I don't know how I feel about this. They have the right intentions at heart perhaps, but I am entirely against trying to "make games for women". Why don't we just introduce more women into gaming as it already is? I really don't see how creating more Sims games is solving any problems or breaking any barriers.
At the same time, her mission is scarily similar to that of Pretty Gamer, and that makes me wonder if I'm underestimating her...
"There's no desire at Silicon Sisters to exclude males. There's just a desire to explicitly include females," Forbes replied.And here's where she lost me:
"While hardcore gamers may argue endlessly about controllers versus keyboard and mice, those who didn't grow up with games just see a dizzying array of buttons and skills needing to be mastered before jumping in. The vernacular of gaming, the little things we know from playing games since the NES days, is one that many women aren't familiar with. What we've learned through years of practice and now take for granted seems like an impenetrable barrier of entry for others."I feel like that last bit does not sound like a statement about women gamers, it sounds like exactly what every developer is ALREADY doing for casual gamers. Given, a lot of casual gamers are women, but I think people very much take for granted how many women do play games already. As a woman, I grew up with the same "dizzying array of buttons and skills" that my brothers did. As a result, yes, I do have a leg up on newbie gamers who are interested in joining the fray. I just think it's a mistake to pin the majority of those new faces as women, or to say that those gamers are only women.
The problem with creating games directed at women is not that women don't already play video games. The problem is that not enough developers are trying to market existing games to anyone but men. I'm not talking about the games themselves--I'm talking about marketing. A great non-gaming example is the Droid. The commercials for the phone were full of men and explosions and thinly veiled jabs and how it's not a wimpy phone for wimpy women. This phone has no features that are specifically built for men. As a result of the marketing, 80% of people who own a Droid are male.
Now, think about all the mainstream video game commercials you've ever seen...can you think of any that even included a woman playing the game? Or that didn't make it clear that it was not a game for "pussys"?
The real reason games like WoW or platforms like the Nintendo DS are popular among women is not because they unlocked some secret mystery into the way women think; they were marketed toward a broad audience and thus received a broad audience. When I think of WoW, I think of all the hilarious commercials they've had lately, especially the ones involving Mr. T. I don't feel like it's a game built for an exclusive audience, and I enjoy the humor. If you look at Nintendo DS commercials, or ANY Nintendo commercials, you'll find both men and women featured.
I am not going to pretend like women don't think differently than men--we do. On a neurological level, there have been many studies showing just that. However, I believe most games have such a wide spectrum of elements (shooting, puzzles, adventure) that they can be figured out and enjoyed by many different types of thinking.
We don't need to dumb down games for women. We just need to show them that it's OK to play, and that no one is looking down on them for picking up that controller and giving it a whirl. The most harm that's being done to women in gaming is making them think they aren't good enough to understand modern games, or that it's shameful to mess up a few times compared to people who have been gaming for years.