Untapped Potential

Untapped Potential

Untapped Potential

by Steve Napierski to Comics

So, I was reading an article on Joystiq about a panel that was held as SXSW (South by Southwest) called Gaming as a Gateway Drug: Getting Girls into Technology. From there my mind recalled another article that I read last year called How to get your Girlfriend into Gaming. And that just made me think of games that could “potentially” be created to appeal to the female gaming audience. And here we are…

So after a comic that will be seen less as a blatant parody and more as male chauvinistic, I decided to post my solution for getting females into gaming: create good, strong, fun games. Just like Field of Dreams, “If you build it, they will come.” Look at Tetris and World of Warcraft. Both of those games have had a lot of success with female gamers. Why? Because they are both genuinely fun.

Remember, just because women are willing to settle when it comes to their significant others that doesn’t mean they’re willing to settle on what video games they play. When it comes to this, they actually want quality.

I also enjoyed the mockup logos that I created so much that I made desktop versions of them for people to download:

Maid of Honor (1600 x 1200, 1024 x 768)
Mall of Beauty: Modern Wardrobe (1600 x 1200, 1024 x 768)
Shoes: The Video Game (1600 x 1200, 1024 x 768)

Update: Rob P mentioned a really good video on College Humor that was very appropriate to this comic. So, I decided to add it here:

Discussion (19)¬

  1. Steve Napierski
    Steve Napierski says:
    March 26, 2009 at 3:59 am #

    "Seriously, why do guys think gaming is for boys only? Its not an exclusive club, its for the masses. I just wish that people would realize this and stop saying so."

    You have to admit that besides casual gaming, the vast majority of people who game are male. On top of that, most of the people who are writing articles and reporting on female gamers come from an era where gaming was less commonly accepted by the masses, let alone female gaming.

  2. Red
    Red says:
    March 26, 2009 at 6:43 am #

    Seriously, why do guys think gaming is for boys only? Its not an exclusive club, its for the masses. I just wish that people would realize this and stop saying so.

  3. Orangeberryflute
    Orangeberryflute says:
    March 26, 2009 at 7:17 am #

    I read the article on getting girls into gaming. The statistics made me take a look at myself. I am a teenage girl who loves violent zombie-killing games, FPS, and RPGs, am I really that odd? I guess most games today aren’t specifically marketed towards girls, but that doesn’t make me not want to play them. Of all the girls I know, none of us have ever complained about the lack of Barbie games in the world. I don’t know any female gamer friend of mine who pick up a game specifically marketed towards a girl. To us, they seem sort of laughable. I just think the industry should stop worrying about making “girl-games” and should think only about making good games.

  4. Haly
    Haly says:
    March 26, 2009 at 6:58 am #

    It's certainly got old with me cheezewheel and I am a gamer girl! Oh wait……no I'm a girl that happens to play games but doesn't like to make a huge fuss of being a girl *gasp*. It annoys me when girls make a big fuss about playing games, it just smacks of attention seeking to me. I like being relatively anonymous (unless of course I'm talking on mic), not proclaiming from the rooftops how people should look at me because I'm female and play games.

    I also find it so patronising when games are designed specifically for girls. Just make good games like the previous comment said, that'll work without patronising the audience and without creating yet another gender divide in a pastime that doesn't need a gender divide.

    Phew, rant over! :)

  5. Greiver
    Greiver says:
    March 26, 2009 at 7:24 am #

    Great strip Steve!

  6. TyKat12
    TyKat12 says:
    March 26, 2009 at 9:31 am #

    I laughed pretty hard at this one. I love a good RPG game, and the Resident Evil series (games, not the live action films) is a personal fave. I own nearly all of them. Sucks something fierce though because I don’t own an Xbox. Beyond Good and Evil is another game I love despite it’s not really well known, then the Zelda series, fighting games, the whole nine yards. (I like Hitman for PC and Starcraft, along with Diablo. Shit, I LOVED Diablo.)

    I don’t know alot of fellow female gamers, honestly-which is too bad, I love brawling randomly.

  7. Rob P
    Rob P says:
    March 26, 2009 at 9:33 am #

    It's funny because CH just did a Bleep Blooop about the idiocy of game designers making games for girls.


    Hope its okay to post the link.

