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Female Gamers Duke It Out 91

It's March, and that means that Women's History Month has rolled around again. The latest event put on by 'Women in Games International' was held in February; Both Wired and Gamasutra have rundowns on the event. Wired's coverage highlights the two camps of female gamers, the 'Frag Dolls' and the 'Casual Gamers' that populated the event. Gamasutra's piece discusses the exploration of women in all gamer roles. That, indeed, was the focus of the event: Women as players, designers, and gamers. From that article: "Margaret Wallace (Skunk Studios), also on the panel, railed against the industry for disenfranchising women. 'There's a push against women gamers from within the game industry,' she said. Games have been made 'with puke-humor' thought to be edgy, she said, wondering why developers don't see the direct correlation between the 'sophomoric' humor put into the games and women not liking them. 'They treat women as a mysterious nut to crack.' Wallace's advice: 'Make a game mechanic accessible.'" GameSetWatch also a blog post linking to some advice for female FPS players, especially 'aggressive young girls'.
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Female Gamers Duke It Out

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 07, 2006 @03:29PM (#14868892)
    ob Seinfeld:

    Elaine: Ok, why? Why do guys do this? What is so appealing to men about a cat fight?
    Kramer: Yeye cat fight!
    Jerry: Because men think if women are grabbing and clawing at each other there's a chance they might somehow kiss.
  • Of course! Game developers (and most of the /. crowd) can't figure out women. Expecting them to be able to write a realistic female character doesn't make sense. It's like expecting to see a conservative realistically portrayed on TV or in the movies.
    • Yeah, but women just complain about it, instead of trying to get into the games industry. Women who complain because male game designers make games that they think are fun, instead of pandering to an audience they don't understand, are dumb. As bad as the people who complain about too much violence in video games, and the people who complain about the lack of innovation.
      Get off your asses and do something, or don't complain.
      • What, you think that none of us are bothering to try and get involved in the industry? I can tell you for a fact that's not the case!
      • Yeah, but women just complain about it, instead of trying to get into the games industry.

        Interesting. So all women who wish games were less male orientated not only must be programmers, but enjoy the fun and exciting life of a game programmer- low pay, long hours, and a crappy high stress environment.

        Luckily, there ARE more female friendly games out there: Kings Quest, Monkey Island, The Longest Journey...basically any game from the Adventure genre. Unfortunely, very few of these games are made an
        • News to you: Any woman who wanted to work in the games industry could be paid an extremely high salary just to explain to "normal game designers" (ie: nerds) what a female character should look, act and be like.

          All of a sudden those degrees in Women's Studies actually become useful.
          • Uh... you may be a nice guy and all, but I gotta you're wrong on this one. More than one woman has tried to break into the gaming industry only to get the very frank attitude "what could a chick know about gaming" from her new employers and peers. Saying women are welcome in the industry is like saying women are welcome at the local gentlemen's club, given the attitude in the industry. All too many may be willing to hire woman game designers but then expect them to work on tetris vriants and kids games, or
            • If you really are a woman I'll take it from you.
            • Well, that's probably true but then my impression of the American gaming industry is that it is a Hell-hole in general. I wouldn't be looking for enlightened attitudes from it.

              I'm a man, a programmer and I love games (both tabletop and video), and I wouldn't touch the American gaming industry with a ten foot clown pole.

              Which is really a shame. Of course, I have no idea about the gaming industry in other countries, like Japan [joystiq.com] (I did find that one article).

            • woman game designers

              Has anyone here ever even *MET* one of these mythical creatures, much less been in a position to harass them out of the "gentlemen's club?" Where exactly are these hoards of would-be women game designer greats who are being held back by us evil men, anyway? I don't think I've ever met one, seen one at any conference, or even heard of one.


            • If a woman designer is not as good as her male counterpart then how, in your honest opinion, do they deserve to have the job over the male designer? If he can design better games and it has been proven then why would a woman suddenly get his job? Everyone has to prove that they are worth it to be given a chance and with the incredibly small amount of women game designer/coders etc. then there is a smaller pool of talent to work with. The truly good ones will and do get the jobs they desire. Yes, you do
      • It seems that many of the women there were in the industry or trying to get in and held a conference to work out what they want and how to get it.
    • Expecting them to be able to write a realistic female character doesn't make sense.

