#LivPlays: Games I Recommend for Girls
Last semester for my Game Research class, I wrote a paper on my research on how video games can appeal to girls. Gaming has always been traditionally a male pastime, but there’s no science that proves girls can’t like games too. For a long time I struggled with my own identity because people (my dad and some boys) made me feel I wasn’t feminine enough since I always had so much fun playing games my whole life (even if my favorite color is pink and I prefer skirts over jeans). However there’s no link at all between the act of playing a game to femininity.
In fact, I’m taking a class this semester called Narrative Game Studio and the girl to guy ratio is 8:2. In a department with a 1:9 girl to guy ratio! That’s amazing more women want to be innovative in this field!
Most girls do not decide to one day start playing games out of boredom nor play by themselves because they link it with competition and violence. That is true, because the first video games were indeed targeted towards males with war, train, and sports themes. Technology back then was also limited so very simple shapes and monotonous colors were used, while women are more attracted to curved shapes, little details, and bright colors. Lastly, at the time video games were not accessible to the public except at arcades and bars, which was kind of a place for men to bro out and get away from their wives. And when a gathering of men start playing games, they will inevitably rage and spam.
However, today we can make brightly detailed games of any theme and deliver them to anyone on a computer or a phone! There’s no reason girls cannot enjoy playing games without feeling masculine. Based on my research, here are my recommended beginner’s games for girls to get you into the beautiful world of gaming! They are all available on Steam for your computer because consoles are still stereotyped as a male purchase and I don’t expect you to be running off to buy one right now if you don’t already have one, hehe.
Girls like games that are puzzle-based and competition free.
One of my favorite puzzle games is Botanicula. You play as a group of creatures trying to save the tree they live on from withering. You go from screen to screen to find information. Most screens require you to do a favor for a character to know where to go next, and only the end of the game will there be enemies who attack you … a bit. The game is point and click so it also requires very little coordination, which is perfect for anyone looking for a quick and simple game to enjoy.
Girls like games with fantasy magic and aren’t too challenging.
One of my all-time favorite games fits this description exactly! Child of Light is literally a fairy tale, and some guys have complained about that aspect. Oh come on, it’s a great game. It tells the story of the daughter of a Duke who ends up in a fantasy world for three days. Bonus points for those who notice the Jesus references. The combat is all turn-based with timing and strategy to kill enemies. The main character also makes a lot of friendies throughout the game who join your party and become usable in battle. Some of the bosses get a bit tough but it mainly comes down to how many experience points you have to defeat them, so if you have trouble defeating them then just go grinding for a bit with regular enemies. The plot is a tear-jerker and the music is breathtaking too.
Girls like games where we can interact with our friends in a friendly way!
According to my research girls actually do like fighting games, if they are played to have fun with friends! Skullgirls is a game I’ve always wanted to try and it has a lot of positive reviews. It’s probably the only all-female dominated fighting game out there! Each of the girls is unique in terms of character design as well as fighting style.
Girls like games we can relate to already.
A lot of girls are not really into role-playing games because they cannot related to the story, and even I have problem with that if I play games that require character creation first thing in the game when I hardly know what the world is about. Like what are all the class levels and races? However, we can’t really go wrong with Lego Harry Potter! I personally have not played the game, but I’ve watched the playthrough. It mirrors what happens in the Harry Potter movies and is great to re-experience. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets was also my first video game other than when I played Duck Hunt as a toddler. Being able to control Harry, a fictional character I already related to, was a really great experience.
Girls like games that tell a good story.
Braid is a platformer, like traditional Super Mario. However, unlike Mario it actually tells a twisted romantic story through every one of its puzzle-based levels. The main character can’t really jump well so you have to figure out how to use enemies to get around, and the time of the game needs to be rewinded every time you touch an enemy. The story is amazing and only pro players would be able to unlock it all because just getting through every level is not enough! I didn’t. This is actually the game that got me into indie games.
Have you ever played any of these? If not, what kinds of games have you played that would appeal to girls?