Monday, May 07, 2007

Women in Games

(This post was written on May 6th - the data may have changed by whenever you're reading this, but I bet they have the same basic results. For some reason, although published several days later, it is still post-marked to Monday.)

"How do we get women to play games?"

"Get more women to design games!" or "Get women to make games for women!"


Seen Hollywood? Notice that at least 80% of the writers and directors are white males? Even on romance movies?

Basically ALL of the IMDb's sidebar movies (top, recent, and soon-to-be released) are written by men, nearly all of which have white-sounding names. "Tracy" isn't even a girl, he's just an unfortunate man. Well, as unfortunate as a rather high-profile Hollywood writer can be considered to be...

There is ONE movie on their sidebar by a woman, written and directed by Julia Loktev... and it looks pretty damn indie, given that it's her first movie in which she does not play herself.

Ooh, look, "The Invisible" has a female co-writer.

Thats two women, out of the roughly twenty movies on the side bar - roughly forty names. Roughly thirty-eight of which are men, and probably almost entirely white.

I'm not saying we should emulate the movie business. Partly, I think we're a fundamentally different beast. Partly, I think that the movie business is nasty.

But nobody says "Hollywood needs to attract more female audiences!" I mean, sheesh, Casablanca was written and directed almost entirely by guys - one women credited for part of the play. Breakfast at Tiffany's? Entirely male. Old examples, but still highly regarded as appealing to women, right?

I'm all for more women in the games industry. (Although, honestly, I'd rather you all became rocket scientists and geneticists. They need more warm gray matter of any kind. And, of course, rocket scientists and geneticists are cuter.) But "more women" is obviously not the tried and true method of appealing to a female audience. The tried and true method is that somebody - I don't give a damn as to their sex - develops a knack for appealing to a female audience.

That could mean you.

I'm not saying we couldn't use more women. I am saying that you don't have to wait. Hollywood creates movies that appeal to women even though they lack anything resembling equality. There's no need to wait. If you think you can create something that appeals to a female audience either entirely or in part, do it. Don't cop out.

Unfortunately, I can't. I'm kind of a sci-fi testosterone junkie. The closest I'll come to creating Casablanca is seeing how many gunfights they'll let me include. :P


Chill said...

Oh come now! You act like there aren't any hardcore sci-fi movies that are really romance movies in disguise! Don't blame your lack of appeal to women on your choice of genre.

Patrick said...

Well this is what we're going for with Cuttlecandy, and in large part Carolina's art is making the simplicity of the core gameplay shine as an experience. She also happens to be very talented. If I went with a male artist could I have gotten the same quality, the same tone? Maybe. I'm just glad to have her on board, she's really invaluable. I'd like to work with her on my next project even though that won't be primarily-oriented to a female audience.

BTW, Cuttlecandy is purring along really nicely. We've re-developed in Unity and have some really fluid, physics-based candy motion that has the some viscousity as the original, but can also do really cool stuff like billiard-type effects (so you can score combos 8-ball style, its great).

Craig Perko said...

Chill: I'm not blaming it on my choice of genre, just my utter Grinchiness. Besides, it's my games that lack appeal to women, right? Right! ;)

Patrick: Good to hear! Good luck.

David said...

I like writing strong female leads in primarily emotion driven games. I also like writing for audiences who like to have things both ways (strong males/liberated females, vice versa) Unfortunately, those are much harder to make than straight up shoot-em/slash-ems. : / Maybe for my second project (if the first gets funded??)

Craig Perko said...

David: I don't think something as simple as "strong female lead" is going to sell games to women. I think it's probably more gameplay-based than content-based. But, hey, I could be wrong.

BTW, you're posting anonymously. So if you have a blog or something, nobody can follow your name to it.