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Gaming Magazine Ads: Failing the Female Market 428

Anonymous Coward writes "Just saw an article titled Gaming Magazine Ads: Failing the Female Market. Thought you might find it interesting." The question which I've always had is, what is cause and what is effect? We know that games (and ads, naturally) appeal to men primarily; we know that male gamers are in the majority (though not by as much as I thought; see the article). But do the games/ads actually turn women away, or are they just catering to the pre-existing audience?
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Gaming Magazine Ads: Failing the Female Market

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    I guess the real question is, does the advertising attarct the market or does the market attract the advertising??
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The rule is they wouldn't do it if it didn't sell

    Do you remember the kind of sexism that existed it beer ads in the recent past? It's largely been removed through activism, but beer sales have NOT declined. The sexism in current computer gaming ads is not driven by increased sales, but by sexist attitudes on the part of the advertisers, just as it was in the past in countless other markets.

    As for the fact that the people who buy games are for the most part male, this is not caused by females not being able to enjoy the same type of games. It's a matter of inaccesability. There's thousands of excellent hard-core female Quake players, who are perfectly normal people. That provides a sufficient counter-example to the argument that games and girls just don't mix.

    Computer gaming is just another "old boys club". Over and over we've heard the same talk about why women aren't interested in or can't do something. And every time it's BS.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Now this is, of course, merely my speculation, but doesn't it make sense that, rather than being a huge paternistic conspiracy to keep women out of technology, it is simply another odd effect of an animal who's instincts translate into his more advanced culture?

    It's well known that men are more likely to engage in life-threatening situations than women, biologically. We don't carry children, our bodies are generally built better for such activities, we were the primary hunters (a dangerous sport when your only weapon is your bare hands or a sharpened bone), etc.

    Women are, genetically speaking, both more fragile and more valuable individually. A woman who is pregnant should be kept out of as much dangerous activity as possible to have the best chance of carrying the child to term, and so is not as inclined to take risks that could endanger her blood line.

    "Violent" games excite us, and perhaps deliver to us some of the brain candy that we're genetically programmed to seek out.

    And as for technology in general, men tend to be much more problem and goal oriented, whereas women tend to be more socially oriented. Men are generally more comfortable forming a system to solve problems and sticking to it, whereas a group of women will generally want to discuss the issue, and utilize the experience as a way to come together socially.

    Computers are rife with problems waiting to be solved. No social interaction needed, just the individual and the challenge. Perhaps this is why we see so many more male programmers than female ones. Its just not in line with what a woman, genetically, wants.

    I'm expecting to get flamed on this by at least one person who takes exception to my differentiating between the sexes this way. I'll just state my feelings outright. Men and women are DIFFERENT. Our brains do NOT work the same way, and for good reason. Certainly, as citizens of the earth we are equal, but to pretend that we are the same is sacrificing truth on the altar of political correctness. Neither sex is, IMO, "better" as a whole, but certainly one sex will be better adapted to certain situations than the other.

    --mrex, posting anonymously because he forgot his passwd
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Nope, I'm saying it's a viscous cycle. A self reinforcing loop of our society. One of the major reasons that there are very few women who get engineering degrees is the fact that the classrooms are virtually all male. But the REAL reason isn't that one. If you had read my post more carefully, you would have noticed that I point out that is societal brainwashing that is the underlying cause. This is not done on purpose, it is a result of the same stereotypes having occured in the parents lives. This stereotype is then passed on to the children. The thing that makes these stereotypes so sinister is that no one notices they are reinforcing them. It is clear that no one believes me by the score on my previous post. Too bad. Looks like there will be another 100 years of backwards thinking holding our society back.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    There are women with high level of testosterone. They ARE interested in technical stuff just like males.

    Testosterone -> interest in technical stuff.

    Also the story "we dont give them construction toys" is just pure crap. There were many families that TRIED to put the same toys to boys and girls from the age of 1. The result? The boys played with guns and tech toys and girls played with barbies, houses etc. The girls showed NO INTEREST in tech toys (and there is nothing wrong with that). THEY MADE THE SELECTION WITHOUT ANY SOCIAL PRESSURE. When will world come to the conclusion that woman differs substantially from man? I dont want to see a male-only world. Women are beautiful because they are women! The two genders exist to complement each other, not to become one (male).

  • by Anonymous Coward
    >umm...did you read the _rest_ of the examples? This was by far the least direct of them. Your
    >attitude seems to be the sort that causes the problems she is discussing.

    Yes, I did read the rest of the examples. The other cases did seem to indicate sexist advertising, but the joystick issue (listed last...) seemed to be a tenuous link at best -- without actually viewing the advert.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Apparently she hasn't browsed any of those womens magazines that you find the local grocery counter. Some of these magazines show women in a much more revealing nature than any of these game magazines!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Somebody moderate this up, up, please! Not only is this a clever rebuttal to the original article, but it caused me to involuntarily inhale an unhealthy amount of Mountain Dew.
  • Etymology of Frag From the New Hackers Dictionary http://pebbles.eps.mcgill. ca/jargon/html/entry/frag.html [mcgill.ca]

    frag n.,v.

    [from Vietnam-era U.S. military slang via the games Doom and Quake] 1. To kill another player's avatar in a multiuser game. "I hold the office Quake record with 40 frags." 2. To completely ruin something. "Forget that power supply, the lightning strike fragged it.

    /joeyo


  • I'd say there's a simple solution to this problem. Start a new gaming magazine which is geared towards a different kind of audience. It could step in and capture the parts of the gaming market that all other gaming mags are ignoring, and that refers to more than just women. I know that I stopped reading game magazines some years ago for much the same reasons that this article describes: all of the articles and especially the ads seem geared towards explositions, gore, sex, or any other quick attention-grabber, carefully avoiding any use of sophistication or subtlety. (If you don't think that advertising can be sophisticated or subtle, think of iMac, Infinity, or Volkswagon Bettle capagins.)

    Another amusing over-the-top gaming ad ancedote: my girlfriend and I attended CGDC last year. Microsoft poored some serious money into advertising there; you couldn't look in any direction without seeing a Microsoft-funded ad. Anyways, one of the advertising sets was a series of banners mounted in one of the halls connecting two of the largest rooms; all of them featured the words "Bring It On!" along with some sort of "extreme" picture, like a guy's head on fire or something. One of them was a picture of...sperm. Needless to say, we were laughing so hard we almost hurt ourselves. Of course, I suppose the sad thing is that this sort of advertising must be working on *someone*, or else it wouldn't be so prevelant...
  • I would think RPGs would be better suited to the female (tm) mentality, but we all remember what the pictures in the D&D books were like.

    Well at least over here (Sweden), there's a lot of female roleplayers, specially livers. It took something around 20-25 years for this to come around since the first RPGs came out, so I think we can expect the same trend in computer games. I know a lot more girls play computer games than they used to, so basically I think it's only a matter of time.
  • I don't have a wife or a girlfriend well color me surprised


    And I know all of the things you're going to say
    makes them no less true


    I think I've figured out about how old you are... it's about six.
    I'm old enough to be your daddy O sexless wonder.

    --

    I think the fact that you are up at 2:32 am EST mocking people on slashdot is very indictive of just how many relationships you have, stud.

    Good luck with the ladies.


    -[ World domination - rains.net ]-
  • For starters: this ad is written by "Atari"? Get a new nickname girl, that one is taken by an evil gaming corporation that has sexy game characters like those found in Gauntlet: Legends. The Valkyrie has that phallic sword that she always carries, and her screams are so sexy... Oops, I've been reading that article for too long.

    I don't read gaming magazines, but game advertising sucks anyhow. Who wants to be shouted at with "SEGA!". At least "Play-stashion" is a bit more bearable, but... come on. Most of the cool ads I've seen are literally just showing you how cool the game looks (and not really sexist, that I've seen). And really, who reads magazines anymore, when we have the internet? :)

    Well, I tend to like RPGs and pretty games. I don't play that many shooters. I'd rather be playing Angband, Final Fantasy, Ultima, Star Control, Heroes of Might and Magic, (or Masters of Magic! Please make a sequel!) those types of games.

    And from my experience with the chicks I know that play games... They tend to play some RPG's, more puzzle games than I do, and more heavy storyline games, some written by women. Some Sierra games come to mind (even sometimes including Leisure Suit Larry -- take that, silly article writer, it's funny stuff!) as well as King's Quest, and also the Gabriel Knight series (GK3 looks pretty cool) and many others...

    Of course, my generalizations could be horribly wrong, so please, any geekgrrls who would rather be playing Tomb Raider and Quake 3 please speak up, so we can get your e-m... um... hear your opinions. :)
    ---
    pb Reply or e-mail; don't vaguely moderate [152.7.41.11].
  • Well, it started to be this way for obvious reasons: follow the money.

    I know it wasn't this way back when I read "Nintendo Power", yea, when it first came out. You couldn't get offended by the advertising unless you were afraid of fat little Italian men and giant mushrooms.

    Before that, there was no problem with Breakout and Pong, I'm pretty sure.

    So it's obviously a recent thing, and apparently most of the gamers with the new, fast "gaming computers" are men. Otherwise, the gaming magazines are being pretty stupid. But it'd be worth it to have at least *a* gaming magazine devoted to the latest puzzle games, RPG's, etc., with advertising content to match. Heck, if I bought magazines, I might look at that. That's why I got Nintendo Power, to see what the next Zelda, Megaman, or Final Fantasy game looked like.
    ---
    pb Reply or e-mail; don't vaguely moderate [152.7.41.11].
  • Let me be more specific.

    Where I come from game magazines gather dust on the shelves more often than not. Where I come from people play games that they have *never* sean adds for. What game adds do is draw attention to particular games but not to gaming as a whole. That's like I said an early childhood or genetic thing.

    As to the authors claim that 50% of gamers are female. Where ? Not around these parts. The girls at my nice-in-law's school are really sisterly. They share everything; Romance novels, makeup kits, oddly shaped combs etc...

    Video games don't ever seam to come up, except as something we are doing instead of what they want.
  • That might be a good read. I figured it's something you learn early on but I didn't know where or how.

  • If you walk into a store selling games, the vast majority are targetting the "Hey, it moved. Kill it! Whoa cool explosions!" market, which is predominantly male. Anyone who prefers games which involve more thought than reflexes is largely ignored, regardless of gender. There really aren't many games which rise above the twitch-fest level. When this changes, I think we'll see more gamers overall.
  • ...Hasbro with its crop of incredibly bad Barbie games - no WONDER the young girls won't play them.

    I can't argue that they aren't bad, but they seem to be selling. "Barbie Generation Girl Gotta Groove" is number 5 on PC Data's Top Ten list for December '99. Check it out. [pcdata.com]

  • Are you saying that significantly more women would buy Unreal Tournament if it was marketed differently? It's still the same game. The object is still primarily to annihilate the other players. How would different advertising make it appeal to people that aren't already interested in that type of game?

