Game Concepts For Young Girls

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alphadog 101 Jun 30, 2010 at 19:35

Okay. I’m *really* tired of the idea that gaming for young girls must involve Miley Cyrus, anatomically-impossible princesses or putting dresses on chihuahuas. I’m not denying that young girls get into those, but wondering if we are perpetuating a vicious circle, a myth and a stereotype all at once.

Two questions:
- What games have you seen enjoyed by young girls that would buck the stereotype? My own daughters are addicted to LittleBigPlanet (we’ve started a “fund” to save up for LBP2 where they actually contribute allowance!), and do play a little ModNation as examples.

  • What other concepts do you think would be interesting to girls?

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roel 101 Jun 30, 2010 at 20:09

I remember that I was very impressed how quickly my niece learned to play Super Mario 64 when she was about 4 years old. And she enjoyed that. And sometimes I play Mariokart DD with a 9 years old girl, which is fun too. I hope that answers your first question.

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fireside 141 Jun 30, 2010 at 20:26

I think the Sims have been more popular with women, so it would probably also apply to girls, and probably simulation games in general especially those that involve social skills. Probably something like a non-violent RPG also, where the tasks are more geared toward skills, but there is an underlying story with a heroine. Missing item adventure games. Nancy Drew adventure games are aimed at about the 10 year old level. Puzzle games.

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Mihail121 102 Jun 30, 2010 at 20:45

Well, I’ve seen young girls (mostly schoolmates, 8-9-10 years old) play all kinds of games: Quake, UT, SimCity, Sims, Grim Fandango, Cyberia, Nox, BattleZone, Zelda, SuperMario, Mortal Kombat… so I don’t really see a stereotype here. I believe everything is already the way it should be. Just give them a proper choice and they’ll take what they like :)

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TheNut 179 Jun 30, 2010 at 22:30

@alphadog

What other concepts do you think would be interesting to girls?

SimKitchen?

Lol, joking aside, I’ve rarely seen girls play games. At least back in my day, girls were busy with television and soap operas. Not sure what today’s generation is up to. I do know that women especially dig the puzzle scene.

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poita 101 Jul 01, 2010 at 06:48

I don’t know many girls in that age group, but of the ones I know in their early-ish teens, they all seem to enjoy casual games like Bejewelled, and Farmville.

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geon 101 Jul 01, 2010 at 10:45

My sister (20 - does that qualify as young?) likes (and buy) adventure games.

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alphadog 101 Jul 01, 2010 at 13:20

Heh. Twenty is “young woman”, not “young girl”! ;) I was thinking in the 8-14 years old range. I’m motivated by my daughters who don’t like Barbie and Disney princesses and don’t really have much to pick from in gaming, because games are either Barbie dressup or zombie killing.

So, the general opinion would be to shoot for the RPG/Sim genre, and explore what particular elements therein would make an appealing game to young girls.

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kvakvs 101 Jul 01, 2010 at 14:01

Recently I have installed Hello Kitty Online. Patching it up to the playable level was a separate adventure worth 10 hours of waiting (5h bad attempt, reinstall, 5h good attempt, 3.5 gigs downloaded and unpacked).

That looks like the game kind of what you were thinking about.
You should spend few hours in there, to see all kinds of glinting pinky fairy =\^_\^= kawaii cuteness. That’s good for little girls… and for my taste too, although I like bloody meat-mincing shooters and MMO as well :)

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Mihail121 102 Jul 01, 2010 at 14:38

@alphadog

Heh. Twenty is “young woman”, not “young girl”! :) I was thinking in the 8-14 years old range. I’m motivated by my daughters who don’t like Barbie and Disney princesses and don’t really have much to pick from in gaming, because games are either Barbie dressup or zombie killing. So, the general opinion would be to shoot for the RPG/Sim genre, and explore what particular elements therein would make an appealing game to young girls.

Jesus, man, you’re wasting too much brain power on this. I strongly believe games like Baldur’s Gate, Icewind Dale and Arcanum and suitable for males and females of all ages.

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Rofar 101 Jul 01, 2010 at 15:56

When my daughter was young she really enjoyed the Kings Quest series. Of course we had fun playing Mario Brothers and Mario Kart on nintendo also but to this day I think she has fond memories of the Kings Quest series on PC.

