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FRONTBURNR | April 25, 2014

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Are There “Boy” Games and “Girl” Games?

| On 01, Apr 2013

When I’m looking to get a new game, I watch some trailers and read a couple of reviews and maybe ask some friends what they thought of the game. Never once have I asked, “Is that a girl game or a boy game?”

I hadn’t thought much about a gender classification for games until my four year old son–whose favorite game is Castle Crashers–told me fighting games are “boy” games and games with girls in them are “girl” games. I asked him for a list of “boy” games and got: Castle Crashers, Minecraft and LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes. For “girl” games I got: Winx, any of the Sims games and Brave.

Oliver said it with such conviction he almost had me buying into his pseudologic and Winx is pretty girly; my six year old daughter LOVES the game.

winx

When I asked Oliver why girls can’t play fighting games, I was told girls are supposed to be nice and not hit. I have no clue where he got such an absurd idea since his sister routinely beats the crap out of him. This isn’t a kid who has been pushed into a “manly-man” gender stereotype. He has a baby doll, plays with Caroline’s kitchen set and loves purple eye shadow.

Of course there are games marketed to females just like there are games marketed to guys but they’re not made specifically for a gender and at the exclusion of the other, right? It wouldn’t make much sense to alienate a whole other segment of the population you could be making money from just so you can get a small piece of the gendered pie.

LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes

I play the Sims 3 games and dig some Facebook games [I don't spam my friends. Shut it.] but I also enjoy the hell out of Skyrim, Battlefield and CoD. I don’t play Minecraft because the game bores me and not because the game’s for dudes.I assume most people are like me and play both “girl” games and “boy” games and don’t think much about what they’re supposed to be playing.

Ollie told me all of this about two weeks ago and I’m still thinking about his preposterous Jennifer Lawrence confused face gifsupposition ever since. That means there must be something to the idea, right?

What’s sad is after two weeks of intermittent consideration–and occasional polling of Facebook and Twitter–I still haven’t decided exactly what I think. I keep going back and forth and I hate it when I do that. I would like to hear an awesome explanation one way or the other and maybe then I can make up my mind.

Are there games just for one gender? And assuming there are, do you “cross gender lines” and play the other side’s games?

Comments

  1. Charles Colp

    I had a similar discussion years ago with final fantasy X-2 as the “girls game” I had fun with it and didn’t think much about it until a younger male friend described the dress shield mechanic as dress-me-up barbie. I guess if you look into most games they use the colors and game mechanics to define themselves in traditional roles. All of the “boys games” seem to have muted colours and the “girls games” are vibrant. My 7 yo plays anything he can but he also wears a white hat with orange flowers screen printed all over it. I think it is part of the TV culture. If you see an ad featuring all boys playing it, no matter what the child is treated in regards to gender issues, their peers are playing it.

  2. Having been a gamer since I can remember, there are many different titles that come to mind when it comes to this “girl” “boy” game static, there are titles that are clearly marketed for specific genders in mind, all the barbie franchise, the lego franchise, the fighter genre in general caters to boys, since most women are nurturers naturally. There are many uni-sex games which grab at a wider audience and there are some “boy” games which can fall into that niche but seem to be catered to one of the genders, its more or less a marketing ploy. The girl genre seems to be mainly problem solving games, at least the ones that feature women in the commercials. To sum this up, yes there are boy and girl games, but mainly its all about the hype behind them to push sales.

  3. Camille

    Unless you’re going to games labelled specifically for females or males such as Otome games (female dating sims), there are no true game for girls or boys. The games are simply being targeted at certain audiences which marketers believe will be more responsive. However often there will be an unexpected overlap where gamers favoring certain genre’s or series will play regardless of who was targeted in marketing (like FF X-2 which most Final Fantasy fans have played). In some cases the complete opposite will occur such as in the Harvest Moon series which was initially targeted solely towards boys but grew exceedingly popular with girls.