    In other words, does Unreal Tournament, as a game, appeal to people who are offended by the ads?

  • I've talked (online) to girls that play Quake too, but they represent a tiny fraction of the total FPS market. I don't think that that's because of the advertising alone. In fact, I think advertising is only a very minor contributing factor. I think the main reason is that girls grow up being pushed in a completely different direction. They shouldn't bother with computers. That's guy stuff. If they're going to play games, they should be playing nice games like Tetris.. on Gameboy.

    If more girls were encouraged to get into computers, there would be more female programmers. At least some of these female programmers would get into creating games. These games would probably attract a larger female following than games made by guys for other guys like themselves.

  • The implication behind your satire is that games aren't for girls. Full stop.

    That's not the way I understood it at all. I think the implication was that some types of entertainment simply don't appeal to some types of people. Therefore, there's no sense in trying to market to those people.

    Now, if there is an adolescent boy somewhere trying to figure out what FPS game is cool to buy, then the advertising might influence him. It appeals to him. Since the advertising appeals to (or at least doesn't offend) the majority of the people that are interested in FPS games like Unreal Tournament or QuakeIII, they are getting the best return for their advertising dollar. If their ad can sway some people to buy UT instead of Q3, then they've done their job. If you only like games like Bomberman and Mario Kart, then you aren't likely to purchase Unreal Tournament, no matter what kind of ads they use, simply because the game itself doesn't appeal to you and the marketing isn't aimed at you.

  • Larger market segments get more magazines targeting them. You happen to be part of a smaller segment with fewer magazines competing for fewer dollars.

    I get most of my gaming info from Computer Games: Strategy Plus, various gaming websites, and a little from Maximum PC.

    If you don't like mags like Incite or PC Accelerator, don't buy them. There are obviously plenty of people who do like them though, and I think that that's fine too. To each his/her own. You can't expect every gaming mag to be aimed at people like you. There probably are some out there that appeal to you, you just have to look for them.

  • Where are the female coders? Why don't they write some games for female gamers? We've got a ton of guys coding games for guys, what the women need is for women to start writing games for them. Why? I'll tell ya why... err no.. you already said it:

    This crud is selling because girls are growing up pushed towards this stuff. It is a symptom of a much larger problem. ... Whole generations of women have been growing up under this brainwashing. No /wonder/ we have so few women in science and technology.

  • Well, it's funny and everything, but why must you assume that you have to be sex-starved to enjoy porn?

    The implication behind your satire is that games aren't for girls. Full stop. That's bollocks. My girlfriend routinely thrashes me at Mario Kart, Tekken, Bomberman and Puzzle Fighter. I bought her two Playstation games for her birthday, and she was grateful. She can't be unique in that respect (I, lucky, but not *that* lucky...)
    --
  • Those really are gross generalisations. They're about as gross as saying "Black consumers only buy branded hip-hop style sportswear. Advertising suits to blacks is a waste of time", or something crass like that.

    If you can market cars at women, then you can market games at them.

    We should be careful not to confuse women with non-gamers. Since most of the women you meet are non-gamers (either because they never will be, or because nobody's managed to market to them properly yet, so the bug hasn't bitten), it's easy to confuse the two. How do you market Quake III to someone who *hasn't* graduated from Doom (etc), regardless of whether they're male or female.

    The adverts in question here aren't trying to reach non-gamers. They're aiming for established gamers, and since so many of them are 15-25 yr old men, they go for the sex angle.
    --
  • There are a lot more female Slashdot readers here than I ever thought. And yes, I know it feels like we're always shouting into the wind trying to be heard, but most never seem to.

    Me? I played with Legos growing up, have had one computer or another since I was 8, freelance programmer and HTML coder, sys admin in training, and gamer (I played the *original* Wolfenstein, pre-3D). I'm the official geek in the family - my husband is "only" a draftsman (sorry, hon ). He games too, and some of our tastes overlap. Starcraft is his big one, and I like it OK, but I tend to prefer the C&C engine. Old as it is (::taps foot at Blizzard::) I like Diablo, a lot. And one of the character choices is (an albeit scantily clat) female. TR is OK - she's an intelligent female character, even if I wish she'd wear a bit more, and the gameplay's somewhat fun. And yes, I like SimCity - I want 3000 desperately - and related games, like Civ, Alpha Centauri, etc. I often multitask a SC2K game when I'm doing my homework. Helps me focus better. I use Win95 at home, because the stuff I need doesn't work well under WINE (yet), and my Linux box isn't up and running at the moment. I donated the monitor to my mother-in-law to replace her dead one, so she can still EM and keep up with her kids. And play Solitaire. ;)

    Side note, to whoever couldn't find Myth2 games online? Check out Kali. Yes, to get a regular account, you do have to pay, but it's a one-time fee, and I've yet to find any game that's capable of being networked that you *can't* play over there. I also tend to run into fewer PKs and jerks over there.
    • Corrinne Yu:
      [I'm in the 99.9999 percentile. Nothing you say applies to me. Stop it!]
    Look, lady, Better Homes and Gardens outsells Penthouse and Playboy combined while Ms. and Working Woman struggle for subscriptions. Women did that. Cosmopolitan sells millions of issues without a single article on programming. Women buy it.

    When you get to the fringes of the culture, generalizations cease to apply. Still, there's no point in pretending, that these generalizations are invented. They're not; they are based on observating the mass of people who inhabit the center of the bell curve.

    It's obvious that a lot of guys on Slashdot have never actually spoken to a typical American woman. I wonder if you have, either.

  • I must say I agree with the general tone of the article. Many of the ads I've seen in gaming magazines, and even in game developer magazines, are simply tasteless.

    There are two ads in particular which come to mind: One by ATI, showing nothing but a synthetic woman (evidently from some published game) with an almost unlawfully short skirt clutching an Uzi to her chest; and another for TrueMotion 2X, which has another synthetic woman in a pose about two pixels away from flashing her genitalia. The recent ads for LightWave 6 aren't much better, which feature two synthetic females in the foreground who are all cheesecake and no art. (And then there's the ads for Ventriloquist, which aren't offensive, just disturbing.)

    I admit this is all very subjective; some of the stuff I find interesting would probably have some of you on the phone to the authorities. So I would encourage the marketroids at game companies -- and other companies as well -- to avoid stuff that's crass and exploitive. It's too easy, and suggests laziness in your creative department. Try to be more original and artful.

    Schwab

  • Some anonymous coward dun said:

    Actually, you really don't need to give girls Barbie dolls or boys Lego blocks, they tend to have a maddeningly predictable preference. :-)

    Well, if that's so, I must be some kinda freak then. :) Or a gay transsexual trapped in a woman's body but I just don't know it. ;)

    I never played with Barbies except to shave off all their hair and mark them up and attempt to surgically "alter" them...my parents ended up buying me Matchbox and Hot Wheels cars along with Tinkertoys and Lego sets, because I had (and still have) an irresistable urge to take things apart to see how the hell they're put together. "Traditional girl toys" like baby dolls and such bored the absolute HELL out of me--I had much more fun playing with little highway sets I made for my Hot Wheels cars, or playing with GI Joes or Transformers (back in the good old days before they bastardised them to hell and back)...or playing "war" with my neighbourhood friends (who were mostly boys)...or making my own toys out of pipe-cleaners and playing with them (mostly furries, at that...surprise, surprise). I honestly thought at first Lord Kano got his name from Kano in Mortal Kombat rather than the actual martial arts person. :) Most of my favourite Playstation games tend to be Namco fighters, and my husband refuses to play Soul Edge with me anymore because of one too many times when I had Sophitia repeatedly knee Mitsurugi AND his gonads to death :) (ok, so I LIKE Sophitia, damnit!) and came very close to doing the same thing with me and Lilith in Darkstalkers 3, or Sakura in ANY Capcom game in which she appears :) (ok, so I go for the Kawaii Factor :). I have to have my husband remind me that we are not buying a Dreamcast for the sole purpose of playing Soul Calibur and allowing Sophitia to repeatedly knee Rock to death. The three big hobbies I've had are electronics construction, radio, and computer stuffle (ranging from building my own boxen for fun, to proving that PPP CAN work on an old 8086 box, to messing about with fractals, to messing about with Linux, to messing about with computer graphics--and it was the combination of fractals fascinating the hell out of me and having crazy dreams of working for Industrial Light and Magic someday what got me into taking what is known now as Computer Engineering and Computer Science, despite the high school counselor trying to steer me into essentially taking crafts...). I also have an unhealthy interest in special effects, especially on miniaturisation and costuming (I'd love one day to learn how to make my own fursuits, and I read Fangoria as a teen both for stuff on horror flicks and on costuming technique). I think Warhammer 40K is the bee's knees (and have on occasion attempted to pester the hubby, who owns Chaos Gate, to get Rites of War so that certain of us who like Eldar [aka Elves...in...spaaaaace...] can get Equal Time :). I usually don't just play with soldiers, but with Eldar and Orks (!). In my house it's my hubby who's the good cook, and I'm the all-around fix-it bitch :). I spent an unhealthy amount of time as a kid reading "Home Mechanix", and spend an unhealthy amount of time now reading the Physician's Desk Reference for fun as well as watching "New Yankee Workshop" and wishing I had the space and money to afford a workshop like Norm. :) I still think it hilarious that every woman who has EVER been on "Hometime", including Joanne Liebler (the once and future fix-it-lady), has succeeded in making Dean look so incompetent that they have eventually been forced off the show and started their OWN shows. :) I always preferred sci-fi and fantasy, and Harlequin novels bore me to absolute tears. I don't even like to wear dresses all that much because they're too damned drafty. :)

    Obviously, I skew the whole works all to hell and back. :) I'm also a woman and straight; last I checked, I didn't have an extra Y chromosome hiding around (then again, I also don't know my own blood type...yeah, real smart, I know). Given a choice between the Lego blocks and the Barbies, I'd take the Legos any day :)

    So, am I really that much of a freak? ;)

    (BTW, I can't say that the Natalie Portman crap really offends me that much. Kinda wish they'd stop posting it in every single thread on Slashdot, and I wish they'd quit posting it in triplicate, but I can't say it offends my sensibilities as a woman. I just wish they'd vary it...like, oh, hell, I dunno, Zelgadis Greywards naked (those of us who watch Slayers already know he's petrified, so no worries on that)...and people think I'm odd because I like Zelgadis. *shrugs*)

  • What's the point of getting killed if there are no repercutions?

    Hey, that's not true! You lose all your weapons! ;-)

  • It's latin, meaning break. Like _frag_ile and _frag_ment.
  • The issue about gaming magazines geared toward male readers is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to marketing computers to women.

    For example, I heard a report on the radio yesterday that the "Mattel" computers built by Patriot Computers had a big problem, namely that the "Hot Wheels" computer had more in the way of productivity tools than the "Barbie" computer. That raised the hackles of several feminist groups, who wants to make sure the next software bundle that comes with the "Barbie" computer does include more productivity tools.

