Wow, has it been a week already? I know you're anxious to read my latest words of wisdom, so let's get to it.
Soon after I began making computer games, I had heard a lot about the subject of "girls and games." Many folks in the game industry were scratching their heads and trying to figure out why the majority of gamers were guys and that those of the female persuasion weren't attracted to the offerings. Some theorized that the games needed more "girl content" and we soon saw a rash of games filled with ponies and shopping and an overwhelming shade of pink. Not surprisingly, these efforts didn't take off.
In a small way, the content might have been the problem, but the developers looked at it in the wrong way. You cannot take a game that has been designed for boys, change the tanks to pink ponies and expect the new product to suddenly appeal to girls. It's still a game designed for boys!
It turns out that I accidently stumbled across the secret to making games that appeal to both genders when I was working on the 3D Ultra pinball series. I probably would've discovered it earlier if I had cared to look. The secret to making games that cross the gender lines is to stop making games for boys.
Sounds simple, right? I admit when I was designing my games, I didn't have a specific audience in mind. I was just trying to make a fun game. I think we were all surprised when we found out that the game was just as popular among female players as male.
I don't know if this is still true, but for quite some time, the most popular game on Windows was - solitaire.
This might have had a little to do with the fact that every windows computer had this already installed, but I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that the game is very approachable - you can start it up any time you want, and leave without remorse if you have more important things to do. It always offers the same level of challenge no matter how many games you play, and you don't feel threatened by it (unlike Minesweeper
, where one false move results in instant death).
Well, I hope I've given you something to think about. I'll be back next week with another cartoon
and some more words about this crazy business I'm in. Be sure to leave a note to let me know you're out there or I may stop doing these.