Tuesday, 22 July, 2003

Computer games for women

Since I posted my TriTryst pages, I've received a steady stream of messages about the game–mostly thanking me for posting the installation instructions for Windows 2000 and Windows XP.  Most interesting to me is that all but a handful of the messages are from women who say things like "TriTryst is the only computer game I play," or "this game is my stress reliever, please help me get it working!"

Contrary to what many people think, women do play computer games.  They're not terribly interested in first-person shooters, though, and many find resource management games like SimCity and Civilization too complex to be relaxing.  The women I know like puzzle games and pinball.  I see this not only in responses to TriTryst, but also in discussions I have from time to time.  Women prefer games like Bejeweled, Collapse, and Freecell that are simple, easy to understand and play, and not particularly stressful.  The problem for game developers is that women tend to find a game or two and play it for years—much different than teenage boys and men who play one first-person shooter after the other, always looking for the next coolest thing.  Game developers have been trying to tap into "the women market" for years with female protagonists in FPS-type games.  Instead, they should look at developing more engaging and more beautiful puzzle-type games.