Sunday, December 8, 2013

Games for girls

This Jane Austen game is actually a pretty good idea, in that it is a game actually focuses on status, clothes and communication rather than simply painting the guns pink:
Ever, Jane -- a Jane Austen MMO game -- has successfully reached its $100,000 (£60,000) Kickstarter target.

The game allows players to role-play in a Regency period setting using the weaponry found in Jane Austen novels, by which we mean gossip and social climbing rather than the flintlock pistols of the distractingly handsome militia.

"Instead of kill or be killed, it's invite or be invited," says project creator, Judy Tyrer, who has previously worked for companies like Ubisoft and Linden Lab. Instead of selecting the usual MMORPG character traits like strength, intelligence and agility, you pick from attributes like kindness, happiness and duty.

Strategising will be a key part of the experience. As Tyrer explains on the Kickstarter page, there's an invitation system where in-game events like balls and dinner parties can be used to boost one's stats:

"If a player invites a person of higher Status with the hope of improving their own Status, care must be taken. If the player invited rejects the invitation it will harm rather than improve Status. If the invitation is accepted, but out of Duty rather than Happiness, the Status will only improve slightly. On the other hand, if the player invited accepts with Happiness, Status improvements may be as much as doubled."
Of course, "invite or be invited" is the female version of "kill or be killed". I suspect the success of the game will depend upon whether one has the ability to be mean to other players or not. It's encouraging to see women attempting to provide women with new products they might actually enjoy instead of trying to invade, coopt, and ruin what the men have created.


tz said...

Way back when I was growing up, there was a board game called "Mystery Date". I only remember there was some kind of doormthat opened to pictures of men, and the line "will your mystery date be a dream ... or a dud" with appropriate pictures. Though this was still in the earlier era so there were no "bad boy" alphas there to my knowledge.

The girls should have a ball, at least if they were invited to one.

Dexter said...

I'm not playing unless it has zombie-killing in it.

fc6cedc2-d6a8-11e2-b860-000bcdcb471e said...

"Honey, what is this $900 charge to EJ Inc"

"Well you see, Carol, wasn't going to invite me to the Midsummer Regalia, so I was forced to host an afternoon tea party to demonstrate my status. I had to get Beth and Nancy to show up, but they wouldn't come unless I could get them into the Solstice party, except I only get +1 for that event and needed to buy another seat. Everything was going good, but then Amber heard that I could get people invited, and she promised I could go to the Regents Ball which is THE social event of summer if I could score her a table. So I had to upgraded to contributor. But then that bitch Jill upgraded to coordinator, and I couldn't let her one up me like that, so I upgrade all the way to hostess. She is so humiliated now."

Krul said...

I suspect the success of the game will depend upon whether one has the ability to be mean to other players or not.

If there's a chat function then I'm sure they will have no problem being mean to each other.

Bob said...

"It's encouraging to see women attempting to provide women with new products they might actually enjoy instead of trying to invade, coopt, and ruin what the men have created."

Exactly. I wouldn't ever play this of course, but so what, I'm not the target market, I don't object to it being made at all. Every time a woman complains about everything (games especially) being made by men, for men etc and how lots of things in it should be changed to "include" females, I've always said, "Well, why haven't women grouped together and made their own then? Why not make something that appeals to you. That's all these 'male' game designers are doing".

So it seems they're finally doing that, getting off their arses and making something that appeals to them and works to their expectations and on their terms, good! One less thing for them to complain about that doesn't automatically include women.

Of course they'll STILL want a piece of the guy's pie as women can't stand being left out, (even if they'd be completely useless as whatever it is), but meh, it gives an extra comeback at least when they complain of there being no games made by women for women.

Jack Amok said...

This is awesome. Someone finally realized what The Sims really meant from a game standpoint. Or perhaps, someone finally had the guts to go with it, not sure.

xsplat said...

Male systematizing applied to female status seeking. I wonder what sex the real contributing developers are?

rycamor said...

My 13-year-old daughter (and avid Austen reader) literally jumped for joy when I showed her the link.

buzzardist said...

