Gamers & Dolls: a psychological fable

Boys don’t play with dolls. Common knowledge. It’s just one of the things boys don’t do, along with liking cute animals, or flowers, or dancing, or the colour pink. Unless they’re that way inclined. You should definitely visualise someone rolling their eyes as they say that: “that way inclined”. There, you’ve got it.

It’s just not natural, you see. Men are coded to want to hunt and fight for things. Women are coded to want to make themselves attractive and to look after things. Hence girls like dolls, and boys like toy guns.

That’s why boys stick with action games, and only girls play The Sims. Which is a shame, because as we all know, girls don’t play computer games at all, which is why The Sims was such a failure. Similarly, boys hate those girly dress-up games, and girls just don’t get those shooters. Can you imagine a company trying to take a game aimed that only boys would like – like, say, a multiplayer first-person shooter – and then ask them to pay real money make themselves look different? Ha! It’d never work, because as we all know, boys don’t want to play dress-up, and even if a girl did somehow think to play with a computer, as all girls hate shooting things she would never go near the game in the first place.

Well, this'll never take off.

Sometimes you even see companies releasing games where they expect you to not only dress your character up, but choose how they look as well. In action games! Obviously nobody will ever bother to do this, because again, only girls care about things like that, and girls would never play that sort of game in the first place.

When we have facts like these before us, it’s easy to understand why companies are so keen to stick to clean demographics. After all, people are so very easy to accurately pigeonhole. That’s why it’s definitely not an incredibly disheartening state of affairs that the vast majority of big-budgeted titles are violent games. Or that most female characters in such games are still little more than window-dressing, and if they are major characters then they’re almost certainly eye-candy. Or that on the rare occasion that an openly-female player shows up on a server she’s liable to be ostracised and verbally assaulted – what better way to help her find her way back to her place, which is probably somewhere in the vicinity of a kitchen. Or that if you are going to put boring, gross relationships into your games, it’s obviously only so there can be a sex scene. With a woman. Maybe even two women, because that’s even hotter. But definitely not two men. Gross. The only people who’d want that are women and gay men, and obviously gay men are just like women, which means they don’t like games either. Though, admittedly one franchise seems to be turning away from that particular branch of wisdom. More fool them, right?



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June 2011
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