    What is very interesting is that if you look at the ads in Computer Shopper magazine, they're mostly geared towards male readership anyways, with heavy emphasis on specifications, the latest hardware, etc. I have this feeling that Gateway--with its more "soft sell" attitude--is selling a lot more computers to female computer users than normal.
  • I've just had to spend money on closed-source mail and NAT software on NT. (straps on asbestos : I haad to do it, you see, I had no choice !! arghhh ! etc). I subdued my conscience slightly by mailing a everyone on the shortlist of contenders for my dosh explaining that if /one/ of them were open/free, they'd get my custom ahead of any closed competition.

    I've pursued a similar tactic in hardware sales. When buying my first PC, Mesh [mesh.co.uk] [check the link, they're as good at server admin as at marketing :) ] were on my shortlist, but had bikini-clad women draped over all their press ads ... I called the marketing dept. & told them they'd lost a sale on the basis of their terrible advertising. Flame me as PC if you want, but I did what I thought was right.

    Perhaps this approach could/should be taken with games ads -- insofar as any gamers in /.land care about such things ...

    --

  • So what? Nancy Reagan also had "concrete data" from her astrologers telling her how to arrange Ronald's schedule. How are the marketers different from astrologers?

    Statistical analysis is a powerful tool. If used properly, they can give you both an answer and an error range for any probability-related question you care to ask (like "will this advertisement appeal to X audience?" or "what do most members of X audience want in a game?").

    Unfortunately, most people don't understand how to properly produce statistics. This means that the average person cannot tell whether a statistic is valid or not. Marketing departments have taken advantage of this, and rolled out reams of questionable statistics for the masses. The end result of this is that a large chunk of the population considers statistics to be worthless, because marketing has inundated them with bogus ones.

    The only solution that I can see to this is education. Learn what statistics _are_. Learn how to produce them, and how to tell how reliable they are or aren't in a given situation.

    Statistics are just about the only tool that _can_ be used to determine market appeal. Applied properly, they can accurately answer most questions you care to ask about your market. They will also tell you what questions they _can't_ accurately answer.

    If you see a bogus statistic, attack the methods of the people who produced it. Don't attack statistics in general, without learning about it first.
  • There was a story in yesterdays NYT about the Barbie PC. Unfortunately, it's only accessible now if you pay. However, a few choice quotes:

    Quote 1: "the $599 Barbie PC comes loaded with a little more than half of the educational software found on Mattel's companion computer for boys, the Hot Wheels PC".

    Quote 2: "the larger number of popular Barbie programs, like Barbie Fashion Designer and Detective Barbie, left less room for educational titles on the girls' computer.".

    In other words, lets put this into perspective. Stereotypical adverts in gaming magazines are *relatively* less important than the stereotypes being presented to young kids.

    And lets not even get started on Barbie's physical proportions...
  • Well if she does go home with Eggbert, they'll go to a nice big house in the suburbs and make sweet love in the hot tub, which she and Eggbert were able afford because of Eggberts career as a MCSE, CNE, and linux guru.

    If she goes home with Russ, they'll be going home to a trailer because between shifts at the local gas station Russ knocked her up and she had to leave school to care for her baby.

    Russ can't buy her a single red rose, while Eggbert can shower her with a dozen black roses per week.

    The REAL world is much different than high school.

    LK
  • >>b) All "if"s aside, she's still going home with Russ. And if she doesn't, Russ is going to hunt Eggbert down and kill him. Because he can

    You're forgetting that since Eggbert is a geek he'll have the sweetest in personal protection technology available to him. AND he'll know how to implement it. So when he approaches Eggbert will know about it and he then will open up Russ's forhead with a small round piece of copper jacketed steel.

    >>c) Russ can go to MCSE boot camp, and get his MCSE in two weeks. He can then rise up the corporate ladder (which is easy to do if you're

    Gas station attendants don't have enough money to do that.

    >>6'6"), become Eggbert's boss, fire him for using linux (or playing quake) at work, and then steal

    Could only happen at Microsoft, where no self-respecting geek would ever work in the first place.

    >>the wife, GothChik, of the poor unemployed Eggbert. And then have hot uninhibited sex with GothChik every night.

    In the world of make believe where you apparantly reside, Russ's number one goal is to get sloppy seconds *AFTER* Eggbert is done?

    Sux to be you.

    LK
  • I'm a game-playing geek and I just happen to be married to a hot blonde. I also have trophies for the karate tournaments that I've been in. (I never won first, Second is the best I ever placed) I also have a permit to carry a concealed weapon. She's safer with me than she would be with her own father.

    I was a fat kid, I'm still about 15 pounds overweight as an adult, but I'm working on that. Ugly? Not in the least, I'm not supermodel material but definately a handsome man.

    All of this and I'm a geek. I'm an avid gamer. I was a founding member of this area's (South western pennsylvania) largest LAN gaming group.

    I'd spank your ass at Q2 or UT and if you don't like it, I could kick your ass on the street. When I go home tonight I'm going to score with that hot blonde that I married.

    Hot chick at home, and an Übergamer to boot. Read it and weep.

    Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeyatch!

    LK
  • Personally, I think the whole topic is moot because I know *VERY* few girls who even read video game magazines.

    That's sort of the whole point of her article... she's talking about why women don't read video game magazines, and her point is pretty valid. If I were part of that demographic group, I'd be put off by it too.

    Personally, I agree with her summary... however, here's the big fat gotcha... if she doesn't like it, why doesn't she get together with some other women and start a video game magazine targeted towards a female demographic? Or find someone with deep pockets to fund such a venture...

    To be honest, I think the reason that hasn't been done yet is because there's simply not enough of a potential revenue stream there to support such a magazine. However, I'd happy to be proven wrong.

    -- Gary F.

  • "A very phallic joystick fills up this page, and the stick is replaced with a stick of dynamite..."

    Methinks she might be reading into this a bit too much.

    ~~~~~~~~~
    auntfloyd
  • Atari hit it right on the money when saying alot of magazines don't appeal to people who don't like exclusively violent games male or female.

    Game magazines are today basically made for teenage boys. Just go look and read the content in any game magazine. They looks like they were written by teenage boys (no offense to teenage boys).

    My question is, when can we get a decent magazine that DOESN'T have all the latest crap to pander to the lowest common denominator? When will there be a game mag for geeks who have been playing video games for over 20 years (like myself)? Next Generation used to be really good, but they've gone the way of Wired. Right now I feel that if I want to be informed I gotta weed through about 5 pages of "hottest big breasted women ever" and "35 new fraggled tips to Quake 3". Ugh.
  • Actually, most guys do, too, come to think of it.

  • I think this is silly. Women arn't stupid, weak little flowers that we need to be delicet with. Most of the girls I know are just as ranuchy in there talk as the guys I know, and there probably worse when there alone together.

    Most women Are not emotionaly immature idiots who can't stand the idea of sex. Pictures of scantily clad women arn't going to make them feel uncomfortable for the most part, especialy the ones who are going to be reading game mags anyway.

    I'm not saying that women arn't going to be offended by someone cat-calling them or whatever, but A guy would be as well. but an image in a magazine just is not going to bother many people.

    I don't see whats so hard to understand about this. Women arn't stupid, they can handle this. Sure, there not going to want to run out and buy the game. But not being part of a target demographic isn't discrimination...

    "Subtle Mind control? why do html buttons say submit?",

  • When I play on BattleNet and someone finds out I'm female, their next comment is usually
    "No way- what's your bra size?"


    And then you wonder why you`ve never encountered another female. *sigh*
  • (warning, gross generalizations ahead! when I talk about women in general I mean the way 90% of them usually behave)

    Male gamers go around looking for the best new toys. While they enjoy playing a game while they have it, they are eager to leave it in the dust as soon as something better comes along. We hunt relentlessly for new and more exciting experiences.

    Female gamers get hooked on games that they just find lying around, like Solitaire and Tetris. They enjoy that type of game, which tends to be pure game and not an exciting assault on the senses, nor a simulate fantasy. They are reluctant to leave a game unless they truly master it and become bored with it.

    How could you advertise to a market like that? Why would they exert the effort to look for another game when they've got a perfectly good one in front of them? How could you even describe the added enjoyment without letting them play the game?

    Male-oriented games are easy to advertise, because you can hype the graphics or sound, or hype the incredible AI that will hunt you down like a psychotic genius, or the babes in skimpy outfits, or the realistic flight model, or the perfectly rendered gobbets of flesh that fly when you hit the target. They're not just games, but immersive experiences, and you can tell men just why yours is better than everyone else's.

    The only effective game advertising for females is something like the Barbie horse ranch game, because children of either sex are suckers for merchandising.
  • Rott had selectable characters of differing
    origins. So it is not that hard. The hard part is convincing the geek programers on superiority fantasy that people might acctually want to assume the role of someone not white male.
  • And actually an interesting site, it goes in
    my bookmarks. The author also states that
    (I assume) she canceled her subscription to the
    gaming mag. Can't blame her, lame is lame.
    Being male I can't really speak to the female
    market aspect but a mag with tons of ads that
    speak to 12 year old boys and only 12 year old
    boys sounds like a waste of time (unless you
    are a 12 year old boy in which case it's maybe
    Hot Grits)

    If these folks want to extend their market
    beyond little boys they are going to have to do better than this.

    And that's all I have to say about that.

    garyr
  • ) I think this is nothing but an attack from an uber-nich-feminazi organization against a group that has no reason to market to them


    sorry. Read, for instance, their TR4 [womengamers.com] review. If they had the agenda you ascribe they would just flamed it and not actually reviewed the game. they seem to understand that it's fiction and that all game characters are characitures.

    garyr
  • Quakers don't dress funny (that's Puritans) or abhor sex (that's Shakers, and strangely they all died out). Quakerism is just another protestant sect (though in my unbiased opinion the coolest one - they have a real concern for equality and social justice).

    I know some pretty randy quakers, but AFAIK there aren't too many Puritans left around these days.

  • Good Lord Man, I'm using a wheel mouse with that little bump - I though my mouse was sliding around a little too much...

    dave
  • That's where it comes from. It's short for Fragmentation Grenade, AFAIK. I believe if originates around the time of the Korean War, or possibly Vietnam.

    dave
  • FYI: Geek women are not the sterotype.

    Be glad you're unique.

    I would never have even considered buying one of those magazines. They strike me as aimed at teenagers, let alone just men.

    Bingo. This is the point she missed. As more marketers realize this untapped resource of adult computer gamers, we'll see more appropriate magazines emerge. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if we had a business magazine take up the slack.

    --
    Gonzo Granzeau

  • i wrote a nice long reply, then netscape crashes, so:

    ya, society that's what i meant
    yes, i'm a bit ignorant (stuck in high school and all) but i certainly am not sexist, of course i believe women have just as much potential as men, but based on my own experiences, i have yet to see a girl play quake (even among the geeky girls at school - they are science/math geeks, not computer geeks)

    re: ps - I have female friends, they dont play computer games all that much, thus i dont really talk to them about it (although now i will just to get an answer) and getting a GF is a great idea, if I can just stop being shy!



