Upcoming Events
Unite 2010
11/10 - 11/12 @ Montrťal, Canada

GDC China
12/5 - 12/7 @ Shanghai, China

Asia Game Show 2010
12/24 - 12/27††

GDC 2011
2/28 - 3/4 @ San Francisco, CA

More events...
Quick Stats
105 people currently visiting GDNet.
2406 articles in the reference section.

Help us fight cancer!
Join SETI Team GDNet!
Link to us Events 4 Gamers
Intel sponsors gamedev.net search:

Biology and Gaming: Why Women Don't Play Games

The Medium is The Message

Action games have only become popular fairly recently, for much the same reason that sports became popular: The medium. Sports became a mass culture event when television came along. Computers have developed to the point now that they allow us to make games complex and realistic enough that they are able simulate the hunting "feel" better than other mediums (sports, movies).

Our instincts are still with us, and when we donít exercise them we feel depressed, restless and unhappy in much of the same way when you havenít had sex for a long time (I keep coming back to sex, my apologies). Unfortunately a lot of what men derived pleasure from is no longer possible (and indeed is unnecessary) in modern human society. Therefore men spend a lot of time pursuing this satisfaction in unnatural (artificial and some would say unproductive) ways that are conspicuous because of their seeming lack of purpose and, to women at least, lack of interest. That is why the debate on why women seem to be excluded from gaming has cropped up. It is not a purposeful exclusion. It is avoidance on their part.

Puzzle games however don't seem to have the same demographic. Games that emphasize reasoning and logic seem to be as popular with both. Problem solving is pleasurable to both sexes it seems and this makes sense even when arguing from an evolution perspective. However give a red blooded male a choice between Tetris or Quake, and guess what. It's not that he doesn't get a kick out of Tetris, it's that he gets more of a kick out of Quake. For the girl, it's generally Tetris because she probably gets no kick from Quake.

You don't find a lot of women in gaming for the same reason you don't find a lot of women watching sports. They are not wired to feel pleasure (or "satisfaction" as Aurora more correctly put it) from this. Women, like men, carry evolutionary baggage from a time when human existence was more difficult; when we were barely more successful than the other animals we shared space with. They too are programmed by evolution for specific survival activities.

What do Women Want?

  Where are the Girls?
  The Biological Roots of Gaming
  Hairless Monkeys
  Human Behavior
  The Medium is The Message
  What do Women Want?
  Games for Women

  Printable version
  Discuss this article