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Weekend Gaming Experience – For Males & Females

2009 April 11
by Kalyn Schofield

I have a history playing videogames since I was in elementary school. So video games are nothing new to me. Rather than writing a blog post about what games I am playing now I think it would be much more interesting to blog about my experience watching other people play games.

Over the weekend I helped two classmates experience various hand held consoles which consisted of the DS and the PSP -3000. I laid various games out ranging from fighting to (Role Playing Games) RPG”s. Considering this is a gender and technology class I was quite interested in what game my fellow peers would select and enjoy playing. I predicted that the puzzle, rhythm, or RPG genres would be selected. I rated rhythm games highest, RPG second and puzzle third. Granite this was just a thought inthe back of my head.

When a game was selected both ended up playing and sticking with two different types of music/rhythm games. Now I won’t lie, I did ask them if they would be interested in playing the games. But they could have always said “No.” So inevitably they did choose the games on there own.

You may be asking yourself why I thought a music/rhythm game would be the chosen game? The reason is when I talk with female gamers I notice they are much more likely to to almost never categorize themselves as “hardcore” gamers as males. I think this has to do with the definition of a hardcore gamer. Females probably suspect eating and breathing around videogames with mild breaks in between for bathroom breaks. In this respect the average casual female gamer is more likely to know or recognize  certain types of games.

Some of these games include:

1. The Sims  2. DDR (Dance Dance Revolution)  3. Pokemon  4. Mario Games (Regardless of the version/consol/sequel/or game he is in.)

Looking at these games we can briefly categorize them. The Sims is a RPG. DDR is a music simulator. Pokemon is a RPG and for this example we’ll say mario too, even though he has many titles including action and platform.

In my opinion if there exists a pattern around the types of games female gamers often play or feel comfortable playing then it would make sense why the gaming industries often stereotype “games for girls.” What I mean by this is how the games are marketed and to who. We see the DS and the newest installment the Dsi being considered more young adolescent male and largely female. The newest commercial uses pop star Beyonce to show how fun and interesting using a DSi is! Watch the commercial on youtube here and notice what game she plays. (watch?v=1QVWwrZyz7o) The Wii as well is categorized as a “family unit” with commercials showing whole families that include young children to senior citizens. (watch?v=OOT6TsfUR30)

Now look at the difference with the PS2/3 and XBox/360. Here is a banned commercial for the Xbox which I enjoy. I think the commerical was banned in the U.S. but not in other countries? Don’t quote me on this. I never remember personally seeing it on T.V.  (watch?v=ejRd1jJzvBI&feature=PlayList&p=868B1C172E7B2DC5&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=1) Notice how in the previous commercials females settings were used? Family, fun, comfort, and sharing were the overall messages? Now with this commercial we can visually see males and females and there are no children present. First we notice how the commercial starts with a male protagonist who retaliates/initiates the whole “fake gunplay” experience. This commercial shows competition, aggresiveness, and (fake) violence. Notice how no one is spared during this fun playing. This is different than the wholesome gameplay that a family experience with the wii is supposed to offer. Or even the relaxed and carefree DSi experience Beyonce promises.

Continuing with imaginary guns and Xbox, this video shows the auditions for the people casted in the background for the previous video. They use an elderly lady and a middle aged man role playing with fake guns. Once again notice the differences. The man actually reloads the gun while the elderly lady starts off with a gun and then ends with firebombs? The video makes it apparent she isn’t comfortable with pretending to have a gun. (watch?v=b9CK37sqoz0&feature=related)

It would be interesting to know if anyone else found gender differences in the types of games they enjoyed over others and why. In class a lot of people have expressed there dislike of Second Life due to it’s complexity. It would be interesting to know how many males versus females frequently play Second Life.

2 Responses
  1. Baibh Cathba permalink
    April 12, 2009

    I believe that Second Life, with all the connotations of playing a “real life” game contains roughly similar proportions of males and females playing it. (Granted this is probably just general perception as I chose not to look at Second Life in any Academic form at all)

    I have also noticed that women are reluctant to respond that they are “gamers”, mostly I think because of the categories that my survey have responded to. All of them believe men to be more serious gamers, and they tend to list time investment, monetary investment, and number of platforms as the criteria for being a serious gamer. I think that it’s true that girls do tend to be serious gamers, but perhaps not with “serious games”.

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