Is it appropriate to make educational games for girls?

Approximate Reading Time: 2 minutes

CT06I don’t like fighting. As a result, there are a whole pile of video games that I don’t really like playing. I’ve always thought of shooters and fighting games as the low-hanging fruit of game design. It’s fairly easy to do.

When I watched Avatar for the first time I thought the Navi’s connectedness with their planet had some really interesting possibilities for how to do a final conflict/challenge. When it became clear that the final challenge was simply going to be another epic war battle, I was sooo disappointed. It was all so utterly predictable. (I still like the film, it just could have been so much more).

I see videogames that require me to fight someone or something much the same way. Even Pokémon makes you battle, though for some reason the violence in Mario seems OK to me. I’ve never really known if I feel this way because I am a girl, or because I am German, or because I am a pacifist. Whatever the reason, I would be really irritated if I had to play a game for school that required fighting. With the same token though, I’d be equally irritated if I had to play a game where I had to buy stuff, or dress up, or do anything I saw as particularly ‘girlish’.

There’s a part of me that thinks it is just as bad to make games for girls as it is to make games for boys – at least so long as the game is one that both (all?) genders will have to play, as happens in educational games. What about GLBT games? Can we do that?

Should we? If we are going to make a game to be used in a formal educational setting and make everyone play, should we not be trying to figure out how to do that in a way that works for people instead of boys/girls/….?

 

To me that is one of the key challenges of building educational games. Entertainment games have a specific audience but in the end, the people who play them choose to play them. That’s not the case in educational games.

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