- Series: ADVANCES IN COMPUTER GRAPHICS AND GAME DEVELOPMENT SERIES
- Hardcover: 350 pages
- Publisher: Cengage Learning; 1 edition (September 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1584502398
- ISBN-13: 978-1584502395
- Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 1 x 6.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 13 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,741,465 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Gender Inclusive Game Design: Expanding The Market (ADVANCES IN COMPUTER GRAPHICS AND GAME DEVELOPMENT SERIES) 1st Edition
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About the Author
Sheri Graner Ray has been in the computer industry for over ten years and founded a game development company dedicated to designing games for girls, Sirenia Software, Inc. She was also the Director of Product Development for Her Interactive, Inc., and was a designer/writer for Origin Systems, Inc. She is a frequent speaker at the Game Developer Conference and is the co-chair for the Women in Game Development committee of the International Game Developers Association. Sheri is currently a Senior Designer for Sony Online Entertainment.
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Having said that, I also take the things I read with a grain of salt. You can't believe everything that you read; as the saying goes. However, I do feel that the best way to expand your own thinking is to be open-minded to what other people are saying. And it is with that open mind that I read Sheri Ray's book.
I must say, that there were plenty of times while reading where I thought to myself, `wow, I never saw it that way before.' For me, these are enjoyable discoveries. I like to stumble upon little things that affect the way I look at things. Sheri did a wonderful job of capturing my attention, and providing me with little discoveries about why men and women are attracted to games. I enjoyed her examples and would love to see other authors go in this direction.
After reading her book, I look at games in a different manner now. I pick out the visual stimulus, the inclusion of puzzle elements, and whether targets are moving in an uncluttered field or not. Looking at them now, the games I play have seamlessly included elements that make me enjoy them more.
The things that Sheri points out are nice to have in the back of your mind when thinking about games. Even though many of us will never have a concept that gets made into a game, we might be working on a title that someone else has envisioned and help it move towards capturing a larger market.
I recommend this book as an eye opener for those of us stuck in our own thoughts about what makes a good game good. While it is not possible to appeal to every market with one game, if we'd like to design a game to appeal to more females, then reading Sheri's book and doing other related research can definitely move us in the right direction.
Which made arguing my point with the men I worked with rather challenging, since the ratio of men to women at work was so much greater, and I was frequently told, "women just don't play games." Which I knew to be patently false, as there were and still are several online forums and sites run by women gamers. There just weren't that MANY of them at the time, so no one was interested in giving a player a choice in gender.
Times have changed, and many games offer up male and female characters, so it's rather easy for a woman to play a decent, strong, female character. I believe that there are more female gamers today than there were, say, 10 years ago. Perhaps that is because the younger female generation is getting turned onto computers instead of make up, clothes and popularity contests like they were in my generation. Then again, perhaps I'm just reflecting upon my own personal experience here.
I'm not sure I believe the 70% ratio (women to men) where "causal online gamers" are concerned. I am still quite a gamer, and do not experience that ratio in any of the MMOGs that I play. I feel that the number is more like maybe 15% F/M, as that is what I've experienced over the years - I'm being generous here, too. (Does that percentage include Pop Cap games, perhaps? Online card games? If so, that's a completely different beast.)
All in all, I do feel it is important for there to be games that allow both genders to play strong characters of both sexes. There are girls out there who game, and they deserve to have games available that allow them to create and play what may very well become a strong role model for them - as for many of us, our characters are simply an extension of ourselves.
Most (although this is beginning to change) female avatars are so absurdly depicted that (as this book discusses) if the character were to perform the flips, jumps, and various game tasks, in reality she would be physically unable to. The enormous breasts, for example, that Laura Croft has would have to be carted around in a wheel-barrel just so she could stand upright! I'm so glad that Sheri wrote this book bringing up these very obvious deficiencies in game design - and all so easy to correct and who knows even expand the game market.
Of course who plays for a dose of reality? We all want to get lost in the game, but there are better ways to make games that are less distracting to both males and females. I found that the book's many solutions were straight forward, simple and yet the kind of ideas that would not diminish the game for anyone.
It is so ironic that whenever someone brings up the topic of `inclusivity' - be it racial, age or gender there are always those who resist the idea by attacking the `style,' `presentation' or some other trivial factor. Don't shoot the messenger just because the author is bringing up observations that are difficult to hear - read the book if you are looking for constructive ideas that can repair this nagging problem concerning females and gaming. This is the right message, at the right time for some in the game industry that have been wrong about women.
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