In Women And Gaming, we looked at the industry’s desire to interest more women in computer games. In Women And Gaming II, we saw the other side, women who work in the industry or play in competitive games. Now it’s my turn to say a few words.
I’ve never given much thought to the matter myself. When I started with gaming, the majority was male. That’s just how it was, and I didn’t bother about it.
On the other hand, I didn’t feel out of place, either. The fact that all the clerks and most of the customers in the store were male simply didn’t enter my consciousness.
When I got online, it was much the same. Only a small percentage of the members of my areas were female, although that did increase a bit over time. I remained more or less oblivious to the disparity, though I was aware of it.
My perception, my point of view, then as now, is simple: we’re all gamers together. Nothing else matters. Not sex, not age, not color, not religion, not country, not ethnic background.
When people wrote to me, online or off, the only thing that went through my mind was “gamer needs help”. Anything else was irrelevant.
So, as regards gaming, gender has always been a non-issue for me. It’s like anything else: some people like it, and some don’t. At the moment, the “like it” group is heavily male. For all that, I’m certainly glad that more women are playing games these days.
To answer my own question posed in the first article: no, I don’t believe games should be made “just for women”. That really is too much like segregation. It would be setting women apart from the mainstream of gaming, which is bad.
Creating more games that women would enjoy playing is another matter. We’ve already noted adventures and online games, with a few CRPGs. To put it another way, we need more products that appeal to both male and female players.
The emphasis is still on the “young male demographic”. What happens when they’re not so young any more? How many stay with gaming, and how many drop out because they’re bored by “same-old, same-old”?
New gamers are always coming in, but perhaps the industry should look more into how many stay in. That might give a new perspective, and a new direction that would provide games of interest to male and female, new and veteran gamers alike. The pool of possible gamers may be larger than some in the industry believe. It’s time they tested the waters a bit more thoroughly. We could all benefit from that.