    _______________________________________________
    There is no statute of limitation on stupidity.
  • this is just how i see it:

    a lot of women likes things stable while men oftentimes like to explore and tinker. this is why males like things such as engineering, technology, and gadgets more than women. This is true in the classroom where a lot more males take eecs classes (or just look at the male:female ratio in silicon valley) or in the car shop where you are going to see guys working on cars rather than gals. so basicly men are more into technology (yes i know there are lots of gal chicks out there who dig linux =) but in general, there are more guys on the computer than girls. also, guys tend to like violent games like first action shooters or your favorite real time strategy game. gals on the other hand... are generally more into less violent games (arcade, that barbie crap - please don't flame me for this, i'm a guy clueless about girls and i have no idea what kind of games girls play, i could be wrong, but i have not seen any girls at my school play quake, so based on personal experience, i can only imagine gals playing arcade games or something barbie related) but looking at the male:female ratio when it comes to games, there's a much bigger male market than female market. that's why female oriented gaming advertising has failed, because of the smaller market... also, the programmers developing games are usually guys, they really don't have the insight into what girls want...

    I think more females need to get into computer, games, and technology. there's a huge market for games that girls would like, and i think it can boom as soon as something think of a killerapp for girls + computer + games, something along the lines of guy + k7 800 + quake 3, except it's girl-oriented.


    _______________________________________________
    There is no statute of limitation on stupidity.
  • //the below is lighthearted teasing
    forgive a girl for pointing out the obvious, but it's hillarious to watch y'all turn the thought-provoking post above into a discussion of the origin of the word 'frag', complete with a smack-talking taunt involving anal rape by large weapon...


    i know that people gravitate to the area of their comfort, and i also know that pissed-off women are hardly as fun or interesting as killing other men, but come on...

    //the above was lighthearted teasing
  • Offtopic as hell, but since you ask . . .
    except, you have to wonder what the point is for wearing armor that bares every vital part of the body . . .
    That's so those nasty evil warriors will stop to stare at your . . . eh . . . vital parts . . . giving you some extra time to knock them senseless. Sort of a safety measure in other words. Doesn't work with orcs by the way. Different cultural values sort of thing (just take a look at Miss Orc Universe and you'll know exactly what I mean.)
  • Let me tell you, they're failing males too. The average game magazine is targeted at spotty pre-teens and teens who have such varied interests as Star Trek, Pokemon, and comic books. That's how they've been for ten years or more, with a slight pardon given to Next Generation. What's happening now is that lots of people are getting into games, but aren't liking the existing game communities at all. I can't say I blame them.

  • yes, i'm a bit ignorant (stuck in high school and all) but i certainly am not sexist

    Yes, you are sexist. I don't mean that offensively; I was sexist in high school too. American (and I believe other nationalities too) males have about a 0% chance of not becoming sexist. Study psycology. It is possible to socialize males to identify with (traditionally) female gender traits, and the opposite is true. Anecdotal evidence that you have picked up falls through when you realize that your "objective" observations are influenced by the system you are judging.

    As far as learning goes... you wouldn't expect a windows user to understand the beauty of command line without having it all explianed to them would you? I don't expect you to understand just how much of your male gender identity has been spoon fed to you by the world that shaped you. We all see how Microsoft's advertising FUD can affect completly "rational" people.

    You may respond, "But there has to be a reason that it is like this! I mean it diddn't just randomly develop this way".

    However, I think most /. readers tend be skeptical
    when it comes to believing what is handed to them without examining the source code. Well, here the source code is a culture, and most people think that the reason they like barbie doll figures is due to genetic makeup. A quick stroll through the Metropolitan Museum of Art should indicate that it hasn't always been that way. =)

    So, I enjoy hacking on our culture. I get the same pleasure out of knowing that I have decided on an OS that suits my needs after seeing the alternatives, as well as a social stance against sexism. I was taught sexism, and I was taught DOS. I learned UNIX and I learned true equality. I am a happy man on both counts.

    I will show you some places to look if you have the desire to learn more about this system. RTFM if you will. First, talk to the experts. (women) If you don't have a girlfriend or female friends, talk to your mother, sister, or family. Understand that the might not even be aware of how they are affected. Try to see all of the differences in treatment and try to reason if they are really justified or just FUD.

    - pos


    P.S. Just to staighten everyone out: Gender is a social construct and sex refers to a person's "equipment".

    The truth is more important than the facts.
  • Here's the reason...

    Male gamers go around looking for the best new toys. While they enjoy playing a game while they have it, they are eager to leave it in the dust as soon as something better comes along. We hunt relentlessly for new and more exciting experiences.


    A little noun/pronoun replacement gives us another seemingly true statement:


    Male gamers go around looking for the best new [women]. While they enjoy [censored] a [woman] while they have [her], they are eager to leave [her] in the dust as soon as some[one] better comes along. We hunt relentlessly for new and more exciting experiences.

    And people say women aren't treated like objects in this society. I just thought that was interesting.

    By the way... part of the reason there are so many male gamers is because there are so many males with computers. Part of the reason there are so many males with computers is because parents are more likely to buy a computer for their son than their daughter. (I do not want to hear lots of replies about how you know a girl with a computer and that's why this statement is false. I am talking statistics here, and I know how they can be skewed too =) I know a lot of you probably felt an irrational flash of anger when you read that (because I did too) but if you think about it, it does kinda make sense.

    flame on.

    -pos


    The truth is more important than the facts.
  • I can't really see what open source has to do with this at all.

    It's not about OS's and Open Source really. I think that what I'm trying to say is that freedom and free thought are held as ideals by most slashdot readers. A lot of them simply do not extend their code philosophy into other situations.

    As an aside, I think that a lot of people like Open Source because they like to tinker with source code and Open Source gives them more source code to do that with. However, I personally think skepticism is a big part of Open Source. It won't crash? Show me the code. No security holes? Prove it.

    P.S. Don't take this as a flame - the rest ofyour comment was well thought out.

    Thank you. Well thought out comments seem to recieve less flame.

    -pos


    The truth is more important than the facts.
  • The real difference happens either very early in childhood or is hardwired into the geans. I suspect the former based mostly on a child I know ( 12 now ) who would spend hours before the mirror fighting her hair and "simulating" makeup but would also "repair" small appliances. The latter probably has more to do with walking through my "lab" every day.

    It is not hardwired. If you want to know why... I suggest you read the following:

    The Body Project [buy.com] is basically about how our culture teaches women that their time should be spent preening, losing (or gaining) weight, putting on makeup, etc... Self image is warped.

    It's a pretty cheap book and it will definitly change they way you view the world. If any of you are parents or soon to be parents, I suggest you read it. It will help you understand what the world will teach your daughters.

    -pos


    The truth is more important than the facts.
  • I remember somewhere around Ultima V, VI or VII, you started being able to choose the sex and look of the Avatar. Then Origin seemed to have abandoned that tack and went to requiring you to play a blond, blue-eyed Avatar. About the time the Ultima series became sucky...

    But anyway, if you had something to do with Ultima V, all I can say is thanks for keeping me from getting anything done for six months...
  • flamebait, offtopic alert: Quake? To me it's a yawner -- if I want network play, I'd rather exercise my napoleonic tendencies in Myth II; learning to flank works the mind a little harder.



    Quake (all versions) is a great stress reliever if you're good at it (Good enough to place in the top 3 consistently on any server) but it can really stress you out if you suck. I tend to play it for about an hour when I get home from work then move on to Master of Orion 2 or Myth 2. The problem with Myth 2 is that the computer is rediculously easy to beat except in the cases where they overwhelm through sheer numbers, in the vicinity of 15 to 1 odds tends to do me in. And I can't find anyone to play against online. There are all of these communities and server lists for things like Quake, but I can never find a place to play any of my strategy games, and whipping the computers ass just gets boring after a few dozen times of beating a game on 'Impossibly Nightmarishly Difficult'.
    So I think the answer to the problems of the Strategy gamer is community, our community doesn't play together....

    Kintanon
  • Cosmo is almost their own self-parody, but you're missing the nuances here: the idea they have is more of using sex as a weapon to turn a man into a moron.

    Since when do women need help turning us into morons? Most men turn into gibbering sweaty incoherent heaps around women, no matter how smooth and calm they pretend they are on the inside they are hoping and praying they don't pull a Stan....

    Kintanon
  • Nobody will ever see this post, so I can kind of just ramble here...to me, it truly is not whether you win or lose. Shit, everyone dies, so ultimately, it's game over, you lose (though if I remember correctly, you are a religious person and would disagree with my metaphor).

    If I may point this out, the idea of relaxing for an entire hour with Quake and THEN move on to other games is totally alien to me -- that's a whole lotta time devoted to competing. And among boys, that's not even close to "obsessive".

    No matter what your gender, you rank a game by how much fun it really is. Fun for some is bass fishing, for others it could be barbie makeovers, or late night quake games beating the crap out of buddies, or just exploring alien worlds like Riven...

    For me, all I really care about is figuring shit out. I like slurping up a problem and coming up with a solution in a real time. Women are good at that kind of stuff (so are men), but they aren't under the influence of male hormones. I think that is why you see women playing solitaire, tetris, riven, oddworld....it doesn't bother them that they aren't scoring off anyone.

    Do you REALLY play a game a few dozen more times once you've finished it? Why? Once you've figured it out, why would you play it again? Maybe you are trying to get your money's worth...but I can't even understand that. Once I know all the secrets, that's it. Shelf time.



    That's just it, to me all of those puzzle games are TOO EASY, there is no challenge and never has been. When I was young intellectual pursuits came easily to me, so I turned to physical pursuits for a challenge, I got so good at things like Chess and Magic: The Gathering that no one would play with me. I'm so good at Myth 2 that no one will play with me, same with MOO, MOO2, and every other strategy game I've ever played. I hold a first degree black belt in Taekwondo and have researched many other martial arts because I need the challenge. I'm currently learning C++, and Delphi because my life is lacking challenges. In games like Quake I have a challenge because there is always someone a little better than I am. Why am I going to pay for a game that I finish in 15 minutes and never play again. I refuse to spend 40$ on 15 minutes of enjoyment. I'd be better off renting games like that. I NEED a human element to the competition because without it the game is too easy. This is kind of rambling, but like you said, no one will read it.>:)

    Kintanon
  • It's like the Grits references. Once a troll hits us up for a few thousand mental impressions, it sticks. There are legions of /. patrons that will still associate 'naked' and 'petrified' decades from now.
  • Actually, the name "joystick" was coined during WWI. It was a completely unsubtle reference to the control stick which, in the earliest planes, was an unadorned rod that stuck up between the pilots legs. I don't think she's that far off the mark...

  • Yes they are...

