Editorial: Female Gamers
Donna Desborough let's us in on a little secret: they're real!
Females and gaming, it happens you know.
We aren't creatures of myth. Female gamers have existed for a lot longer than people think. It's not something that's new, but it is something that games developers are trying to tap.
What do girls want out of a game? Now that is the eternal question, to which there is no simple answer. Well, really there is, but it's not as simple as it seems. Female gamers want the same kind of things male gamers want. So, let's go over a few things that female gamers might want from a game, especially an MMO.
I'll start with something simple, immersion.
We want to feel like we're a part of the world we're playing in, to be an active part of what's happening and not be just another piece of the scenery. But then, who doesn't want that? Actually it's a very common desire from both males and females.
A good community is very important to female gamers, people they can ask questions to, get support from and get help from. I think everyone wants that. A good community is essential to both MMOs and offline games (such as the mod community for games like Half Life). Help and support is always a welcome sight. I guess that, that isn't very specific to women either.
Women want to fight their fellow player in an MMO as much as men do. The difference is, in my experience, that they want it for different reasons. It's not always about proving you're higher level or bigger and better. Usually it has to do with the story, a reason. In the case of an MMO or FPS, women can get their mad killing urges out of the way, but there's something more. A clan/team pride and a sense of accomplishment in what they've done. The same goes for an MMO also, only there are additional things, like story. In the end though it's about involvement, which takes us back to immersion, which again includes community.
Who wants to be singled out just because of their sex? It'd be like singling out someone because they're gay (which is a whole new can of worms). Women want to play the game and enjoy it, just like men do. Being treated differently can ruin the game for people, both men and women. This mostly applies to online games, where the environment involves interaction directly with other players. In the end we just want to play, not be singled out.
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