What Do Women Look For In A Video Game?

What Do Women Look For In A Video Game?

Pretty much the same thing as I do, it turns out. Am I a female gamer?

I stumbled across this research paper from Belgium’s Ghent University via Tom Chick’s Fidgit blog. It begins with the thesis: “Girls like to game, but games are not well tuned to their interests.”

So what do girls find interesting about games?

Chick pulled the following quote from the paper:

“Women are strongly motivated to game when there is a possibility to choose their own assignments and to explore freely. Women like to hang around in beautiful and rich environments and they prefer game worlds in sharp and bright colours to darker settings. Exploring also includes performing other activities (side-quests) in addition to the main game objective.

Surprisingly, social contact is the least strong motivation for women to game whilst it is the strongest one for men. Other factors that strongly appeal to women are freedom and control, challenge, competition and immersion.”

As I read through it, I couldn’t help but think it all sounded rather familiar. In fact, it’s remarkably similar to what I wrote a couple of months back about what I look for in a video game.

Turns out the appropriately-named Chick was thinking the same thing. We’re both girl gamers. (That’s Tom and I pictured up there.)

Clicking through to the full article to read more detail about the research, however, I regained an amount of masculinity. The article states, “In contrast with men, women want a game to be logical and easy to use. Controls should be common sense and the combination of keys should not be too complicated.”

As someone who relished the challenge of playing Descent with just a keyboard, I don’t understand how any combination of keys could be considered too complicated.

But, wait!

Female gamers “prefer to play with strong, pretty and feminine characters that get things done.”

So do I.

Are you a girl gamer, too?

Girl gaming on the rise [Alpha Galileo, via Fidgit]


  • I would like to say that YES! i am a proud transgender gamer! haha

    I often play using female characters with one of my most prevalent being in Neverwinter nights (all on my own)..

    Lately i have stopped using female chars in my adventures as my lovely partner accuses me of doing it strictly to perve on the ample avatars…

    I also only once used a femal in an MMO, but never again, due to the obscene amounts of “hey baby, whats up?” that i received..

  • My wife has a rampant addiction to Pikmin.
    I guess Pikmin fits exactly into the quote above.

    Shes also loves all the ‘match three balls’ games like Zuma, Luxor, etc
    Also games like Sallys Salon.
    Fun casual puzzle games.

    I dont know why Reflexive Arcade shut shop, she alone would have been keeping them afloat! lol

  • I usually play games on the hardest difficulty setting available to me. Either I finish the game that way, or the game just kicks my ass till I start again on normal mode.

  • I appear to be a girl gamer as well. This is… an interesting development. Cate Archer, why did you leave me?

  • If I am playing a 3rd person game I want to play as a girl.
    No need to be staring at a guys ass for 8 hours.

  • Over the years I’ve met quite a few women who play games, and the only one I can think of that doesn’t fit into a traditional group of gamers is an ex who likes to believe she’s the only girl who plays World of Warcraft (and thus should be worshiped like a goddess).

    The rest range from casual shooter fans to full on born with a controller in their hands.

  • I’m more of a girl gamer than a man gamer, that’s for sure. I have my sexuality questioned ALL THE TIME for choosing the female character when given the choice.

    • I always choose the girl fighters in Tekken (Alissa, lily, Christie) and people always question that.

      Its funny that nobody ever asks again if I get a perfect on them 😛

  • My last game my wife and I played through was “House of the Dead: Overkill”! Awesome game, but doesn’t quite fit into the above.
    Trying to get her to play Lego Harry Potter, tho I have a feeling I will finish it before she gets on board 😉

  • Have to agree on the brightly coloured world thing (I’ve had it with “gritty”) as well as the social contact aspect – xbox live has given me enough exposure to the adolescent male psyche for a lifetime.

    However, I always choose to play as a male character when given the choice. Not that I don’t think female characters are “ccol” or anything, it’s just usually the attributes assigned to the male characters are a better fit for my skill level (read: amateur).

  • I read the quote…

    “”Women are strongly motivated to game when there is a possibility to choose their own assignments and to explore freely. Women like to hang around in beautiful and rich environments and they prefer game worlds in sharp and bright colours to darker settings. Exploring also includes performing other activities (side-quests) in addition to the main game objective.””

    and I thought they were talking about my girlfriend playing Afrika! One of the few games that has completely hooked her.

    Than again she likes Diablo as well, so she doesn’t mind alot of keyboard shortcuts either…

  • I doubt it’s correct.

    If that were true, then women would be the biggest market for JRPGs… what with their graphics over gameplay mentality, and their turn based combat mechanics.

  • i think the point that jumps out here is that there is no real gender distinction in relation to video game preference. I’m a girl gamer and yes, i like some of the things listed in the article but then I love the social aspect of multiplayer and sometimes just want to blow stuff up. Really it all just comes down to personal preference and mood.

    • Exactly. You can’t say girl gamers or guy gamers all want this or that.

      I, personally, like all of the things in the list above but I have no preference on what the environment is like. Fallout or WoW, it just has to be pretty :3

  • I’m a real girl gamer and that does not describe me at all.
    I don’t care if it’s dark and has no colour, I just want it to be atmospheric.
    I hate playing female characters, and when given the choice, I’ll almost always choose a guy.

    I do like logic though, but complicated controls don’t bother me.
    I also do love my sidequests, and most definitely do not play for social reasons…I kinda hate having to interact with people.

    So I guess I’m half girl after all. 😛

  • Being a girl gamer I like to play a game that is challenging and fun. I play almost every genre: from racing games to strategy.
    I will agree that I do like to free roam in games. I don’t mind talking to people online as long as they don’t use foul language and they can have fun.

  • Being a girl gamer, many of these things do appeal to me.
    I love playing games where the designers have gone to great detail for the environments, which is why I tend to play the game slower than a lot of other people would, just because I don’t want to always be doing the main mission, I prefer to go off and do side-quests, or just something that has absolutely nothing to do with the aim of the game.
    Some of my favourite games are Assassin’s Creed II, and The Witcher. Why? Because you can free roam, and do whatever quests you like before continuing with the next stage of the game.

    While I find that many women would not care about the colours used in games, especially because we’ve grown used to games having muted colours. We assume bright colours are more for children’s games.

    I’ve also been playing WoW for 4 years, and I think I only have one male character. Why? Well, who doesn’t want to stare at a female butt all day?

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