Good grief, if the developers do make the game a pay-as-you-go system where you can buy various upgrades and status levels with cash, as fc6 suggests, the game will be a disaster. It will probably make some decent money for awhile, and then most people will realize that there is no chance of ever beating the half dozen people who will dump thousands of dollars into the game. Then almost everybody will leave. What is the point of a game about status and wealth if you're still constricted by the same wealth limitations you have in real life?

That said, it's a brilliant concept for a game. If the game play is actually engaging, it could prove very successful. But the amount of intelligent dialogue that such a game would need to produce and the AI behind it would be staggering. The only other way to produce that much dialogue is to let the players generate all of it, but I'm reasonably certain that most of that would be utterly boring. The world is not populated with millions of Lizzie Bennets, but this game needs everyone to feel that they could be like her.

En-sigma said...

invade, coopt, and ruin....I find this intriguing.....

Brad Andrews said...

I am not convinced it will be a success. Are most women interested in playing games (online or not) of any sort? The only game that has engaged my wife at all is Candy Crush, though we don't spend any money at it. I can't see her paying to play a game like this.

Reaching Kickstarter goals is one thing, actual production and long term activity is another.

I remember that "games for girls/women" was a big meme in the early 1990s at the Game Developer Conventions I attended, yet we still do not have any breakthroughs there that I see. The meme does continue however.

Kind of like the idea of getting more "women in engineering" that was a theme at least since the 1980s and has continued to today.

rycamor said...

Naysayers need to realize there is already is a place for women (and girls) in gaming. While girls don't tend to like demanding games of strategy and war, they love "maintenance" games and sims. Think about Farmville on Facebook, which was a tremendous hit with women. A few years ago my daughter fell in love with the game which is nothing but a web-based data-entry game where you try to maintain a virtual horse farm by making ongoing wise choices about feeding, breeding, exercise, trading horses, etc... for each virtual horse in your farm. There is nothing interactive in the game (at least back when she played it). The only visual was a static 2D rendering of your horses as they grew, flourished or failed.

One night she came to me in tears (I think she was 8-9 at the time), because her first horse had died. She hadn't maintained the right feeding/exercise schedule, and it expired. And in her grief she blamed herself. It was as if she had lost a real pet. It took several days to console her. But soon she was back online learning the system and I believe the last time she played it she had parlayed her farm into a successful one with 50+ critters.

To a guy, this sounds boring as hell. I mean, there's no action, there's no victorious conclusion, there's just ongoing maintenance. Kinda like maintaining a household routine, eh? Girls get into this stuff.

Brad Andrews said...


Many RTS games are far more than just "win" games. Yes, winning is a goal in Civilization, but building the empire is part of the process. I enjoy that game far more than any first person shooter, which I do not have the reflexes for.

Building an empire is fun, whether it is virtual or real bits. I would bet the motivations for something like Farmville differ. I played it because I was building something, though I eventually quit after quite a while. Reaching the end goal was probably a part of that, but building can still be interesting for males.

How many women played the first 3 Civilization games?

paulmurray said...

Women will play it if their sims can wear faaaabulous gowns. And shoes. And hat thingumajigs.
For more realism, there shouldn't be male characters, just cardboard cutouts with an income, social position, and possibly an abstract "attractiveness" rating. Biggest decision of a woman's life is picking a husband.
@rycamor - has your daughter worked out that Austen is nasty, nasty social satire yet? Ask her when Elizabeth really realised that she was in love with Darcy :)

Markku said...

Supercell's approach was absolutely ingenious. They made basically the exact same game for girls and for boys. Girls' version as Hay Day, boys' version as Clash of Clans. It's the same mechanic, the same engine, the same everything... except the payoff in the girls' version is that your pets love you, and in the boys version that you get to bully those smaller (lower level) than you.

Markku said...

And consider: The boys' game... COC... Could you be a bit more obvious, plz, Supercell?

Gabrielle said...

I've always like Caesar and Stronghold. Anno is also a good one for women. The graphics are very pretty.

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Games for girls are nowadays the most famous games and there are many people espacially girls interested in playing these games in the free and spare time.

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