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rouncer 103 Jul 01, 2010 at 20:41

I liked kings quest when I was younger, im sure girls and boys alike wonder how the computer understands the written text.

Its probably wide realised that adventure games are probably the healthiest of games to play.

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Hyper 96 Jul 02, 2010 at 19:53

I used to play a whole array of games, and more than just PC games.
I’d play with five, six other people (three other girls, and three boys).

I’d play Gameboy games:
- Paperboy, Speedy Gonzolas

Nintendo games:
- Exodus
- Noah’s Ark
- Megaman
- Some race car game with spikes, I can’t remember the name
- Duck Hunt
- DDR? or some DDR styled game with a huge pad on the ground
- RoboCop (was really boring actually)

PC games:
- Return Fire
- Destruction Story
- Pull position
- Asteroids (loved it)
- Battle Zone (REALLY ADDICTING)
- Dig Dug
- Crime!
- One Must Fall 2097
- Jazz Jack Rabbit
- Shoot!
- Abuse
- Commander Keen
- Dark Reign
- StarCraft
- Diablo (really scary back then)
- Commandos: Beyond The Call of Duty (extremely fun puzzler)
- Some 3D cube game, really fun
- Jump n’ Bump
- Crash
- Big Red racing
- Mortal Kombat
- and tons of others I could continually write….

A lot of those games were multi-player too (had three people on one keyboard).
I don’t think there’s any such thing as a “game for a girl” and a “game for a boy.”
People are all different. Your sexual organs do not define what you do, and do not like.
Peoples behaviorism is determined by their instincts, their will, influence (culture/environment), and many other factors.
But this has nothing to directly do with their gender; Although people would like to think that it does, which goes hand-in-hand with their influences/will power/environment (they’re all nearly synonymous when you think about it).

Summary: Gender does not define who you are.
Miley Cyrus has a GREAT TV show, and two good songs, the rest are crap.

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rouncer 103 Jul 02, 2010 at 21:01

Totally agree, Hyper.

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fireside 141 Jul 02, 2010 at 21:48

Gender does not define who you are.

I would disagree. Girls develop speech and socializing skills faster than boys. Boys are generally more interested in skills that have to do with hand/eye coordination. Male and female brains are different because of the sexual hormones testosterone and whatever the female one is. Men and women watch different movies. Ever heard of chick flicks? Those movies focus more on relationships rather than kung fu action. They tend to read different books. Very seldom will you see a guy reading romance novels. Why shouldn’t they tend to play different games also? Obviously they do, just check out the male/female stats for The Sims compared to a first person shooter. Of course, those are averages and you can’t predict individual behavior from them. Why does everyone think we should be some sort of unisex creatures? It’s just not going to work. Most games have evolved for boys because boys have been first to computers and electronics. As it changes and a larger percent of the populations play games, we see a lot more casual games coming out, games that focus less on hand eye coordination, games that aren’t about wholesale slaughter. That’s mainly because more girls and women are playing them, along with a more mature audience in general. Let’s face facts, most games are geared for an immature, male audience. Just because women play them, doesn’t mean it would be their first choice if there weren’t more to choose from.

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rouncer 103 Jul 02, 2010 at 22:18

But I think its sexist to think that a woman couldnt be as good as programmer as a man, just because there is less of them.

On tv, I remember seeing shows about video games and there were girls getting interviewed about what they wanted in a game (most notably this girl said “how it controls is most important”) and I totally agree with that. Girls play action games, even tho they are more of a male oriented genre… there is girls that will think that what a boy does is also fun for them, and we shouldnt stop them.

I guess maybe they are more tom boy like girls, but girls are changing, they wear pants these days, who knows what else will change. :)

But fireside, I guess you are right, girls are hard to understand sometimes cause they are different… but there is also girls that will be happy just treated like another fella’ I think.

The girl power ranger gets in there just as hard as the boy power rangers do, and girls think thats also correct.

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Hyper 96 Jul 03, 2010 at 04:23

@fireside

I would disagree.

Why does everyone think we should be some sort of unisex creatures?

