It is a known fact that women and girls play video games. However, unlike the internet would have you think, we play all types of games. When I was surfing the internet for “girl gamer” articles, both Yahoo and Bing figured that what I meant to type was “girl games” instead. So I decided I would take a look at what games girls are thought to like the most. After looking at the top three sites that resulted out of searching for girl games, the conclusion that these searches yielded was that girls (apparently) only play dress-up, cooking and decorating games. Searching “women games” yielded a couple of sites for games and most of the others were for women in games. So, to be fair, I also took a look at what resulted by searching for “boy games” and “guy games”. Fighting, racing and shooting games were the main results of this search; basically anything with gore and violence. I also noticed that there were very few sites dedicated specifically to the male gamer. So guys are allowed to play all types of games and do not need dedicated sites, while girls have a select few types of games they are going to enjoy?
Well, that simply isn’t true. Women love all types of games. Sure, some of us enjoy cooking and decorating games; however, we also enjoy other types games such as MMOs, fighting titles, and shooters just to name a few. Personally, I like games that have nothing to do with my real life. I play games to get away from the stresses of my everyday life; nothing is a better stress relief then destroying things and kicking some butt.
I feel part of the problem of girl gamers not getting recognized as being into all types video games is they tend to hide. Female gamers need more groups like the Frag Dolls and women like BurnYourBra to stand up and show the world women play just as competitively as guys do. After BurnYourBra won second place in Evolution 2010 Super Street Fighter IV Women’s Invitational, fellow writer Long Diep had the pleasure of interviewing her about the tournament. In the interview, BurnYourBra was asked how she felt about a separate Female Invitational being created for female players. Her response was:
“I looked at it as a chance to play and get more female players into fighting games really. The scene in the America [sic] isn’t quite like the scene in Europe or Japan. The thing is guys (in America) want to see girls play, but they don’t want to be beaten by a girl…That’s nothing new however. I don’t see it as a spectacle, honestly. Hopefully, the community will move forward. People are taking it too seriously! If you [girls] suck, get better! I just want to focus [more] on playing than [on] shit talking.“
I couldn’t have said it better than she did there.
As for the Frag Dolls, these ladies can most definitely play more than just cooking and decorating games. Most of the dolls enjoy playing FPSs as well as puzzle, RPG and action/adventure games (as you can see on their profiles on Frag Dolls). They have competed in many tournaments featuring games such as : Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter, Halo 3 and several for the Rainbow Six series; including their win in the 2004 tournament for Rainbow Six 3: Black Arrow. They have also spoken up for female gamers in many forms of media from gaming magazines, to TV and even game developers’ conferences.
So my next question is: why aren’t more games aimed at female players, or at least designed to include them in the target audience? First of all, a lot of games don’t even give you the option to play as a female character. I understand that it could take a lot of work to recode for a female character. However, when there is the option to have characters that look different, is it that hard to make at least one be female instead of three or four male characters? On the other hand, there are the games that do have female characters, but they are wearing just enough clothes to not be called naked. Don’t get me wrong, I still play games without there being women to play as. I would just like to see more games have lady characters in them, and for them to be wearing more than just the bare minimum.
When I play games, I really enjoy playing as a female character. Sometimes, it might even be the deciding factor as to whether or not I’m going to buy a game. It just seems like game designers are always forgetting that we play video games too. Women should at least be considered when modern day games are being designed. The female gamer population is slowing growing, and if developers and publishers don’t start looking into what we like, then they are going to start loosing out on a lot of potential future profit.
To sum it up, I don’t think that there should be “girl games” or “boy games”. Sure, these classifications might be focusing on kids and not adults; but even if that is the case, I feel we should not be stereotyping what style of game girls or boys can play. There is nothing wrong with males or females liking games such as Cooking Mama or Littlest Pet Shop. Women are gamers too and we play all types of games. We don’t need games to be made easier or especially for us. We just need the gaming industry to realize that we are a growing part of their target audience and our numbers and our rank are growing. We should be considered, at least a little, in the game designing process in this era of gaming and onward.