Sheri Graner Ray Sex and Video Games Conference San Francisco, CA June 9, 2006 Gender Inclusive Design and the “M” rated title
Sheri Graner Ray Started in games in 1990 Worked with such companies as Origin/EA, Her Interactive, SOE, Cartoon Network and others Author of Gender Inclusive Game Design: Expanding the Market Co-founder and Exec. Chair of Women In Games International Hard Core Gamer (20+ hours a week)
Ancient times For most of ancient history, women were considered “chattel.” In ancient Greece, women were called “Gyne” which means “to bear children.” In ancient Rome, women were considered “unclean” and hetrosexual sex was primarily for procreation only.
The Middle Ages The Church referred to all women as “temptresses.” “Joining of bodies” with the “temptresses” ensured a man's damnation Intercourse should be passionless, purposeful and for procreation only The Church enters into debates over whether women have souls.
Rules for Sexual Relations SEX IS FORBIDDEN... WHEN A WOMAN IS MENSTRUATING, PREGNANT, OR NURSING DURING LENT, ADVENT, WHITSUM WEEK AND EASTER WEEK ON FEAST DAYS, FAST DAYS, SUNDAYS, WEDNESDAYS, FRIDAYS AND SATURDAYS DURING THE DAYLIGHT IF YOU ARE NAKED IF YOU ARE IN A CHURCH UNLESS YOU ARE TRYING TO PRODUCE A CHILD THERE SHOULD BE NO FONDLING. NO LEWD KISSES. NO ORAL SEX. NO STRANGE POSITIONS. WASH AFTERWARDS.
1559 The clitoris is “discovered” by Renaldus Columbus of Padua
Victorian Era Females were expected to be modest, submissive, and chaste Society encouraged the belief women had no need for sex Cases of “hysteria” become pandemic First vibrator invented Self treatment for hysteria was available through the Sears Roebuck catalog
Early 1900's Dr. Sigmund Freud's research into sexuality was considered revolutionary. Havelock Ellis proclaimed women had strong erotic needs.
20th century Kinsey's Sexual Behavior in the Human Male and Sexual Behavior in the Human Female shocked the world with the assertion that women were as capable of orgasm as men. Masters and Johnson's research disproved Freud's theory of female orgasm. Nancy Friday's My Secret Garden revealed that women have sexual fantasies very similar to men's.
Myths and Misconceptions Women don't want sexually oriented entertainment Women are afraid of computers Male characters are just as exaggerated as female characters. Women just need to get over it. We can make an adult game for men and then just flip the genders for the women.
WARNING!! The following information is based on broad population generalities. It is highly likely you will know of someone that does not fit exactly into these profiles. (If you are female and you are in the audience today…then that person will most likely be you!!)
Borders bookstores has seen a “double digit” increase in the sales of “erotic romance” Erotic romance is the fastest growing segment of the romance book genre - Harlequin, Harper Collins, Berkley and Kensington all now have “erotic” romance lines. Erotic romance is now readily available in mainstream bookstores
Gender differences in learning Male Explorative Risk takers
Gender differences in learning Male Explorative Risk takers Females Imitative Modeling
Most software tutorials today are designed for explorative learning styles Modeling learners are often mistaken for “fearful”.
Solutions: Ensure tutorial employees modeling and imitative learning styles as well as explorative Use educational software for examples
Male characters are just as exaggerated as female characters. Women just need to get over it.
Avatar \Av`a*tar"\, n.1. <chat, virtual reality> An image representing a user in avirtual reality space.
Because they represent “heroes”, male and female avatars will often exhibit exaggerated physical signals of youth strength, and fertility/virility
Youth, Strength and Fertility/Virility Males Large Shoulders Slim waists Slim hips Large arms and legs Long, thick hair
Youth, Strength and Fertility/Virility Males Large Shoulders Slim waists Slim hips Large arms and legs Long, thick hair Females Large Breasts, place high on the chest Slim waists Round derrières Long thick hair
Very often female avatars also display exaggerated physical signals of sexual receptivity.
Physical signals of sexual receptivity Red, full lips Heavy lidded eyes Heavy breathing (usually indicated by a slightly open mouth) Erect nipples
Physical signals of sexual receptivity • Red, full lips • Heavy lidded eyes • Heavy breathing (usually indicated by a slightly open mouth) • Erect nipples • Male game characters RARELY display these traits
Solution Sexualize your male NPC characters Allow your players choice in the appearance of their avatars – while they may like to look at sexualized images, they may not want to be represented by one
We can make an adult game for men and then just flip the genders for the women.
Gender differences in stimulus response Males derive physiological response from visual stimulus
Gender differences in stimulus response Males derive physiological response from visual stimulus Females derive physiological response from tactile and emotional stimulus
Most games today, including adult titles, rely primarily on visual stimulus as a motivation to continue play and/or as a reward
What about humor? Do not use humor that “puts down” or degrades females.
Solution Provide emotional as well as visual stimulus in your games to encourage repeat play experience DO NOT trivialize the importance of the emotional input Use sexual humor with caution
How can we make adult games that appeal to women? Provide them with content that can be procured in a mainstream location Provide titles that employ modeling/imitative learning models Use sexualized male NPCs, but provide choice in avatar creation Use emotional (romantic) stimulus as well as visual Use humor with caution
What if my player is female? Sheri Graner Ray Sex and Video Games San Francisco, CA June 9, 2006