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Girls and Computer Games [Apr. 23rd, 2004|09:54 pm]
Hazel's Topics



Are girl's missing out on valuable computer skills if they don't like to play Quake? If so, are "friendship adventures" really the solution, or are they simply reinforcing the stereotype that girls should only be interested in expanding their social skills?
The Exposition:
I was reading an article the other day. It was in response to the idea that girls don't use computers enough because, in short, computer games are too violent. Girls don't play tons of games (they don't enjoy violence, you see), so therefore, they don't have as much experience with computers as boys do. To fix this problem, companies have been cranking out games aimed at girls. This particular article outlined a game which the creators called a "friendship adventure". It dealt with social problems girls might have while growing up. The player helps three characters solve puzzles to put together a magic necklace. The magic necklace brings each character to a magical island, where they find a new perspective on their problems at home....I personally was nauseated. I would have NEVER played that game when I was growing up. But of course, that's me.

Original Responses

Posted 4/1/03

As a web designer and a high-tech female I feel possibly in a very good position to refute the claims of the article you read. Actually I feel games like Quake teach nothing of computer skills, clicking a button on a mouse so that a little bullet shoots the head of monsters or the little man your controlling goes through a doorway isn't a computer skill. Sure it might count as a skill in dexterity, it must take players of Quake a bit of time to learn the skills of playing the game effectively but really I don't feel that game or games like it really teach anything of value and they can in no way be used to judge a persons computer literacy.

It's almost like saying if you can win a game of electronic solitaire you've mastered all that a windows system could teach you. Trust me, my mother has mastered that game and is still as dense in almost every other thing that involves her computer. In fact, she basically only knows how to click the power button and then double click the icon that brings up the game. Don't ask her to find anything else on the computer because she can't do it.

Games in this sense are just that, the only "computer skills" you need have is the sense to press the power button and insert a CD. Computer people have made everything else do itself for those people because a lot of times they are only interested in being able to blow the heads of the billion pixel monsters on the screen. More often than not, players of those games have no idea what goes into making a game like that.

Now we come to the connection with such games in particular because they generally do not interest women. I can confirm that in most cases Quake doesn't interest women unless they want to let of steam or are really, really bored. Of course this isn't true in all cases because some women, like some men just don't follow the trend. However I am equally disinterested in so called "Girl Games". In fact I'm even less interested because for some reason game designers seem to think girls are retards and could only handle games suitable for 2 year olds.

Designers please realise the reason in most cases women aren't interested in shoot'em-ups is because they are pointless, not because they are violent. Such games do not challenge a females mind and so are generally boring to most women. Men's minds work differently, this is a stated fact by many people in phsycology, I'm not being sexist. Men think singlemindedly and so the focus on one goal, "killing all the monsters" is a challenging one for them. Women are multitaskers, that single goal isn't enough, add some problem solving and an ultimate reason to kill the monsters and you'll increase their interest ten-fold.

Anyway, this rant is probably long enough, surely you get my point. Perhaps we need more real women behind the keyboards making these games rather then men trying to think like women when they do it. Come on girls, computer programming, game and graphic design is great fun. Get behind the keyboards and show the guys that girls can make great games.

Have fun
Yours Truly
Outlanda Games! A medieval fantasy role playing (RPG) site.


Myself, I'm not entirely convinced that girls spend that much less time on semi- to very violent computer games than guys. [Probably, slightly more emphasis on strategy games (which, these days, are semi-violent enough) over plain shooters.]
I am, however, absolutely positive that girls don't seem to get the same kind of kicks out of relating how their pet dragon in UO wiped out the entire newbie zone, how many kills they made on CS the other night, and other such exploits as guys do.

Thomas Pichler

Posted 8/19/02

I believe that it cannot be said that women are not skilled with computers. Actually, they can be just as good if not better than some men. Gaming does not only encompass computer skills, but the ability to excercise one's imagination. To the point, women do not game. They do not have the patience. They may be good at computer tech skills, but they do not game. nor do they show the want or ability to.