      I'm thinking that getting Game Developers to write a realistic male would be nigh-impossible. Games tend to be a form of escapist fantasy that are intended to put you in situations you want to be in rather than situation you already are in.

      Thus the male heros in games tend to be totally ripped, unnaturally smart, or outrageously funny. Now if you extend this to the female characters, what do you think happens?

      Perhaps the only thing worse than the overendowed girls with useless body armor is the "tough girl" image. Thank goodness that the Samantha Carter character in StarGate moved away from the "I can pull 6Gs and win any hand-to-hand knife fight" character into a more realistic person. The show was much more interesting for it.

      Now if only they hadn't had her get into a romantic relationship with every new regular on the show...
      • Erm. She did?

        Martouf and the Ancient guy whose name I can't remember. That's about it, really, aside from her undying love for Jack O'Neill. Oh, and there was Pete, who was BARELY recurring. So really, four-ish characters in 9 years... not terribly strange or excessive.

        • You forgot the Tolan guy. Plus the government ambassador guy who she meets in 2001 and marries in 2010. Not to mention the current head of the NID. There are probably a few more I'm forgetting. That makes 7 right off the bat.
        • A few others:

          Captain Jonas Hanson - The former fiance to Samatha Carter. (Season 1 Ep. 6)
          Fifth - The Replicator Dude that Sam gets to betray the replicators due to his infatuation with her. He later creates a RepliCarter who becomes a villian.

          That makes 9.
    • Ever hear of a game called "Beyond Good and Evil"? I'm not saying the developers understood women. But the games main charecter was a strong willed woman who wasn't about sex appeal. It was also an amazing game. It's on all the 'current gen' systems (GC, PS2, XBox) and is not likely to cost more than 20 bucks. I think I saw it on PC, but I might be mistaken.
      • Excellent game. It has a good storyline, plays well, has interesting characters, decent voice acting...a lot of developers out there should study this game as it's one of the few newish games that haven't disappointed me, Halo being the most recent(No, all you fanboys out there, Halo is not as good as Half-Life or even Dark Forces IMNSHO). And it is available on PC.
    • But no one wants to wait forever for her to decide what to wear.

      Seriously though, don't some of these game designers have wives? Couldn't a couple of them run home and ask the lady what she thinks? Or are these not normal women (ie: non-gamers/rpgers/nerdy) either?

      Perhaps have a game where the female characters with the ridiculous breasts just end up having them get in the way or complain about their backs. Or have her complain a lot in general (Anna Nicoleish) and annoy the player. Then slowly move t
  • Two things: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pantero Blanco ( 792776 ) on Tuesday March 07, 2006 @03:35PM (#14868937)
    1. Some females play video games. We've gotten that for YEARS; it's about as revolutionary at this point as minorities going to college.

    2. Disliking "sophmoric humor" in games isn't a "female" thing. It's an "I'm-not-twelve" thing.
    • Re:Two things: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      2. Disliking "sophmoric humor" in games isn't a "female" thing. It's an "I'm-not-twelve" thing.

      But that's exactly the thing. A significant number of males who play video games do so exactly because they want to feel like they're twelve again.
    • Re:Two things: (Score:4, Interesting)

      by slughead ( 592713 ) on Tuesday March 07, 2006 @04:16PM (#14869322) Homepage Journal
      Some females play video games. We've gotten that for YEARS; it's about as revolutionary at this point as minorities going to college.

      I find the Fragdolls [fragdolls.com] website sort of amusing. It seems to do nothing but promote a few girls who play video games.. What else do they do?.. well they're semi-attractive 20-somethings, of course.. just look at their profiles [fragdolls.com], it's an amature modeling site.

      That's unlike any clan I've ever been in. Most of the people in clan [DXM] were so overweight I doubt they could even stand upright for a whole photoshoot..

      Their site is paid for by ubisoft, and I wouldn't be surprised if they make a bit on the side so they can devote more time to gaming and attracting males to specific areas such as x-box live games.