    I don't have to look any further than my suburban white friends who call their girlfriends bitch and ho behind their back in front of others to see the seed of NWA's assault on America. Of course, I also think these kids are kind off stupid for modelling themselves after ghetto youth but that's another discussion. We also have them to thank for starting the revolution that brought the words bitch and ho to TV and radio. That said, I love NWA. Songs like Fuck the Police and Niggaz 4 Life resonate within me and voice feelings that myself and several thousand others feel.

    • Why do I call myself a n***** U ask me/ Because the police alway s harrass me
    As a young, black male who has been handcuffed in the back of a police car for being in lost in a predominantely white southern U.S. county, been tailed on the interstate several times for no reason by police (I had out of state tags but so what?) and have had police officers write me tickets for paperwork violations before scrutinizing my paperwork (and thus having to rip up tickets) the music of NWA speaks to me of my experiences. I don't listen to most of their other songs but I know for a fact that the scenarios depicted in She Swallowed It and Just Don't Bite It are not unusual in several economically-depressed neighborhoods in America.
    I guess NWA's main fault is exposing America's rotten underbelly that most middle/upper class American's would rather ignore. Of course, introducing little Johnny to profanity is also another nail in their coffin. I remember when NWA first came out they were trying to make a political statement and in several interviews said "All we're doing is describing our environment.", maybe instead of censuring (this is not a typo) them society should have tried to find out why so many of it's members felt so disenfranchised and should have done something about it.
  • This is plain and simple. If you look at college students and older individuals who are gamers, I have not seen even ONE who reads game magazines anymore. My fiance and I certainly don't. None of the network gamers whom I played with in college read magazines either. I knew dozens of gamers and NONE read these magazines.

    Want to know why?

    We all had the internet.

    All of us, the gamers, looked at reviews on the net, because they are free and more likely to be useful. Noone read the game magazines, because when we looked at their reviews for games we already had, they gave good reviews to bad games and bad reviews to Great ones in our opinions. Why read something that you have to pay for and is not targeted at you, when you can get something better for free?

    B. Elgin

  • "Video games appeal to boys more and men more than girls and women."

    1) Says who?
    2) If so, then why?

    I don't necessarily buy (1), and what are the odds that the reason is partly because of the marketing?

  • Check out Games Domain for Farrah's great series, "The Pink Aisle." [gamesdomain.com] She points out quite well just where some of the failings in the current gamers' market are.

  • ((...they wouldn't do it if it didn't sell. Ads are created to get revenue, and I'm sure companies have found that, bluntly, bigger tits sell more games))

    Correction: Bigger tits sell more games _to_ the people they're _aiming_ for. They sell more games to the teenage (and mentally teenaged) male population. They certainly don't sell more games to females, thank you very much.

    ((The truth is that games are easier to program for boys.We like points, action, motion, and triggers. Women (stereotypically, but also truthfully) like conversations, complex rewards, stories, and ... thinking ))

    I would be insulted, but you just shot yourself in the foot. You just implied that men don't like thinking. *snicker*

    Actually, I like motion. I like the thinking aspect of games, but sometimes it feels really good to shoot the s--t out of something. Currently I spend a lot of time playing Planescape: Torment. I got it for my birthday, along with a new soundcard (creative live x-gamer in case you want to know). Heh, I didn't sleep all last weekend until I passed out on Sunday because of that damn game. :)
    Intelligence, charisma, for once these things make a difference in a game. The conversations are different, the moves are different. It takes thought, yes. But y'know, lazy programmers do not a good game make. And a bad game might sell to teenage boys, but it won't sell the huge numbers of copies that will be sold by a game which appeals to both genders AND to those who like to think.

    ((What's the point of getting killed if there are no repercutions? ))

    Hey! You don't get repercussions in Torment for dying, and I love that. It's not repercussions... the problem I've had with Quake is that there's _no_point_ to it. You go in, you shoot, you kill, you die. Period. Sure, you can brag to your friends about how many frags you got, or compete with them for numbers. Who cares? I don't need a high frag-count to boost my self-esteem.

    Ok, sometimes it's fun to do, but I tend to like sims more for that. Heavy Gear rocked. And yes, to pop the bubble of the males who will raise eyebrows at that, I kicked @$$ at it. I was not-quite-unbeatable. I used NO armor on my mechs (too much weight, can't RUN with armor), and I could - and frequently did - outrun zookfire without problems. And I got a real kick out of kicking the butts of the teenaged idiots who claimed that 'girls don't play 'games like this' '. Or the ones who assumed I was no threat because I was female. Slight revenge, but it was satisfying. It was more fun for me to work WITH people, though. There were a few people I truly enjoyed playing with, people who were both good at the game and accepting of me as a player, and they made the game, for me.

    Incidentally, I liked a lot of the pics in D+D books - I just wish the males had been as bare as the females, or maybe built a little less like Bubby the Bodybuilder and a little more like the wiry, strong, slim people they were usually supposed to represent. You don't need bulk to make strength, and you don't need bulging muscles to make a sexy man, although strength (wire, not bulge) does help.

    ((What games do _you_ want to play?))

    Well, Torment is pretty obvious I'd guess. :)

    Heavy Gear 2 is a pretty good bet too, when I get it. Dungeon Keeper was cool, but I want a male monster too. Horny was just too short-lived. Hmm... maybe a slaveboy for the mistresses to play with. Yes, I'm that evil. >:)
    I liked Myst enough to play it through once, but it had no replay value for me. Bleh. Same with Jewels of the Oracle. And Hexen. And Warcraft. SimCity was fun, but it got boring. No point to it, the same as Quake etc. I liked Daggerfall, but it was unplayable and annoying. Hmm... Baldur's Gate was fun, but once you played it through it was over, and not really fun to replay. Games I did NOT like include BattleZone (oh, I would have loved it, but the motion made me nauseous), Daggerfall (it was a bug-based love/hate relationship), and any game that puts graphics above gameplay. Quake Arena bores me, did quake already, don't need the multi-only version.

    I like editors, actually. I was waiting with baited breath for the Unreal editor to come out in a real form so I could buy it and read the manual and PLAY with it... but it never did :( The version that came with the game was complex and looked like fun, but without a manual or prior experience in making my own textures (:P ), I gave up on it.
    The HOMM editors sucked, but they could be fun - and the game was just silly enough for me to like. Same with warcraft. But with warcraft and homm and things like that, there is this... lack... you go through a level and say 'oh, cool, new creature, neat'....'wow, look what it does'....'ok, now can I move on please? No? *sigh* cleanup phase now... kill all the enemies, build up... *sigh*'. Bah.

    Frankly I prefer pencil and paper for RPG's, but good gamers and good DM's are hard to find.

    So tell me... since I _do_ like games that have a dark, evil cast to them, along with games that are not typically 'female' in nature, why are there no ads targetting me? None _at_all_? I'm not unusual, you know. I know lots of women who game the way I do - pretty eclectic. Now, while I like the phallic form, that doesn't mean I need to see it on everything. And while I don't mind the female form, I don't need to constantly see it half-naked, standing near fully-clothed males. The implication of female submission there is just not for me.

    Publishers, unfortunately, don't go for the idea of a gaming magazine geared to women - and if they did, they'd probably fill it up with fluff and pink-ness, and then claim the supposed lack of female gamers on its failure to capture an audience. *sigh*

    Did the gaming industry EVER have common sense?

    -Elthia
  • Hmmm. It's early. I'm not dressed for work yet...Let's check.
    Yep. I'm a guy.

    Hmmm.. (Digging through pile of computer magazine...oh look, Maxim, [toss])Ah. Here's one.
    (Shuffle Shuffle Shuffle)

    Nope. I can honestly say these ads don't do a thing for me either. About all they're good for is making sure I WON'T buy their game.

    Now before we get off on the wrong foot, I'm running a Windows platform just for games. Loki is making it possible for me to run a Linux only PC next year and I'm happy as heck. I go to LAN parties on a regular basis, including a small one last weekend. I'd buy Quake IV based on the name alone and I have to visit Bluesnews on a daily basis. Id, Bungie, and Blizzard are my current favorite companies (Firaxis took a big dive after betatest Centauri).

    My point? I'm not surprised that the ad companies, and everyone else seems to have some horrible sterotypical views of females. Their veiws of me as a male computer programmer suck even more.

    Off to the gym. Have fun everyone.

    -----
    Want to reply? Don't know HTML? No problem. [virtualsurreality.com]

  • Aw. But please support the chief financial supporter of my beloved 3D engine.

    Would it be worth it if I have been petitioning the Duke mappers to put in male homosexual strippers to appeal to the male homo market?

    BTW, they won't listen. :) Though they would make Duke Nukem "sexier" and more "muscular" to appeal the the gay guy. (Any news sites that dare quote me on that will receive flogging.)






  • I don't know if it is a case of doing your part or not, but it is obvious that many good resources targeted at girls never seem to hit the mark and are very often lost. One of my favorite gaming sites (and it also targets girls) is http://www.gamegirlz.com/ [gamegirlz.com] It's run by a girl in NS, Can. and it is an excellent site.
  • This "ads follow the demographic" bit is very true. There are ads for "Girl Computer games." You bring up Barbie. You won't see the Barbie Camera CD advertized in the same game magazines. Where are they? Watch Fox Kids! after school! Barbie has computer games, Barbie advertizes computer games, but not to the boys, and not where mostly boys and not the girls they want to suck in are watching. The demographic of afternoon TV is much more mixed, and the ads there reflect that. There are even ads for girl toys during the Batman cartoons! Most girls and boys at the younger ages, where computers are going to stick or not, are not interested in the other gender's stuff. (Boys got cooties!) Effective advertising for girls is not going to be in the mags marketed to boys, where they won't see it, it'll be in Young Miss Magazine, and on Pokemon on WB! I think Pokemon is a very good example, actually, of both-gendered marketing. The initial game that Game Freak designed for gameboy was mostly uglies. They put in Jigglypuff (ig) and others to make it attractive to girls, and it works! The girls AND the boys in the under-12 set at my church all play Pokemon Red and Blue on their Game Boys. They discuss strategy. Pokemon is like Doom in that it wants to be nethack when it grows up, but Pokemon is not packaged with all the ketchup. Heck, I prefer pokemon to doom! (And Descent to both- likewise: No Ketchup splatting all over my screen!)
  • Missed a spot!

    The interesting fact wedged in there -

    50% of gamers are female!

    The point of the article is that the women (and the market) are out there - in the cold. If the magazines removed their sexist bias, they could increase their circulation.

    A very cool game, and one that appeals to all, is Sonic Adventure. It's for Dreamcast, and manages to be a very fun and interesting combination of rocking 3D graphics, fast play, and adventure playing. I think there's plenty of room for more games like this - the games gets consistently great reviews.

    Have fun,

  • The problem seems to be the attitude of the entire publishing industry.

