I am a girl gamer. Scratch that – I am a serious girl gamer. Apparently, this makes me nearly invisible to the gaming industry. Games geared toward female players tend to be cutesy, bubblegum-colored fantasy worlds filled with puzzles and pop music but little substance. Now I admit, I like some of those games. They’re a bit like a grocery store paperback novel – good for a little mindless entertainment on a boring Saturday afternoon, but not real great for a quality experience.
So just exactly what does a serious girl gamer look for in a quality videogame? We’re not asking for much – just a few basic things:
Serious girl gamers want videogames with real substance. We’re not looking for bubble-gum colored wonderlands full of fuzzy bunnies and chocolate cake. That cutesy stuff is fun for an afternoon of mindless entertainment, but it’s not what we’re looking for in a great videogame.
The serious girl gamer also doesn’t want to look at a bunch of jiggly breasts on the screen. We want a videogame that respects us and doesn’t view our gender as objects to be ogled. We can sit through a game like that, but we’d rather see a female videogame character act like an intelligent human being instead of a ditzy pinup model.
Some videogame developers, unable to construct a believable female character who doesn’t put her body on display, simply leave the women out of the game altogether. A complete absence of female characters can be preferable to a bunch of giggly girls in string bikinis, but we’d rather see developers going the extra mile and giving us at least one female character we can be proud of.
Like most gamers, the girl gamer wants to be able to immerse herself in the game world. We don’t want sappy voice acting – we want to believe the characters, and we want to feel their pain and anger and fear and joy.
And like most gamers, girl gamers want their videogames to demonstrate nice graphics. This does not necessarily mean “photo-realistic,” although that is sometimes quite nice. No, we want our videogame graphics to be consistent and clear. If you’re going cartoony, then take it all the way. If you’re going for photo realism, you’d better be prepared to go all-out with the detail.
Really, that’s all we’re asking. There’s no need to include a lot of explosions and really cool, gory decapitation sequences (although we can appreciate those, when appropriate). We just want to be able to respect a videogame and feel respected in return. Is that too much to ask?