      And what kind of "serious gamer" puts x-box as their mainstay? Last time I checked, half the genres out there are nearly unplayable without a mouse.

      I'd imagine this type of thing would deter more women to play games than anything else.

      I could be wrong though, I know when my girlfriend played Battlefield 2 she was all about flirting with the other team to get them to type more than play. We'd win nearly every round.
      • Re:Two things: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Saige ( 53303 )
        Yes, the Frag Dolls were put together by UbiSoft, and the company does pay them to travel to various gaming-related conventions and shows. They do make media appearances and the like. And yes, they were at least partially picked for their attractiveness - though that was secondary to making sure they were all serious and GOOD gamers.

        One of the Frag Dolls is also one of the co-founders of my clan, the PMS Clan [pmsclan.com], and a few more of them are members. They're not pretty faces that can barely play, they're all
        • I was planning to mod you up but then I noticed that "PMS [wikipedia.org] clan" is NOT a very promoting name for a clan with a lot of girls playing in there :)
          • Well, we have a few hundred girls as members, so we seem to be doing fine recruiting new people. :) And it makes sure we're memorable that way!
        • The quote in your sig - to whom does it belong?

          Thank you.
          • The quote? No idea. Searches have only been able to show that it was someone on usenet that seems to have first said it, but nobody can attribute it to a specific person.
      • I'd imagine this type of thing would deter more women to play games than anything else

        I could be wrong though, I know when my girlfriend played Battlefield 2 she was all about flirting with the other team to get them to type more than play. We'd win nearly every round.


      • You want to know something funny? One of these highly paid and super-cool Frag Dolls works at my local branch of GAME, for what basically amounts to minimum wage + £1 an hour.

        And that is the absolute, honest truth. A friend of mine works with her boyfriend. Went in to GAME to have a look around - "Hang on, isn't that? Isn't she that girl from the Frag Dolls?"...

        They're so cool.
      • Your girlfriend was just hoping you'd take her to the server with the hottest nerds.
    • Re:Two things: (Score:2, Insightful)

      3.) Female gamers like good games--regardless of what the main character is built like. I have a theory that it's actually the gaming press that is sexist--the only time they're interested in any woman's opinions on games is when that opinion relates to being female. I don't think chick gamers are like that--we just want to play. As a woman, and a gamer, I couldn't give a rat's ass about what bounces on my party members. Give me good gameplay, some depth, and I'm there.
      • I'm a girl/grrl/woman, whatever, who loves to play games.

        I remember when the Atari came out and just salivating over it. I knew my large and barely middle class family could never afford it so I befriended a girl in my neighborhood I didn't really like who had Atari just so I could play it.

        Pathetic? Totally, but it means I'm a gamer at heart and gamers like good games. Period.

        My first and foremost love is and always will be Tetris, I used to go to great, silly, lengths to make sure I had the Tetris highs
  • by kuwan ( 443684 ) on Tuesday March 07, 2006 @03:35PM (#14868939) Homepage
    Held in February!!! Why wasn't it news before it happened? How are we going to meet any girl gamers now?

    You trot them out once a year from the depths unknown and then tell us about it after it happened!?
  • I gotta write the standard, "women's history month essay". I rather write about them, than trot out the same ole Rosa Park essay,
  • Under-represented! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ossington ( 853347 ) on Tuesday March 07, 2006 @03:44PM (#14869021)
    Sure, everybody talks about the women who like Tetris-style games (my own mother is one of them), and the "tomboys" who like blood and violence are a big deal, but what about the third camp? The big secret behind women: we like to play God. Give me SecondLife or The Sims or Black and White any day of the week. I think it's a control thing.
    • Wow! You sound like my (soon-to-be) ex-wife -- only she doesn't play video games. She just plays god. If she played games instead maybe we'd still be married.