You’ve stated general theories behind males and females in their differences.
I said your gender does not define you; I did not say that males and females are identical.

Just because you’re a girl, does not make you automatically love the colors pink, purple, and red, and love watching TV (soaps), reading books (romance novels), or other “chick flicks,” and automatically hate playing with dolls (action-figures), and love playing with barbie-dolls.

It does not mean you automatically do not like sports (Baseball, StarCraft, Football, Cricket, the like).
It does not mean anything; Your gender does not define who you are.
If you honestly believe it does, you’re more shallow than black ice.

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fireside 141 Jul 03, 2010 at 12:03

It does not mean anything; Your gender does not define who you are.

I assumed it was a marketing/demographics question, not a womens lib thing. So, what type of game would attract the most young females? This kind of thing goes on all the time and doesn’t mean it’s a slam on anyone. You can look at statistics and there are larger market segments for certain sexes, ages, etc. There are overlaps. It might be that some boys play with Barby dolls, some girls with action figures, but when you are talking marketing, you go with the larger segment. It’s called targeted marketing and goes on pretty much in any industry. This is a game site, not some kind of political/social site where a discussion like that might be more relevant.
Check out Her Interactive sometime, which makes the Nancy Drew games. This is a group of all female employees making games targeted for young females. They don’t find anything wrong with it. Why should they? It’s a strong female lead without boobs bouncing and guns flashing. We can use some of that type of variety.

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Mihail121 102 Jul 03, 2010 at 13:48

@fireside

Check out Her Interactive sometime, which makes the Nancy Drew games. This is a group of all female employees making games targeted for young females. They don’t find anything wrong with it. Why should they? It’s a strong female lead without boobs bouncing and guns flashing. We can use some of that type of variety.

That’s a bit like the gay pride parades (I’m living in Berlin), nobody really cares or has anything against that the people are homosexual and nobody’s judging them for it any more, but they somehow FEEL THE NEED TO SHOW IT TO EVERYONE by dressing themselves like clowns and making out in the bushes, although nobody gives a damn. Do I feel the need to show someone that I’m heterosexual? No. Same thing with Her Interactive, that’s a bit like “OH, LOOK, GIRLS CAN MAKE GAMES FOR GIRLS AND WE’RE PRETTY GOOD AT IT!!!”. Sure, you’re good at it, you don’t need to convince me of it, because I’m already sure of it. I’ve never expected anything else from homo sapiens, man and women alike, given our culture and technology is developed. Perhaps girls like dolls and pink colors more than boys, because we somehow still propagate relics of an the west old european culture through our modern culture to our children. My girlfriend’s a sociologist, I have to talk with her on the matter.

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DracheHexe 101 Jul 03, 2010 at 14:15

Well, my nine year old daughter likes these games:

Flat Out 2
Prince of Persia Series
Unreal Tournament III
Torchlight
World of Warcraft (tho not as much as the others)
The various LEGO games (Star Wars, Indy, Batman)
Hidden object and Bejeweled types casual games.

Oh, I even caught her playing Left 4 Dead once or twicewhen it was supposed to be her brother playing.

When we go to the store and go through the video game section she pretty much passes on the made for girl games liek the fashion ones or the horse ones or the pet care ones.

Not that she doesn’t play those kinds of games, but she has a taste much like me for ones with more action than anything.

To me that would suggest that the market tends to “railroad” girls into these games with horses and puppies more heavily than anything.

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fireside 141 Jul 03, 2010 at 14:26

That’s a bit like the gay pride parades

Um, I don’t think naming your company Her Interactive is quite the same thing as a gay parade. They are capitalizing on the fact that they are women in the game industry. So what? Their market segment is young girls. Out of all the phony things people do to market their goods, I consider it pretty innocuous. How many game companies are there that are run by women? I don’t know of any others. Although somewhat of a gimmick, it would never stand on it’s own. From what I hear, the games are pretty good.

To me that would suggest that the market tends to “railroad” girls into these games with horses and puppies more heavily than anything.