    With the falling cost of technology, magazines can be produced for remarkably little cost. This has allowed a huge selection of magazines with highly specialised subjects. Examples include Pike fishing, and Doll collecting. These magazines are not selling in huge numbers, but the market can sometimes support more than one on each subject.

    At the other end of the scale are the mainstream interest magazines. All these magazines want all of their respective market. In an attempt to achieve this, they work out what people are interested in based on the other magazines. This results in each magazine having roughly the same articles as all the others. If you don't believe me, try subscribing to two magazines aimed at the same audience for 6 months. You'll see that most of the articles that appear in one magazine will appear in the other in a modified form within a few months. They wouldn't dare do anything different.

    Large publishing companies are never after a small chunk of a large market, and all computer magazines are run by large corporations. They know what the readers want (and they're right as far as this applies to the majority).

    This attitude is - in my opinion - stupid. A computer magazine aimed at people who don't like violent games (not just girls/women)would only appeal to (at a wild guess) about 1-10% of the market. The difference is that they would have 100% of 1-10% of the market. The remaining 90-99% has a lot more competition, as well as a lot of loyal readers already reading the existing magazines. 1% of the non-violent games market is not huge, but is probably considerably bigger than the market for Pike fishing.

    The only solution I can think of is either to set up my own publishing company or pester the big corporations for a magazine aimed at me.
  • Games.

    Got to love games. Tetris? No thanks. Myst? Pretty graphics, I solved the mystery in, like, 45 minutes. Boring.

    My game is Soul Calibre. Oh yeah baby! Good old fashioned Violence (capital V intended). Many of my friends love this game, and there isn't a male around that'll play against me any more.

    I think the problem here (and as a general rule, everywhere) is that people take things too seriously. It's an ad, for Pete's sake. An ad. Don't like it? Don't look. Although I think the term "feminazi" used by a previous poster is a little harsh, I suspect that the reason many women don't read gaming magazines is more a matter of self-confidence than any political motivations.

    I don't feel inadequate looking at those women. I don't feel inadequate watching Lara Croft run around in a bikini.

    It's a game, ladies, not the world. It's not some attempt by "male CEO's" to put us down and keep us away from the computer or console.

    My $0.02 US ($10,000,000.00 CDN) worth.

    Sakhmet.


    "When I want to do something mindless to relax, I reinstall Windows 95."

  • Well, here goes, my first ever post to Slashdot and it just happens to be on a topic that I spend a lot of time wrestling with. You see I work for a website that reviews games and I am the only woman in the company, so I feel that I have a unique perspective in the company.

    We review everything, windows, linux, mac, console games, so I never know what sort of a title will cross my desk. I have been introduced to some very interesting games so far and I have found most of them to be a lot of fun, including car racing, boxing, first person shooters, puzzle games, adventure games, you name it, I've tried it and enjoyed it.

    I think the best thing to do is for the marketers to stop saying, well there's the gaming industry and over there is the female gaming industry. They are one and the same thing. I find women generally like all the same sorts of games as men, just sometimes in different proportions. There may be less Quake players, for example, that are women, but they are there.

    Personally, my favorite games right now are Half Life: Counterstrike and Railroad Tycoon II. I started gaming on a diet of Amiga adventure games, Doom eventually, and all sorts of others.

    Cheers everyone!

  • by Danse ( 1026 ) on Friday January 21, 2000 @09:59AM (#1352003)

    If companies target this audience, we'd have bankrupt companies left and right.

    Have you seen the top selling games lately? Depending on what you consider "real games", I think at least half of the top ten sellers last month were aimed at the casual gamer.

    • #1 Who Wants To Be A Millionaire
    • #5 Barbie Generation Girl Gotta Groove
    • #6 Deer Hunter III
    • #7 Toy Story 2 Action Game
    • #8 Frogger

    I doubt anyone would go bankrupt by targeting casual gamers.

  • by Graymalkin ( 13732 ) on Thursday January 20, 2000 @07:42PM (#1352004)
    Atari hit it right on the money when saying alot of magazines don't appeal to people who don't like exclusively violent games male or female. I think the reason is the magazine editorial staff is predominantly Quake-playing males (not as a slight against anyone mind you) and so they report on the stuff that interests them. One of the reasons ads appeal more to boys than girls is that it's easy to convince most guys of a game's appeal with Lara Croft in a bikini than it would be to entice a girl with some kinda character. Who knows, I'm just guessing.
  • by ForteBravo ( 15741 ) on Thursday January 20, 2000 @09:42PM (#1352005) Homepage
    I think many women (especially younger ones) are avid action gamers, but not to the exclusion of other games, and not for the purpose of proving their kung-fu.

    If there is any one game characteristic that unifies women gamers, I would say it would have to be problem solving. Games like Myst and Riven, the Oddworld series, and many good action games (the Marathon series comes to mind) feature excellent gameplay that challenges the mind first and foremost; itchy trigger fingers are a secondary skill.

    I have high standards for my games. I like screaming graphics just as much as any other geek, but I am easily bored by repetitive shooting sprees.

    flamebait, offtopic alert: Quake? To me it's a yawner -- if I want network play, I'd rather exercise my napoleonic tendencies in Myth II; learning to flank works the mind a little harder.

    Back to the subject: I'm not trying to imply that teenage boys are poor at problem-solving, or even uninterested. They just have different standards for what qualifies as an un-fscking-believable game.

    Please remember, though, that the ads that are the subject of this story target people who buy magazines and NOT people who buy games. Big difference.

    I'm not going to go out and buy any game magazines for the same reason I don't buy auto magazines: the signal-to-pr0n ratio is pathetic. I'd rather read womengamers.com for gaming information...and for you boys out there, check it out -- it's not like the reviews are filled with thinly veiled references to vaginas or anything. (Can I even say that on Slashdot?)

    I'd like to know if any males find women gamer sites to be particularly hostile to men.

  • by homunq ( 30657 ) on Friday January 21, 2000 @08:08AM (#1352006) Homepage
    Remeber that ad with the naked woman holding a Palm V? She was "Kate Hunter, Dancer", and she supposedly used her palm to enter to-do's involving legwarmers. There's a bit of a story about that ad.

    The first I heard of that ad was an email to all Palm employees giving us a "heads up" that it would soon be coming out. They told us what publications it would run in (things like "Yahoo: Internet life", "Business Week", and "Golf Digest"; all of them magazines with a more or less male demographic). They also told us what to say if we met someone who was offended by it. Apparently, as employees, we weren't allowed to be offended by it ourselves. We were to say things like "The model wasn't really naked during the photo shoot" (as if a naked woman in a room with a camera is more immoral than running a national ad campaign which objectifies women), "This ad was approved by a team of female executives" (as if women never harm other women), and "The message is the beauty of the female form" (look, girls, it's OK, we're saying that you're pretty. Can you say pretty?).

    A lot of people were unhappy with that email. If you're so worried that the ad is going to offend people, why do you run it? People flamed back at whatever marketing stiff sent the email, there was discussion in the hallways.

    So marketing spammed us all two more times. They essentially repeated the same points, but they had one new point to make that topped it all: They hadn't meant to give the impression that the naked woman Palm ad was the only ad in this campaign. The Simply Palm campaign is a series of ads. In this ad, there's a naked woman, but in other ads use "other beautiful objects, such as a motorcycle and a designer chair" to sell the palm.

    That's right, that's a direct quote: "other beautiful objects".

    I guess whoever wrote that email has been in a hole since the 60's, to be so ignorant of feminist thought; they certainly haven't ever heard of the word "objectification".

    Then later, of course, there was the "Simply Porn" [peterme.com] side of the controversy, where 3Com's bonehead lawyers sent a cease-and-desist to a website that had parodies of the Palm ad.

    What does this have to do with gaming ads? Well, for one thing, I think the remarkable idiocy showed by marketing throughout this saga argues against the idea that they have any special handle on what "objectively" sells product. Running sexist ads doesn't make you a capitalist, it makes you a sexist. Second, I think that this shows that the ridiculous sexism and objectification shown in gaming mags really does matter; it has a way of bleeding over into more mainstream ads for technology products.

    Disclaimer: I no longer work for 3com as an employee, but this was not the reason I quit. Since Palm has reorganized and is soon splitting off from 3Com, I have no reason to believe that the boneheads responsible for "simply palm" are still around. I'm one of the most boycott-happy people I know, and I wouldn't scruple to buy a Palm V at this point. If you read this and work for Palm, you probably recognize me. If so, please do not forward this comment around within Palm. I'm not ashamed of telling the truth, but if the legal department got word that I'd revealed "company-confidential email", I might get in trouble. Palm marketing might have a few IQ points over 3Com marketing, but lawyers are still lawyers.
  • by Spasemunki ( 63473 ) on Thursday January 20, 2000 @07:56PM (#1352007) Homepage
    I was kind of interested by the author including the focus of most gaming mags on warlike games as being part of what keeps women out of game magazines. There seem to be two big problems with this, one being that gaming mags tend to support more complicated games that they can write elaborate strategies and level-by-level write ups on. When I used to regularly read gaming mags, I never saw them shy away from writing on games that were primarily strategy, exploration, or puzzles, in fact some of them (i.e, Myst, which was all over the place for a long time after its release) aquire prominent places in mags. But, there is a limit to how much you can write about Tetris, or how much you can reveal about an exploration game without ruining the experience for a gamer. Most big write-ups in mags tend to be large RPG's, action games with a wide number of moves/tools/weapons, and combination action/strategy games. All of these do indeed involve conflict, and frequently battles and violence. But that is what is getting a lot of the market and hype right now (i.e Quake III), and game mags would be foolish to ignore that.
    Secondly, the author conforms to a very old stereotype by assuming that females won't play and are not interested in these violent games. The article makes it sound like all girls want to do is play nice, clean games like SimCity and Myst, which is extremely rooted in stereotypes and insults female gamers that are not locked inside that stereotype. I've come up against girls (or so they claimed; online isn't always what it seems) that could kick my ass many times over at Quake. Why does the author assume that girls need "safe" mags that don't cover violent content? I can agree with many of the points on the depiction of women and sexuality, but male gamers that prefer SimCity to Unreal Tournament are in no different situation than females. Claiming that a woman can't be interested in "manly" games just dives back into stereotype, and doesn't really help the situation.
  • by G27 Radio ( 78394 ) on Friday January 21, 2000 @09:41AM (#1352008)
    By excluding what has the potential to be a significant part of the market (intentionally or no), gaming companies are shooting themselves in the foot. There are *tons* of women out there who like to game. Yet we find ourselves excluded, pushed aside. Everyday we have to deal with the mentality that those with tits can't possibly know computers. Those who cry loudest for female geeks are often the same people who trivialize us. Really. I've been there.

    Actually the article seemed to be more about magazines and advertising than the games themselves. I don't read gaming mags anymore so I haven't seen any of the ads the author was describing. From the descriptions they sound cheesy and immature. It seems that their target audience is a bit narrower than the male gender or even male geeks.

