Gender Gap in Video Games?


Here is my thought provoking question of the week. Is there a gender gap in the video games market?

This past week, young Christopher Sparks spent his hard earned money on the new Nintendo DSi. I have to say, it is pretty darn cool. Christopher already had the DS Lite, so he was kind enough to take pity on Ron and I, and therefore “let” us have it since he has the new one.

Ron and I, the geeks we are, were quite excited! Now we have our own portable game system! We realized quite quickly that we did not have any games for it of our own. Christopher and Ashlee grudgingly said we could borrow a game, but there was no giving us a game. So much for the fact we bought half those games!

So Ron and I took a trip over to our favorite Target store to see what we could find. Ron was bouncing all over the place. He was finding all sorts of games that were piquing his interest. There was Call of Duty 4, Lego Star Wars, Pokemon, Speed Racer, Transformers, Zombie Teenagers, Iron Man, must I go on? I was not so lucky. I don’t like the fighting games, so what does that leave me with? Cooking Mama? Nintendogs? High School Musical? Petz? They were all more interactive/role-playing games, which are not so intense. Not that there is anything wrong with these games, I just found it amusing how there is truly two different markets.

Fighting and violence for the boys and arts and crafts and pets for girls. What does this say about us? It reminds me of the old nursery rhyme:

“What are little boys made of?

What are little boys made of?
Snips and snails,
And puppy dog tails,
That’s what little boys are made of.

What are little girls made of?

What are little girls made of?
Sugar and spice,
And everything nice,
That’s what little girls are made of.”

So the question is, is there a problem? Is there a missing vertical of video games? I am on the fence. I am sure there are girls who like the fighting games and I am sure there are boys who like the interactive-type games. I don’t even know what the missing game type would be, so is there really an issue? I feel like something is missing, but maybe not.

I guess I will go play Animal Crossing and think about it some more……. (wink wink)

2 thoughts on “Gender Gap in Video Games?

  1. You’re absolutely right; there seems to be a dearth of games that would appeal to a female not into everything “girly.” I mean, there are games like Zelda and such, but even those adventure games center around male themes. I wonder why there’s not a market for non-girly girl games.

  2. I was just saying to Torie the other day that our culture tends to make ourselves magnetic to our gender. Boys play with guns and action figures while girls like their ponies and dolls. How about, letting the kid pick out whatever they want? Baby toys aren't gender specific…how old is a kid when they have to start playing with boy-toys and girl-toys?The problem with the DS specifically is that it's not really marketed to adults, rarely even teens. Nintendo is really the only software developer that produces gender-free titles; games like the Mario and Zelda franchises, Metroid (I'd say it appeals to both being that it's a kick-ass female bounty hunter…), etc. Third party devs tend to want to appeal to one gender or the other, meanwhile they moan and groan that their sales suck. ::HINT HINT:: You're appealing to one sex!Your demographic in particular is a difficult one to please. It's extremely hard for me to find a good game for Torie. She does tend to have a "cutesy" favor, but still likes the action games. The problem is that it's very rare to find one you can play at your own pace, which is what the females tend to prefer. Fallout 3 is a great example: it's an action-packed first person shooter, but there's also a lot of depth and character & story development; all the while being able to actually "freeze" the game and take time during intense battles (go ahead…ask me about V.A.T.S. lol).I think you might just be looking in the wrong places. Target is a department store, and it's doubtful you'll be able to find an electronics section employee that knows the Wii isn't made by Sony. Head to a Gamestop and I think you'll find yourself with a bit more to choose from ;-)Of course…there's always the DS's Animal Crossing….

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