26 June 2008

Girl Gamers part 1

Another label. It looks like this one is sticking, so it seems time to address it.
First let us look at what it means Girl - female, not yet adult Gamer - someone who plays games.

Well yes there have always been girls who play games. Jump rope is a game, chess is a game, Ace Deuce is a game (I still own you Brent), females both adult and pre-adult have been known to play these games. But the epithet Girl Gamer refers to any female who plays a console, computer or online game. Females have played these for as long as they have been around too, suddenly though we are labeled and they are looking for ways to market to us. Pity they are probably going to ruin some great games that way.

See this is my problem I am not a girl, although I did start gaming when I was one. BUT I am a gamer who happens to be female. Several things started me thinking about this, but the most recent was on Valhalla. See another female approached me said wouldn't it be great if we had an all female Clan. I said "no".

Why you ask? Well gender in not basis for commonality. Yes, there are some things you can say I have in common with other females, they tend to be biological in nature. However, I like playing RPGs and strat games. My friend prefers FPS, another friend will only play things like Bejeweled and dominoes. Yet, we are all female. So when you get us on a place like a MUD we all head in different directions. I go for the quests or off to role play with friends, Elly heads off to the casino or other mini game and Cathy is off to PvP. Same game different aspects. That is what is great about MUDs.

I used to like FPS, when I did I played Doom, Zero Tolerence, and Descent. I liked the graphics and the playability. They were not games made for women they were made for everyone and were good games. Prince of Persia is still one of my favorite games. Last I checked that was not marketed to women. Why do I not play them anymore? I got bored.

Strategy games work for everyone how do you market strategy and tactics to a gender? Either you can counter that attack or you cannot. Gender does not matter when you are besiege and trying to fend off the attackers hoping they starve and lose troops before they manage to undermine your walls. When running pirate ships against a blockade your plumbing is not going to help or hinder the situation. Either the game play is decent and the situation realistic or it is not.

Earlier this year I took part in a panel on female gamers. It started out as rah rah. Girl gamers rock etc.. Then the nasty truth began to come out. Not all of us like the same type of games. Not all of us are the best at the games, but we still like to play. AND not all of us like each other. Because well, we are people and guys don;t always like another guy just because they are male and play the same game do they?

We were asked what could be done to bring more women to gaming. None of us agreed. Some wanted to lose the chainmail bikinis and get real armor. Some liked the revealing nature because it showed they could kick ass with less than a guy wore.
Some wanted some beefcake, some said no it would embarass them. Some wanted to save the prince, - ok most of us wanted to save the prince. It was what we did with him after we saved him that we differed on. Our point to the marketeers - yes who else would hold such a panel - was "Look either you game is good or it isn't. If it is good we will play it. If it is not we won't. It's that simple."

As for us uniting because we are all girls I think one in the panel said it best. "If you are on the other team you are my opponent. This time we may be team mates, next time you may be on that side. When we are on the same side I will work with you. But when you are against me I will do my best to kick your ass." Yep, that is the right attitude GAMER first.