    The games themselves have come a long way though. Take Unreal TE for example. I'm sure most Unreal fans are guys but they've made the effort to include both male and female players in the game. Yet they haven't compromised the game for its fans by trying to cater to everyone in every way possible.

    Yeah it's important to make games and mags as appealing to the largest possible audience. But making them one-size-fits-all will make them dull. WomenGamers.com (the source of this article) is targeted at women. They're going after an unclaimed part of the market--they are "female-focused." This is cool as well as important. More choice is just better.

    For me personally, I'd like a gaming mag that was targeted at the 25-35yo nerd crowd (gender-neutral.) In the meantime I'm not going to begrudge anyone having gaming mags/sites that are targeted more directly at them.

    Back to the message that this is a reply to: I don't doubt that there are *tons* of women who like to game. OTOH there seem to be a lot less that are as fanatical about it than guys that are fanatical about it. As long as the guys are out in force designing, developing, and writing about the games, the industry will be primarily geared towards them. The same idea works for Slashdot. As long as the contributors are primarily male the site will be geared towards us. Even if we wanted to give female geeks a free ride and we did our best to be female-friendly we probably wouldn't do very well at it anyway.

    WorldForge [worldforge.org] is an open source game that is currently being developed. There are some females involved in the project, but I'm sure that there is room for a lot more and that your involvement will be appreciated. More female involvement will make the game more diverse. But female participation is key--you can't exactly expect a bunch of guys to do it on their own. BTW, I personally am not involved in the WorldForge project but I've been following it and it sounds very interesting. irc.worldforge.org #forge is a good place to get more info about it after you've checked out the web site.

    numb
  • by G27 Radio ( 78394 ) on Friday January 21, 2000 @10:34AM (#1352009)
    I don't think there is anything inherently anti-girl about computer games. It's not as if their poor girly minds can't understand computers. It's just that nobody is making games for girls with any brains. Remember the Sierra line of role-playing games? Those were the coolest. I have copies of almost every one. They don't make those games any more. I'm sure girls would like games other than action games if they were just presented. But I don't really see anything like that out there. It's just bone-crushing and flaming-death in 3D or real-time strategy. Not too appealing. Myst had somewhat of a success, but that was banal at best.

    Hmmm, I used to have Cranston Manor for my Apple ][+. It was one of the only computer games I actually had to share with my mom and my sister. I never really thought about it until this article, but back then Sierra was a husband and wife team and a couple other friends. Didn't Slashdot link to an article about the wife not long before the holidays? At any rate there was a proportionately large female influence in the creation of the game compared to what you see today. This didn't make it a girlie game. What it did was make it more well-rounded so it appealed to both sexes.

    I guess bone-crushing and 3D death is what guys are best at creating. I don't think it's necessarily that the guys writing games for girls are brainless--just probably ill-equipped for the job. Unless there are hordes of brilliant female coders that are dying to write computer games I doubt game companies will be able to produce anything for women on a level with what they produce for guys. Eventually someone will get together enough women to write good games targeted towards women or balanced for both sexes. Then they'll be able to produce something worthy and make some money off of it. Merely having a game designed by women isn't going to be enough. The most talented coders will work on the games that appeal to them. As I see it, it basically boils down to is this: there have to be enough women that want it bad enough to write it themselves. They'll have to dedicate years of their life to it, or their entire careers to writing games that they want. After all, Quake didn't happen because a group of disinterested programmers were paid to create games. Carmack and Romero were probably obessed with creating the ultimate game for themselves.

    Show me where there is a team of talented female coders that are obsessed with creating a game that means the world to them and I'll show you the start-up company that will change the future of 'games for girls' as we know them.

    numb
  • by Corrinne Yu ( 121661 ) on Friday January 21, 2000 @10:26AM (#1352010)
    Here goes both my +1 bonus, and all my karma, but someone's gotta say it.

    /. Hemos stop it already.

    1. Women, female, homo sapiens with breasts, are not a different species. They all have their own minds to think for themselves what they like and don't like.

    2. More "women like this, men like that" articles on a supposedly intelligent place like /. is demeaning to women. And exaggerating differences that are eventually minimal. (Legitmate bioneural research debunked most of gender differences as within statistical norms.)

    3. 1 woman does not speak for >= 50% of world population. If so, I shall wield my woman power. "Hi. I am female. I know that all women in this world like hot grits poured down a petrified Natalie Portman." Give me karma now. I said I am female and I posted something.

    4. The same fallacy is "This is from woman site." "This is written by a woman." This is / must be what all women think.

    5. Any time you post an item like this, you are interviewing 1 fewer nuclear physicist, you are reporting on 1 few Open Source project, you are missing out on 1 new mathematical research on encryption .... you know "news for nerds, stuff that matters" .... if you really want to help women, help this 1 woman nerd with her research and post some math and science!

    6. Woman? Game? I am a woman. I code for 3D Realms. Enough said about all your generalizations.

    7. I want to use my woman telepathy power again. "Hi. I am female. I think all women think your writing this article instead of interviewing Bryce on how to get art and music and content for a free Open Source game offends our entire gender." All women want to share how to get content for games. Really.

    8. I shall start the protest of more hard science, more hard math, more hard news, more coding information, more HW information. This is NOT Psychology Today.

    9. I only protest strongly because /. is my favorite place, and the last sanctuary for "intellect" and "geekdom." There is no place else for me to go to get geek news besides here.

    10. OTOH, if you know of geek inform sites free of this gender - dividing slant, please let me know.

    *sigh* I know I am the minority (maybe the only human) in this. I know all you male geeks like this chick topics cuz it causes all the chicks to post. I know all the women like these articles for all the different reasons.

    I look forward to the day (apparently really far in the future) when we are all just people.

    Go flame. Go take away my karma. If this goes on long enough, I have to stop coming here anyway, so karma won't matter.





  • by phwiffo ( 139975 ) on Thursday January 20, 2000 @09:33PM (#1352011) Homepage

    Somewhat related topic


    What's with gaming magazines no-a-days? They all seem to be pandering to the sexually awkward, identity crisis suffering, snotty nosed 14-year-old. The ones that think "Looking at grrls iz cool" and have the "1.2ghz overclocked athlons", the "l337 h4x0rs" if you will.

    Modern gaming magazines like Pc accellerator or Incite promote this rather sexist and immature attitude, which is fine because it targets the gaming audience more accurately, or at least I'd fathom the sales say so. But at the same time it alienates an equal or large audience, Namely ME. I'm talking about the MALE audience that experienced at being in a loving relationship with a female. I can't stand to listen about "How many polygons they added to Laura Croft's chest this time" or "What Seven-of-nine thinks about being a geek object of lust" another time. Don't these dumb-ass marketing people understand that:

    • There are geeks that don't associate gaming with sex?
    Since when did I ask for a centerfold in a gaming magazine? I want to read about games, new hardware and interviews with people who make either of the two. So maybe they aren't just losing the female gaming market, which does exsist, maybe publishers are also missing the mature market? There's some short-sightedness on behalf of the industry for sure as they've lost me. Am I alone?
  • by jeni.grant ( 140682 ) on Thursday January 20, 2000 @10:35PM (#1352012) Homepage
    I am a geek. I am female. I like to game.

    Computing, and the resulting geek lifestyle, has long been thought of as a predominately male field. Yet it doesn't take a brain to realize that female geeks are becoming, by and large, a fairly big part of geek-dom.

    By excluding what has the potential to be a significant part of the market (intentionally or no), gaming companies are shooting themselves in the foot. There are *tons* of women out there who like to game. Yet we find ourselves excluded, pushed aside. Everyday we have to deal with the mentality that those with tits can't possibly know computers. Those who cry loudest for female geeks are often the same people who trivialize us. Really. I've been there.

    I'm not a prude. I like sex as much as the next geek. I recognize that it sells, and quite effectively at that. But I think that by creating extremely sexist advertising, advertisers are dooming themselves. Advertising can be extremely effective without bringing in a little T&A or cock.

    Am I offended? Eh. Not really, because I've just grown so accustomed to it. I'm more likely to get pissed off at Cosmo and the like, since fashion mags do much more damage than some sexist game advertisment ever will. I do wish, however, that gaming companies would realize that there are real women geeks out there -- the kind that like to play Quake and fiddle with their boxes. The kind that thought the only use for Barbie was to torture in all sorts of horrendous ways (*evilcackle*). I'd like the gaming companies to remember us before they turn totally kick-ass female characters into sex objects (a la Lara Croft -- just not my kink, you know?). I'd like them to remember that we're real people too.

    And to all the guys who said that female gamers only played Myst or Solitare, a hearty fsck you (meant in the nicest possible way, of course =). Female geeks are real and here to stay.


    --

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, 2000 @09:47PM (#1352013)
    From reading the comments on this article it sounds like no one believes women read Slashdot. My boyfriend wishes I didn't, and also wishes I wouldn't talk about the latest techie news when he's trying to get me into bed (and he's an engineer).

    I have a degree in Physics, and I've played computer games all my life. I have a linux box. Please don't stereoptype women around me.

    As to women and games: My mother has been a compulsive gamer since we got our first computer - and that was an MC-10 my Dad bought in the early 80s. Mum's played more solitaire than you would care to imagine, but that's only because there are no better games for her out there. When we went through a series of Macs, you couldn't get her off Crystal Quest. Last year she played Riven, and when she had finished she asked my brother, with a plaintive, hopeful yet almost fearful tone in her voice, "Are there any more games like *that*? Ones where you don't have to shoot anyone?" And I had the feeling that if there were, she wanted every one of them.

    My brother has a playstation, upon which my sister has given her wrists and thumbs a great workout, and so have I. The Japanese know how to make games for women. Let's not forget that. We've wasted many hours and days on tournaments of Bust-a-Move and Bust-a-Groove. Long ago, when my brother used to hire a sega system from the local video store, we all loved Marble Madness.

    But if you think all we women like are lame puzzle games, I must tell you, I personally love Warcraft type games, where you manage a society and watch it grow, and warfare has its place alongside hunting, gathering, researching, etc. I also like Caesar II and III. To cap it all, I downloaded the demo for Myth II for my linux box, and I have to say it had an element of appeal (but I'd rather watch my boyfriend play it than do it myself). But I will never enjoy a first person 3D shooter, a side-scrolling action game, or pac man (just cos it's so lame).

    As to the magazine advertising - I was shocked and appalled by the descriptions. I would never have even considered buying one of those magazines. They strike me as aimed at teenagers, let alone just men. It wasn't until I read this article that I thought - you know, a gaming magazine for me, that would be a great thing.
  • by nyet ( 19118 ) on Thursday January 20, 2000 @08:14PM (#1352014) Homepage
    AP, Massachussets -- In a landmark study, researchers at MIT have concluded that pornography magazines fail to attract a significant amount of Puritans as subcribers. "The average straight laced Quaker simply will not buy porno, no matter how sexy and hard core the material" claims Dr. Tohtal Klulehs. "We have yet to explain the phenomenon. Hopefully further study will help pornography publishers to penetrate markets traditionally denied them."