      Now my daughter plays anything -- she's seen to much of her Daddy and (older) brother playing not to get in on the action. I think we're still at it's another one of those "not a girl thing to do" stereotypes that will wear off (and it slowly is) as video games become more the norm in our daily lives. Think: video games as a mark of conservative
      • Think: video games as a mark of conservative society!
        Nah, only when video games become as old and decripped as AM radio.
      • Now my daughter plays anything

        She must still be young. When my daughter was a kid, she would play anything. When she became a teenager, it was pure "girl games" from then on out. The closest she comes to "hardcore" gaming now is an MMORPG. And she spends most of her time on The Sims Online.


        • Yeah -- she's only 2! We'll see how things turn out, but social gaming certainly isn't discouraged in my house -- and I find FPS to be decent social games too (except of course that you're SHOOTING things!). I'm personally dreading when she becomes a teenager -- I see way too much external social pressure on girls these days.
          I don't know...how can you resist the chance to frag Daddy?
    • by Hannah E. Davis ( 870669 ) on Tuesday March 07, 2006 @04:24PM (#14869380) Journal
      I'm with you on that one... to some extent.

      Let's just say that I was up until 6am on both Friday and Saturday nights last week because I finally got Black & White 2 to work on my computer. That game is just amazing -- probably one of the best I've ever played.

      I like other genres too, though. I've wasted long hours on adventure games (King's Quest, Space Quest, etc.), virtual pet games (Petz, Creatures), and various multiplayer RPGs (MUDs in the past, WoW these days). I enjoy Civilization too, and I used to play Prince of Persia, Commander Keen, Duke Nukem, and Castle Wolfenstein when I was little.

      I'm not sure if there's any one big secret behind female gamers. Just as there is no one genre that all men want, there isn't any one thing that every woman will like/want/buy. I mean, we're half the freakin' population -- why do people expect us to somehow NOT be as divided in our likes and dislikes as our male counterparts?

      Seriously, just make good games in a variety of different genres and girls will play them.... and at least then you won't lose your entire male audience (along with a lot of girls as well) by dumbing everything down and coating it with pink.
    • The big secret behind women: we like to play God. Give me SecondLife

      Most of the women I met in Second Life weren't interested in playing God, they were interested in designing clothing and stylish furniture.


  • As usual the summary killed the story for me. Here I thought it was about hard core sexy frag girls playing Duke Nukem: Forever... turns out its still in development. *sigh*

    KEEP BREAKING MY HEART WHY DON'T YOU!!! *shawshank pose*

  • Story time (Score:3, Interesting)

    by PapaZit ( 33585 ) on Tuesday March 07, 2006 @03:45PM (#14869038)
    Anda's Game [salon.com] (have to either subscribe or go through an ad to see it) is a cute story about gaming from a girl's perspective. Fiction, but maybe not so much as it seems. It seems like the sort of thing that might help some guys relate a little bit better.
    • might help some guys relate a little bit better.

      Yeah, umhhh "relate". I'm sorry, but we don't do that.

      "Anda's Game" is about as likely to get us to "relate" as "Jim's Game" is to give you "a hard-on for some blood-and-guts slaughtering!!"


  • Women Roleplaying (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dmt99 ( 123849 )
    I always found women in EQ to be more into the roleplaying aspect of the game. They were kinder and used the language associated with EQ and certinaly NOT d00dspeak...
    The also brought more hugs and kisses to the game.. No duh..
    • by Anonymous Coward
      haha! that was me man! you e-hugged/e-kissed a dude..oh wait..so did i! :(
    • I have seen across MMO's that girls play a fair ammount... and I can verify that ~90% of the female character sprites that were in my guild at one point were indeed females (the ones that weren't freely admitted it and didn't try to act like girls at any point) and know a few who play as male sprites for 1. avoiding harrasment and 2. gender specific classes
  • Hello? (Score:3, Informative)

    by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Tuesday March 07, 2006 @05:08PM (#14869714) Journal
    How about we link to the ARTICLE http://ninthwavedesigns.typepad.com/guilded_lilies /2006/03/annie_get_your_.html [typepad.com] rather than linking to someone's lameass blog that REFERENCES the link to the article?

    Editors should catch this crap.
    • I agree completely. We have a summary zonk may(or may not have written), and then we have to read a freakin blogger's view of the article. Oh, and somewhere buried in there is the original editorial. Yay for meta-crap!