  8. cheezewheel
    cheezewheel says:
    March 26, 2009 at 10:37 am #

    the whole gamer girl thing is annoying. not because girls can’t play it’s because they’re all obsessed with telling everyone i’m a girl and i play. hasn’t this gotten old yet? well that’s my two cents, awesome comic though XD

  9. Lokhai
    Lokhai says:
    March 26, 2009 at 10:32 am #

    I've been a gaming nerd for a few years now, and while what follows isn't video game related it is gaming realted. Alot of the gamer crowd doesn't like to be tossed in with the PnPers but it's cool we still love you and if it weren't for us you never would have loved WoW or FF7. Anyways, for you guys trying to get your girls into the pen and papers there is an awesome book out called "Confessions of a Part-Time Sorceress: A girl's guide to the dungeons and dragons game."

    I picked it up for my wife since I play and she sits in her room all night while our friends are over to roll some dice. Since she has started the book she has come to join in the fun a bit more. I read a little bit of it myself just to see what the book was about and… it's good. So there ya go guys, pick up the book and while it might not help with getting her into video games she will at least understand you the next time you talk about your lvl 17 rogue doing backflips over the beholder to gain flanking.

  10. Steve Napierski
    Steve Napierski says:
    March 26, 2009 at 11:46 am #

    Good find, Rob P. I added the video to the news post.

  11. Klas
    Klas says:
    March 26, 2009 at 2:16 pm #

    Most gamers are men, this is by a huge margin.
    Most female gamers like games designed for men since they are in fact, gaming on a market designed by people who are used to playing games which in general are more appreciated by men.

    There are many reasons why men generally like games more than women, none of them universal, most of them enough to create a slight trend in itself.

    However, the problem with knowing what NEW female gamers want is the simple fact that all gaming programmers today (male or female) have grown up with an abundance of games which are based on the things which men or children like, not what women like.
    All good games are created by people thinking “Hey, I want a game where you can …”, all girl-made games are made by people who think “Hey, I want to cater to an unexploited demographic”, which is a decision which makes crappy games at all times.

  12. pumpkin_samurai
    pumpkin_samurai says:
    March 27, 2009 at 2:15 am #

    I've been a girl gamer pretty much all my life (I even do love Halo). I have to say what potentially scares girls away from gaming is the guys that play… Ever tried to play Halo online as a girl? Don't dare talk on the mic unless you want to be gang-banged because the mic makes your voice indistinguishable from the 12-year-old's. And when someone does believe you're female, don't expect anything other than stupid and rude comments on your boobs.

    There are definitely some great guys out there that game, but it's not necessarily an easy world to inhabit, let alone to step into, as the popularity of games rise but the maturity of its gamers doesn't.

  13. RyoChan
    RyoChan says:
    March 27, 2009 at 10:44 am #

    Ah! I think I would be too scared to play a game called shoes. I much prefer games like God of War and Halo. If I am going to play a games it better have some action, explosions or blood. :P
    And I agree with you pumpkin_samurai it is really annoying when guys find out you are a girl in Halo or even in WOW. Suddenly you are the potential spouse for all the guys just because you have boobs. >< not fun.

  14. Steve Napierski
    Steve Napierski says:
    March 27, 2009 at 1:39 pm #

    @pumpkin_samurai and @RyoChan The reason why these guys are focused on your boobs is because they too have boobs as well. It’s not derogatory, it’s just their failed attempt at bonding ;)

  15. Harui
    Harui says:
    March 27, 2009 at 6:21 pm #

    Lol, that might attract normal women, but for those of us who are already gamers, we love the same things guys do–guns and blood. XD

  16. RyoChan
    RyoChan says:
    March 28, 2009 at 8:10 am #

    Steve Napierski: lols. I will keep that in mind. :P

  17. Necromas
    Necromas says:
    March 28, 2009 at 11:59 am #

    I think Halo is a great gateway game to attract girls and non-gamers in general, as long as you’re playing with people that have the right attitude and on a gametype/map that focuses on simple and fun. (shotgun zombies good idea, MLG bad idea)

  18. Sai
    Sai says:
    March 29, 2009 at 10:12 pm #

    I’m a woman and I’ve been gaming since I was about seven. I don’t know why advertisers and game developers think female gamers are still such a rarity, and that they can’t possibly enjoy more traditional games so they need stuff Yoga Trainer and Wii Fit and Brain Age. Or for younger girls baby games and hannah montana sing alongs and Bratz shit.

    When I was a little girl I was playing the likes of Super Mario and Mortal Kombat. I would have turned my nose up at the Imagine series even then.

  19. Erik
    Erik says:
    April 1, 2009 at 11:47 pm #

    I believe this is because in the infancy of the gaming industry, gamers were stereotyped as ugly, male, basement-dwelling, virgin scum.