Once upon a time, when the world was ruled by arcades, Atari 2600s, and the adventures of something called Zork, the world of video games was pretty much a boy’s club. Whenever a potential girlfriend discovered that I spent a large amount of my free time helping Pac-Man satisfy his insatiable appetite for shifty ghosts and power pellets, my chances of actually getting a date were reduced dramatically. Between that and pen-and-paper Dungeons & Dragons, yours truly didn’t fare too well with the opposite sex. Things have changed considerably since my youth. Nowadays, being a geek is super cool, and, more importantly, girls are getting in on the act, as well.
According to reports from GirlsgoGames.com, online gaming is becoming increasingly popular with girls between the ages of 8 and 12, thanks in part to the number of kids who own mobile devices. Nearly 50% of tweens in this group are using the Internet to play games on various social media websites, and the numbers only seem to be getting bigger. When they do sit down to participate in a little interactive entertainment, these kids are spending anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour playing all sorts of games geared towards their gender and age group.
The reports also state that girls in this demographic are drawn to, well, girly games. Most of them tend to enjoy games involving some sort of social interaction, preferably with avatars they can customize. Regarding the games themselves, those who visited the GirlsgoGames website between 2011 and the beginning of 2012 seemed to gravitate towards games involving cooking, dressing up, quizzes, make-up/makeovers, and, last but certainly not least, animals.
I consider these sort of games to be a kind of “gateway drug”, a portal into more involved gaming experiences. Once these tweens have outgrown their desire to dress up Beyonce like a virtual paper doll, where do they go next? My wife, for example, can easily bounce between solving mahjong puzzles and raiding deep, dark, scary dungeons in Skyrim without batting one of her beautiful eyelashes. It’s only a matter of time, I think, before players begin encountering roving packs of all-girl squads in Call of Duty. And, chances are, they’re going to kick your behind all over the virtual landscape. Adjust your masculinity accordingly.
What do you think? Will girls no longer be the minority in the realm of video games, or will it always be a more male-dominated medium? The comments section is below.