Monday, July 11, 2011

What Do Women Want in Games?

I happened to stumble across this article by the well-known game designer, interactive storyteller, and author Chris Crawford called What Do Women Want (Again)?
I’m intrigued by the renewed interest in this old problem, and dismayed by the complete lack of progress I see. The games community just keeps spinning the same old wheels, getting the same old wrong answers. Really, folks, some community memory would behoove us all. Nearly twenty years ago Midway addressed the problem by creating Ms. Pac-Man. Their market data showed that more women seemed to play Pac-Man than other games, so they put a bow on Pac-Man’s head and voila! the first woman’s game was created. This unpromising beginning has set the standard for all subsequent discussion, a standard that has been rigorously adhered to.
This was written back in 2001, and I can't help but wonder how much progress has been made.  Certainly some I would think, given that it seems more women are playing games than ever before.  Perhaps the advent of social games on the Wii and Kinect have helped by getting more people over the "I'm not a gamer" hump.

What do you think? What games are well designed for the female audience? What games do you adore?