Male vs. Female Gamers: A Comparison of Attitudes
Male gamers game to escape reality; female gamers game to augment reality.
I was talking with my sister the other day, and she was playing some sort of "Virtual Families" game on my mom's iPad. Basically a "Sims" knockoff, but whatever. She mentioned that she liked games that resemble real life, and I thought that was kind of interesting, because that's the exact kind of game that I hate! I want my games to be nothing at all like real life, because who would want a game that's just like real life? That would be boring!
But apparently some people do like that sort of thing. Go figure. I guess my caveman male brain can't wrap my head around why you'd want to kill virtual mastodons when they don't provide you any actual meat. Or something like that.
So I got to thinking, maybe this is what really defines the "girl gamer"? Not that the only people who play Mario games are male or anything, just that males and females take different attitudes toward gaming. So here's my theory.
Male gamers prefer games that are not like real life, because we think: "Life is boring and mundane. All I do is eat, sleep, and work. Gaming should be an escape from reality, a safety valve to let off steam when I'm stressed out." So we play games like Halo, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Team Fortress 2 to escape to a fantasy world where all we care about is beating the bad guys and bringing justice to the world.
Female gamers, on the other hand, prefer games that emulate real life, because they think: "Life is great! I can talk with my friends, and read books, and go to parties, and do all sorts of other awesome things! Gaming should be an extension of my life where I can express myself and interact socially with other people." So they play games like The Sims, Words With Friends, and Draw Something to... well, just be themselves! (In a way, I actually sort of envy female gamers, if my theory holds true...)
Not that all male gamers play the one type of game exclusively or all female gamers play the other exclusively, of course. (I personally enjoy Draw Something, and I've only played a bit of Halo!) And there are games that transcend the gender barrier, appealing to both males and females on their own terms. Take World of Warcraft, for example. It's got the fantasy world with brave heroes for the guys, and the social interactions in clans (or whatever they're called, I've never played WoW) for the girls. No wonder it's so popular!
So, anyone out there care to back up or refute my theory?