I had a very stimulating conversation this past weekend about one of the worst things that women can say to men: "Let's talk about our feelings." Ironically, the stereotypical belief that women are more emotional while men are more physical showed up in a news story that I ran across this morning: "Explaining disconnect between women, video games."
According to the story, the reason why less than 10% of the gaming industry is made up of women is because video games aren't pushing womens' right buttons. Sheri Graner Ray (a game designer and keynote speaker at the first-ever Sex in Video Games conference) claims, "Most video games are like bad boyfriends—they're too involved with their own male sexuality to even try to crack the female sexual code."
"While it's true that both male and female characters display the common heroic traits of being young, strong, virile, and fertile... only the female characters display physical traits humans get when they're ready for sex: partially open mouths with large red lips, heavy eyelids (or 'bedroom eyes'). The female characters are also dressed in sexually explicit clothing and placed in sexual poses, whereas the male characters aren't."
However, Ray says that beefing up and sexualizing more men in video games isn't necessarily going to increase the appeal for women. "Don't trivialize the importance of the emotional experience... Video games need to provide a way for women to have a deeper experience with the characters."
Ray believes "Video game companies that truly want to market to female gamers will provide a way for players to become acquainted with their characters, even allowing for an emotional attachment to develop... some games could feature an interview section in the tradition of magazines like Seventeen and Tiger Beat, which run photos of teen idols alongside short Q&A sections that reveal casual details: hobbies, tastes and quirks."
As a woman, and a lover of video games, I think this topic is very convoluted. I may not be the stereotypical female who cringes at the shoot 'em and slash 'em up games - although in real life, the sight of blood makes me both nauseated and faint. Sex in video games? That's cool with me, but I probably won't buy or rent any (call me a paranoid parent). However, if I did, I probably wouldn't spend my entire weekend forming a relationship before I go in for the kill. I remember bragging about completing God of War in three days.... any video game would have to have a whole lot of action to keep my interest for that long.
What types of video games do you think would appeal to women? Don't worry, no offense will be taken...