(a guy)

Posted 8/12/01

I'm a girl gamer, and I *love* Unreal Tournament and Counterstrike. But I agree that girls are more likely to get real computer skills from puttering around than shooting stuff. Thing is, I read somewhere that when companies actually ASKED girls, as opposed to telling them, why they didn't like games, it WASN'T violence, it was the pointlessness of it. The girls weren't going "Oh no, blood, I don't like this" they were saying "Ho hum, more death. Oooohh la la, another gun, who cares". Similar to my pena and paper experience, the girls wanted meaning in their playing not just "whack the bad thing, get another gun"

L (aka Sister Ananke )

Posted before 8/12/01

"Are girl's missing out on valuable computer skills if they don't like to play Quake?"

Exqueeze me? Baking powder?

This has got to be among the biggest pieces of electronic baloney I've heard yet. I'm female, I've been into computers since I was in fifth grade and the 286 was the latest, greatest thing to come along, and I have never been that much into video games. I spend more time on the computer and the Net nowadays than a lot of people I know (male and female,) at least three or four hours in a typical day, and guess what--I still don't play computer games! I surf the Web, chat with friends (I do play RPGs over chat and IM), write stories, manage several web pages and a WebRing (for which I design many of the graphics myself,) continually upkeep my system, and exchange tons of e-mail on a variety of topics with people all over the world. I'm too busy using my computer for other things to bother with video games!

In terms of "valuable computer skills," I'd venture to suggest that a woman of any age who spends two or three hours a week in productive PC pursuits is far more likely to display a variety of *useful* computer knowledge than a person of either gender who spends ten or twenty hours blowing up virtual enemies. Who came up with the screwball idea that video games are the only interesting and entertaining use for a computer, anyway--let alone that they're educational in any significant way?



From: (Anonymous)
2004-09-28 07:52 am (UTC)

Girls should play more games

I am a 86 year old lovely lady and i play games all of the time! Including Barbie adventure and Manhunt(My personal favourite!)

See you all soon.

God bless you.

Edna xx
(Reply) (Thread)
From: (Anonymous)
2004-12-28 05:01 am (UTC)

females are different

My experience with females playing computer skills are as follows; I have a wife and a computer the two just don't match! So we made a compromise - i play less and she plays more. This worked until we played some of the games that i liked counterstike, FPS, etc... well, basically she could not get a hold of the controls - she was ok but very very slow - so she died alot (well all the time. You can just rule out online mutiplyer here since they are often harder then single play. She became bored easily because of this - and didn't want to play any sort of FPS. We tried lan playing her and me and she began to enjoy it as i played easy (boring for me - good for her).

my point is that the only reason why my wife an many other females i know hate most Violent 'boys' computer games is that they get bored learing how to play. Males seem to be determined to learn - maybe it was their money they spent to buy the game - you know get their money worth!

About the violence - well no she doesn't like it, but with all the movies these days it everywhere - but still its animated violence with computer images - not showing real life people with real (imitaion) blood in a realistic fashion. Yes i have played postal2 and soldier of furtune2. Its just not real enough yet and my wife knows it. Seems as though females use this reason so they don't have to learn the game!!!!

As Rebecca stated male and females have different in goals, although both female and males must have each others goals in order to survive - so both can play any game. It not computer skills or goals of the male or female its just they are less determined to learn and become well at playing some games - other girls love different games like the sims, because they have the determine to learn the game - some guys get bored - sound familar.

anyway, what i did was to teach my wife how to play (slowly and patiently), and show her other games she may enjoy TO LEARN! My part of the bargin was that I played less - it worked we now have some great games - although i still have more practice than her, but i do have fun!!!! Also i play some RTS with her as she can relate to them better.

my 3 cents...:)
(Reply) (Thread)
From: (Anonymous)
2005-02-22 08:18 am (UTC)

The Difference: Different Styles

Well, it's been over two years since my initial comment (Thomas Pichler), and from added experience I'd say I was very close to the mark originally.

I have - my own limited and several friends' great UO experience be praised! - not the slightest doubt that the main difference is playing style. I still have to get to know a female gamer who seems to get the same kicks out of telling butchering stories as the classical male nerd.

This, however, among the people I know, on average does cause female gamers to spend a little less time on computer games than their male counterparts - which might actually give them an edge in developing *real* computer skills...
(Reply) (Thread)