And how would they go about doing that? Are you sure boys aren’t being railroaded into action games? Maybe we’re all being railroaded into playing games of any kind. Maybe what we really want to do is meditate on our navels and society has taken us over. But really, I doubt it. I think someone discovered that those puppy games sell and it was a need or desire that caused the product rather than the other way around.

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SamuraiCrow 101 Jul 03, 2010 at 14:29

@TheNut

SimKitchen?

Don’t laugh. My friend’s kids all play Diner Dash which is essentially what you said.

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LizardGamer 101 Sep 28, 2010 at 11:09

My little sister likes playing Left 4 Dead 1 & 2, Saints Row, Devil May Cry, Prototype and many more

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Hyper 96 Oct 12, 2010 at 20:01

@LizardGamer

My little sister likes playing Left 4 Dead 1 & 2, Saints Row, Devil May Cry, Prototype and many more

I think the most important game left out here, has to be: Portal! :)

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Gripp 101 Jan 06, 2011 at 19:37

in my own personal experience, most girls/woman tend to gravitate twords games which aren’t extremely involved and don’t take much to get into or games that don’t compel one to keep playing that instant (games with stories behind them, or hour long boss fights, etc.) but rather games that can be put down at a moments notice - mortal combat, burnout paradise crash courses, etc.

actually, need4speed vs burnout crash courses would be a perfect example: the former involves races which can be lengthy and require practice and skill. the latter can be finished in 30 seconds flat and doesn’t require excessive practice.

so if you’re looking to create a game that girls would like, just make it simple and fast.

bare in mind that i’m talking specifically about girls who don’t already like games. once they get into a couple, everything becomes fair game.

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Luz_Reyes 101 Jan 06, 2011 at 22:20

Alphadog, I couldn’t agree more with your opening remark. I will certainly be using this description of a simultaneous “myth and stereotype” in my own descriptions of such things. Well said. The solution though? I doubt it will be bottom up - although it could be if a group of dev’s banded together to form a “coalition againse unrealistic female imagery” or some such title. But it would have to go for males too. And where do we draw the line for what’s realistic and what’s not?

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AeroCat 101 Feb 01, 2011 at 23:05

When my sister was in her early teens she played the death out of “Perfect Dark”

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mezzodaemon 101 Feb 07, 2011 at 03:41

I have two daughters, 16 and 19 now. I’m a geek so ask them too: it isn’t that they don’t particularly like the game mechanics or settings, it is 1) the assumption that the main characters -either main player rendering or main story arc - are guys; 2) the tendency to visually make women into bikini-clad bimbos; 3) showing women as cowering in fear or being weak when the guys aren’t shown being that way; 4) Men and boys are perverts and think sexual jokes and conversations about sexuality are just fine; being asked “are you a girl”, “flirted with”, “cussing and rude comments; including gay insults to other players” are a ‘why bother playing’ moment that ruins any social fun and 5) games designed around risk = reward aren’t their thing - they want to enjoy the environment.
I sometimes log into WoW to fish for instance. They like doing similar things - walking about and going helping quests and “gunning for top gear” isn’t it. I’m also of the opinion that kill = cash = xp = reward is a masculine guy mental model and although “carebears” get a lot of heat in games, the majority of time my girls would learn the game system and enjoy it if their was more opportunity for NPC social grooming or interaction that wasn’t death-based as an objective.

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jennstar21 101 Feb 24, 2011 at 09:31

Hmmm I know for me as a young girl I played any action game my brother played, as well as mario cart and commander keen. Those girly chihuaha princess games didn’t really interest me at all!

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fireside 141 Feb 24, 2011 at 17:31

You have to use statistics for this kind of thing. I think the Sims is more or less proof that women prefer care type game play. 60 percent of the Sims players are female. That’s a really high ratio for a video game. It’s in jobs and every thing else. Women choose care giver jobs a lot more often than men, so what mezzodaemon said was pretty much on the money. That doesn’t mean every woman will prefer that kind of thing, but if you are targeting women, then you had better give some thought to those things. Everything he said was dead to rights from my experience. So, if it’s a social game, put something in there to get rid of the annoying jerks, add care giving, exploration, and other types of game play, and choose strong female roles that don’t over emphasize sexuality. The Sims proved that a lot of women will buy and play a video game, so it’s a worthy market.