Before you get to excited let me clarify. This is not a review of Mel Gibson’s 2000 film. Nor is it my pitch for the sequel, What Men Want, because I quickly realized the answer was “Boobs”, and didn’t really think that could be stretched to feature length. It’s also not my editorial on what makes a successful husband, though as a psychologist I’ve thought about doing just that. No this is my quest to answer one of the great mysteries of the 21st century. What do women want in a video game? This is up there with who shot JFK, and why Reggis Philbon has a career, for the great questions of life. So I thought I’d give it a go.
I’m married to an abnormal woman. My wife has a level 70 dwarf paladin, in World of Warcraft, as well as several other characters that are approaching that mark. She has a binder full of old PC games that she brought into the relationship. And she hopped up and down with joy a few years ago when we found a re release of both the Kings Quest, and Space Quest series. She was also overjoyed this week when she was finally able to play Spore. I’m not saying this to brag, much, but to give a bit of background on my perspective. I’m married to a gamer, but few others are. I wonder why that is?
Historically girls of our generation were not encouraged to play video games. They have always been viewed by the masses, along with comic books, as the realm of “over and under weight guys who don’t get laid”. Also basic concepts of children at play do not necessarily lend themselves toward girl gamers. Young boys are often taught to play games that involve “beating” someone or something, or at the very least all of our play involves a winner and a looser. While girls are traditionally taught to play games more for the play rather than the conquest. Things like playing house, or dress up, let them experience the positive aspects of play, without the structured results.
I asked my wife what she thinks it is about games that do not appeal to most women. Her main idea for why girls don’t like in games is that they don’t like to die. If you think about the games that have traditionally been played by the ladies, both of them (Tetris and The Sims), they follow the historic trend of girls at play, and allow you to not really die.
So I guess the point of this is that I want to know what the women out there think. Several of our readers are females, and most of the men are married to females. I want to know what they think. We’ve all know girls, or been involved with girls, who almost on principal hate video games. So I want to know why. I don’t plan on posting any attempts to contradict their ideas, so feel free to vent if there is a particular thing you hate. I’m just curious. So women readers let me know what you think about your gender. And Male readers ask your misses or some other woman in your life, and let me know. Ask them two questions:
1. What do you like, or dislike, most in a game?
2. What would you most like to see in a game?