The Trouble With Girls' Games

If anyone is worried about what Grand Theft Auto games might do to boys, then, my former colleague Tracey John, writes for Wired, you might want to worry how a different set of games influences girls.

Tracey has pulled descriptions for 11 upcoming DS games aimed at girls. These are games about make-up, boyfriends or learning to become a detective. Skeptical about the values these games might instill, Tracey extrapolated the implied lessons in their gameplay.

For example:

Princess in Love (THQ, Sept. 14) What it's about: customise Princess Isabella with clothing and accessories. As the queen-in-training, players must mind their manners and plan gala balls while searching for Prince Charming, who can be wooed by learning the right dance moves. What it teaches girls: No, really, you need a man. Being a princess isn't just about wearing pretty dresses and waiting for your knight in shining armour all day: You've got to work. If you want Mr. Right, it's up to you, not him, to make the first impression. So get dancin.'

Tracey's not being completely serious with all of her write-ups, but she sharply observes the patterns: games that value an obsession with looks, a dependency on finding boyfriends or just an awareness that, hey, you're a girl. You'll always different. That's not all negative. But the themes are strong and worth examining.

Check out 10 more of these games getting this treatment over at Wired's GameLife blog.

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Comments

    On the opposite side, guys get games involving shooting/killing/stabing things and joining the marine core...

    I don't see the materalistic thing to be as much of an issue.

      I disagree.

      Shooters are so far from reality that any implications or underlying messages are easily dismissed when a player enters this alternate reality, therefore leaving no lasting negative impression/lessons like violence is good etc (although there are plenty of other lessons and take away messages within games in general - problem solving, independence, effort vs reward etc)

      Compare this to some of the 'girl' games mentioned in the reviews that reinforce messages and social expectations within RL society/life - overstating the importance on looks/place in society etc.

      I would argue that these games are a bigger risk than shooters to a player in terms of the impression left and the potential RL ramifications.

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