Gender Inclusive Game Design: Expanding the Market (Advances in Computer Graphics and Game Development Series)

Author: Sheri Graner Ray, Sheri Graner-Ray
List Price: $39.95
Our Price: Click to see the latest and low price
ISBN: 1584502398
Publisher: Charles River Media (September, 2003)
Edition: Hardcover
Sales Rank: 70,355
Average Customer Rating: 5 out of 5

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Customer Reviews

Rating: 5 out of 5
Review originally posted at
Sheri Graner Ray has written the book many of us didn't know we needed. Not only is it a sparkling resumé over one of the darkest, save most stupid, corners of our industry, it is also a good game design book, and a brief summary of the latest in gender research. In a market where female customers are tended to by either The Sims or making the cover art pink, any kind of change is welcome, and this book does look like the Holy Grail to me.

The book sets out with a brief history of our industry's less than intelligent moves to capture female gamers, as well as its tendency not to appeal to them at all. She then points out a few important points where girls playing games differ from boys. This first part of the book is explosive enough to boost your sales, if you read it carefully. Now, there are twelve more chapters like this, so you might as well buy the book right away. It'll pay back in no time.

See, the book is that relevant. I had already made a few plunges into this facet of game design earlier, so I kind of knew what to expect. Still, I had an aha! experience on at least every other page. Chapter 2: Evolution of Female Characters in Computer Games is a discourse on what the computer game industry still finds fully acceptable in a female avatar. (And to be honest, Monty Python couldn't have done it better than we do.) The chapter Reward & Gameplay outlines techniques to motivate female gamers and make them keep coming back to your games. No pink bunnies required.

The number of puzzling questions that are answered in this work is high. For instance - why do women prefer bombing runs over dog fights in flight sims? If the violence isn't a turnoff in beat'em-ups, what is? Why do guys feel OK about playing with female avatars, but seldom the other way around? This book is mandatory. I want you to buy this book so much. Why? Because our industry is dead without it. Dead, I say. We need this book so bad, so bad.

This book is, together with Chris Crawford on Game Design, and David Freeman's Creating Emotion in Games the absolutely essential game development book for the next ten years to come. The book is that irresistible. The book is that interesting. The book is a freaking TNT charge!

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