      If blogs are going to be the unnecessary middleman of typewritten content(like intrusive ads), then let's just forget about logs.

      But I never had really any faith in Zonk's story reporting.
  • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Tuesday March 07, 2006 @05:23PM (#14869818) Journal
    Why do game makers put stuff in that appeals to some guys that offends some women? Because that is their market stupid.

    DOA Beachball or whatever it is called is aimed at the guys. There are 3 billion of them and while not all guys like DOA beachball even if a mere 10 percent likes the idea that is still a shitload of games.

    To these women who wonder why some games are not aimed at them I ask them this. Why were there no carchases in Titanic? No sword fights, no half naked ninja killers asian teenage girls? We guys NEED THAT. The crappy soppy romance crap without any of the hardhitting political criteque that was in the original offends US!

    There a guy games and their are girls games and their are gender neutral games. Just as for every other piece of entertainment. Soppy mindless romance drivel movies for the girls, crappy senseless violence for the boys. Or not.

    Why do all games have to appeal to all people? Frankly the women becrying the guy games seem to want to turn all men into women. Not going to happen ladies. Especially not since those same women will be raising the next generations of crotch scratchers.

    Don't blame game designed for guys that they don't appeal to girls unless your 100% sure games designed for girls appeal to guys.

    I hate to see a game that appeals to everyone. Disney tries that. Ewh.

  • Rather than the alien, Nazi, enemy-du-jour, for a Player-Character of whatever gender (Heinlein counted six), start with the standard "my little sister was ..." by one, or more, of the following: "body tax" collector at workplace, sexually aggressive cop, serial rapist, politician, street gang, sex slave trader, snuff film producer. You can even go international.

    Picture your character with the unions, cops, Feds, and gangs all trying to kill heesh (as you complete each mission, you get a new permanent ene
  • Opinions of men... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by 7Prime ( 871679 ) on Tuesday March 07, 2006 @10:38PM (#14872074) Homepage Journal

    Hey, I'm a GUY and I don't like seeing women objectified in video games. Not just because of how I think it might effect our culture, but because it really feels like a threat to my intelligence, and it reenforces male stereotypes just as much as it does female stereotypes. Game companies putting in big-titted, thongly dressed women over and over again just says to me, "we think that men only ever think about is sex, and from a purely physical standpoint." You see this stereotype reenforced everywhere in our culture, but this is usually completely exadurated. Sure, it makes sense to cast characters that are reasonably attractive, especially if we are supposed to connect and empathize with them, being "easy to look at" is a positive feature. But making them completely abnormally sexual, either in appearence or in personality, just destroys all empathetic connection with that character. If I wanted to just look at sexual women all the time, I'd probably just hang out at METArt all the time or subscribe to Penthouse.

    Strangely enough, in narrative games, such as RPGs or adventure games, I think that there is a lot more diversity in female characterization than male charactization. For the guys, 95% of characters either fall into: "tough talking hero", "silent, hard-boiled badass", "innocent young boy", "wise, though cool, old geezer", and "silent seifer protagonist". For the women, you have you're typical "starry-eyed romantic lead", "boobulicious, overbearing young woman", and the "annoying, but cute little girl". Yet, I would only say that about 50%-60% of female characters in games fit into those distinct catagories, and even the ones that do tend to have much richer personalities than the guys.

    • And somewhere out there, the SysAdmins at METArt are wondering about a curious spike that just took place mid-morning on the 8th of March 2006...

      The dialogue commences:

      'Guys, I think I've heard of an occurrence like this somewhere before. I believe it's called...I can't remember...the reindeer effect?'

      The others look up from their terminals, checking to see if the guy was totally serious.

  • Women gamers are on the rise the recent study on women gamers in England placed them at about 44% of the entire gaming community how is this 'ignored by the game industry for so long'

    'People are assuming that games have to be mindless in order for women to play them' - Since when??? the top game for equal play by the sexes is the Sims. Thats pretty much common knowledge in the industry how would that translate to the industry thinking women need a brainless game and at what point did they think this only ap

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