I decided that the pictures were just going to be part of the problem. Apparently, not only do the women in the videogames need to be ridiculously proportioned and well-endowed, but the women who play the games need to be as well.