    "Clearly it is about appealing to a broader range of sexual tastes" said Larry Flynt, publisher of Penthouse and Hustler magazines, "Maybe more pictures of donkeys and ducks, naked and petrified will help spur sales."

    The study concludes that pornographers just have not done enough to appeal to people who find public nudity and sex appalling. Critics claim that pornography seems to be primarily, and unfairly, targeted towards horny, sex-starved men. Change, they said, is needed, before the pornography industry collapses completely due to lack of demand.
  • by Hard_Code ( 49548 ) on Friday January 21, 2000 @04:22AM (#1352015)
    Actually my girlfriend and I were talking about this after the last slashdot article about the gender divide. We basically agreed that because companies only make "what sells", we see few girl-oriented games, and the ones that /are/ "girl-oriented" are stupid stereotypical bullshit games like "Barbie: Pretty Fantasy Sparkle Love Pony Party Makeover". This crud is selling because girls are growing up pushed towards this stuff. It is a symptom of a much larger problem. How many commercials a day do you see promoting pre-teen girls to use cell-phones, go to parties, use make-up, bake cakes, or try to attract boys? Whole generations of women have been growing up under this brainwashing. No /wonder/ we have so few women in science and technology.

    I think we basically decided toys today have gone to shit (as with pop culture). Where the hell are Legos nowadays (well, yeah they are having a comeback with Mindstorms, but those really aren't for "kids"). I am sick of the stupid Radioactive-Space-Cowboy-Time-Traveller themes they have now. Now all you see is Steve-Austin Bash-Em Action figures, and Pokemon.

    Same with games. I don't think there is anything inherently anti-girl about computer games. It's not as if their poor girly minds can't understand computers. It's just that nobody is making games for girls with any brains. Remember the Sierra line of role-playing games? Those were the coolest. I have copies of almost every one. They don't make those games any more. I'm sure girls would like games other than action games if they were just presented. But I don't really see anything like that out there. It's just bone-crushing and flaming-death in 3D or real-time strategy. Not too appealing. Myst had somewhat of a success, but that was banal at best.

    So girls...what DO you like? It can't be "Barbie: Pretty Fantasy Sparkle Love Pony Party Makeover"... if so I think I've lost all hope for the human race...

    Jazilla.org - the Java Mozilla [sourceforge.net]
  • by Stickerboy ( 61554 ) on Thursday January 20, 2000 @07:54PM (#1352016) Homepage
    Please. Asking the computer gaming industry to pitch advertising to women is like asking the clothing industry to pitch ads to senior citizens - sure, they represent a significant consumer group, but they are not the primary money makers.

    Let me quote the article to illustrate: "Sadly, there is not one "safe" computer gaming magazine I could recommend to my friends who play games like Simcity, Re-Volt, or Myst. Not only do these magazines alienate women, but they also alienate entire groups of non-combative and non-violent gamers."

    Which kinds of games create the most profit and have the highest profile? It's not "Casino Hearts" sitting in the bargain basement bin, but rather Quake3 Arena and Unreal Tournament (and their similarly adrenaline- and testosterone-packed counterparts) with their significantly higher price tags and devoted fan bases. Sure, some female gamers enjoy playing these games, but to date they're still a small minority compared to males under 30.

    Complaining about the lack of ads geared towards women is not going to change the hard reality that the industry focuses its limited advertising resources to make the most money. Asking any corporation to do otherwise is just plain silly. Change the demographics, and the advertising will change to follow suit.
  • by peeping_Thomist ( 66678 ) on Thursday January 20, 2000 @08:22PM (#1352017)
    ...they wouldn't do it if it didn't sell.

    Why are you so willing to grant that anyone knows (in any great detail) what sells? There are supposedly "sciences" of marketing, of advertising and of management, and of government, etc..., but none of these is anything remotely like a legitimate science.

    How about this: advertising decisions express the values of those who make them. That sounds pretty plausible to me, a lot more plausible than vague appeals to bogus "expert" knowledge about "what sells".

    For your consideration: there is no such thing as scientific knowledge in any great detail about what sells (or about anything else that involves humans making free decisions under conditions of scarcity). There are a few interesting and true generalizations about human behavior (such as that they will tend not to make their motivations completely transparent to one another), but that's about it. There's no such thing as genuine knowledge about "what sells", because "what sells" depends on what people freely decide to do.

    Organizations which make blanket appeals to "what sells" are typically uninterested in articulating the values which animate their own decisions.
  • by Carnage4Life ( 106069 ) on Thursday January 20, 2000 @08:51PM (#1352018) Homepage Journal
    It isn't human nature because besides a survival instinct there isn't much that is exclusively human nature. Most of the things we assume are human nature are actually the results of generations of cultural programming and nothing else. Currently American society (the media, high school, teenage culture) is intensely anti-intellectual and acts like female intellectual pursuits do not exist. When females have no prominent geek role models, are actively discouraged from being geeky, and are taught to value looks over brains, it is not a surprise that there are few geek grrls out there. My only gripe is that this should not be blamed on something as nebulous as human nature (which is a lie, travel to other countries and you'll rethink several of the concepts you assumed were human nature as American/western nature) but instead the real culprits, the media and society in general.
    Blaming human nature keeps us from aknowledging the truth and thus stops us from initiating changes to rectify this imbalance. This will be extremely difficult because it will not only require changes in the current educational system but also changes in the way women are viewed by society in general.

    PS: I'm a guy and your post struck me as ignorant and sexist...get a girlfriend or some female friends and gain some perspective.
    PPS: Read this article [womengamers.com]on the women gamers site on why techie women think there are less women in technology than males.
    PPPS: I'm listening to old NWA mp3s and they were the bomb...I'm about to go get two of their CDs from CDNow (still boycotting Amazon and they are $1 cheaper) :)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, 2000 @08:35PM (#1352019)
    OK, as a female gamer and reader of Slashdot, I feel like I have to respond here. While the author's citation of a "50% of gamers are female" statistic seems unlikely, I can certainly see where she's coming from.

    For example, I think Tomb Raider is a fun game. I like the fact that I can adventure and save the world and not have to be some macho guy who enjoys watching naked women (ala Duke Nukem), but instead someone I can relate to just a little bit better. However, the emphasis in advertising on how hot Lara is, rather than on how fun the game is, almost makes me embarrassed to admit I play it, for fear someone might think I'm a lesbian, or at least associated with the lewd advertising.

    It is disappointing when otherwise completely enjoyable games are so obviously geared towards ONLY a male perspective. It's one thing to have a male main character, but it is an entirely different thing to have scantily clad women fawning on you at every move, when such actions may not even be relevant to the plot!

    On the other hand, there are some games that do a wonderful job of being widely-appealing, including:

    • Final Fantasy
    • D&D (except, you have to wonder what the point is for wearing armor that bares every vital part of the body . . .)
    • Starcraft
    • Dark Reign - some units are actually female, and not special characters! [gasp]

    As is shown from these best-selling games, it pays to have a wide appeal. Games appealing only to sex-deprived men just don't sell as well as games that have a wider appeal. -Qirien qirien@earthling.net

  • by Poe ( 12710 ) on Thursday January 20, 2000 @07:43PM (#1352020) Homepage
    This is an autocatalytic effect. The male targeted adds encourage a male demographic. The male demographic encourages male targeted adds. If you are really looking for an original cause, consider how male dominated the entire world of technology has been until recently.

    Hopefully, the free market system represents a larger feedback loop that will slowly sap this autocatalisys.

    On the other hand, one quick look at the (addmitedly younger) toy market shows a great deal of gender demographic targeting. (If Barbie were her own toy corporation, she would be the largest toy corporation in the world)
  • by ywwg ( 20925 ) on Thursday January 20, 2000 @07:44PM (#1352021) Homepage
    ...they wouldn't do it if it didn't sell. Ads are created to get revenue, and I'm sure companies have found that, bluntly, bigger tits sell more games. It would be interesting to see _what_ games women buy, and how those ads in particular are advertised. For instance, there are no naked chicks in Myst ads, I'm sure. As for action games, the percentage of female gamers is so small as to be considered insigificant to advertisers. Why target a group that makes up less than one percent of your buyers?

    The truth is that games are easier to program for boys. We like points, action, motion, and triggers. Women (stereotypically, but also truthfully) like conversations, complex rewards, stories, and ... thinking. My sister, for instance, doesn't see the point of Quake: in her mind, you get killed only to come back again. What's the point of getting killed if there are no repercutions?

    I would think RPGs would be better suited to the female (tm) mentality, but we all remember what the pictures in the D&D books were like.

    Hey, why don't some women prove Jon Katz wrong and voice their opinions? What games do _you_ want to play?
  • by Corrinne Yu ( 121661 ) on Friday January 21, 2000 @10:20AM (#1352022)
    Here goes both my +1 bonus, and all my karma, but someone's gotta say it.

    /. Hemos stop it already.

    1. Women, female, homo sapiens with breasts, are not a different species. They all have their own minds to think for themselves what they like and don't like.

    2. More "women like this, men like that" articles on a supposedly intelligent place like /. is demeaning to women. And exaggerating differences that are eventually minimal. (Legitmate bioneural research debunked most of gender differences as within statistical norms.)

    3. 1 woman does not speak for >= 50% of world population. If so, I shall wield my woman power. "Hi. I am female. I know that all women in this world like hot grits poured down a petrified Natalie Portman." Give me karma now. I said I am female and I posted something.

    4. The same fallacy is "This is from woman site." "This is written by a woman." This is / must be what all women think.

    5. Any time you post an item like this, you are interviewing 1 fewer nuclear physicist, you are reporting on 1 few Open Source project, you are missing out on 1 new mathematical research on encryption .... you know "news for nerds, stuff that matters" .... if you really want to help women, help this 1 woman nerd with her research and post some math and science!

    6. Woman? Game? I am a woman. I code for 3D Realms. Enough said about all your generalizations.

    7. I want to use my woman telepathy power again. "Hi. I am female. I think all women think your writing this article instead of interviewing Bryce on how to get art and music and content for a free Open Source game offends our entire gender." All women want to share how to get content for games. Really.

    8. I shall start the protest of more hard science, more hard math, more hard news, more coding information, more HW information. This is NOT Psychology Today.

    9. I only protest strongly because /. is my favorite place, and the last sanctuary for "intellect" and "geekdom." There is no place else for me to go to get geek news besides here.

    10. OTOH, if you know of geek inform sites free of this gender - dividing slant, please let me know.

    *sigh* I know I am the minority (maybe the only human) in this. I know all you male geeks like this chick topics cuz it causes all the chicks to post. I know all the women like these articles for all the different reasons.

    I look forward to the day (apparently really far in the future) when we are all just people.

    Go flame. Go take away my karma. If this goes on long enough, I have to stop coming here anyway, so karma won't matter.




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