Slave to the Game

Filling you in on the oddball gaming news

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Whenever I noted the best video games coming out in the past, none was for girls. But as a father of three girls, I'm paying more attention these days.

This year is the first that I remember in which some of the most interesting games are actually created with girls in mind. The game publishers either target the girls directly or create games that would appeal to girls as well as everyone else.

Targeting girls involves some assumptions. Some older girls, teens and young women are embracing games traditionally aimed at males. That's evidenced by the females who are turning pro in gaming tournaments that I recently watched involving shooting games such as "Dead or Alive 4" or "Counterstrike: Source."

But the game industry is reaching out to girls more than ever, thanks in part to the broader appeal of the Nintendo Wii game console and the handheld DS.

Market researcher NPD says 41 percent of gamers in the United States are female, and Nintendo says that 33 percent of the Wii's purchasers are women. On average, females have been playing for eight years, compared to 10 years for males, according to the Entertainment Software Association.

Around ages 8 to 12, girls tended to drop out of gaming in the past. Companies such as Purple Moon failed to attract enough girls to make viable businesses. But Her Interactive's "Nancy Drew" has sold enough to spawn multiple titles.

This year, Disney Interactive showed off several big efforts aimed at girls with its "High School Musical," "Hannah Montana" and Disney Princess brands. Electronic Arts also came up with several original titles that appeal to girls and boys for the Nintendo Wii, including titles such as "EA Playground," "MySims," "EA Smartypants Trivia" and "EA Boogie." It also scored kudos for "Rock Band," a title aimed at the older set that riffs off the craze for "Guitar Hero."

Other titles exploit fresh ideas beyond shooting.

In "Thrillville: Off the Rails," coming from LucasArts, players will be able to create roller coasters where cars fly into the air and people parachute safely to the ground. In Sony's "Echochrome" coming next year, you can walk into a world that resembles a stroll through the M.C. Escher painting "Relativity," where down is up and up is down.

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1 Response for the "Video-game makers aim products at girls too"

  1. FUNNYMAN says:

    There are already many girls that play games.