#LivPlays: Games I Recommend for Girls

February 03, 2016 • Let's Gamify!

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.

Child of Light on Steam for $14.99

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!

Skullgirls on Steam for $14.99

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.

Lego Harry Potter Years 1-4 Years 5-7 for $19.99 each

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 on Steam for $14.99

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?

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14 Comments to "#LivPlays: Games I Recommend for Girls"

Michelle wrote on 3rd February 2016 at 2:54 PM

Love Child of Light, but I can add more to the list 😀 : Transistor, Undertale, Flower, Journey, Fez, and Contrast. I haven’t played Braid yet, but I want to. Good choices in games!


Tara wrote on 3rd February 2016 at 8:28 PM

Huh. That’s something I never thought about — how girls have difficulties relating to RPGs because they can’t relate to the stories. I grew up on RPGs and I actually had no problems relating to the RPGs I played. If anything, I played for the stories and the characters, with gaming and the its mechanism being the secondary reasons.

Anyway, I played games because they fascinated me. It was visually appealing to me, and there was something about button mashing that the kid in me liked. But as I grew older, I moved away from games that required such actions and preferred games with actual stories and characters that made sense. Chrono Trigger, Suikoden, Final Fantasy — those games I adored thanks to the influence of my friends in middle school.

Honestly, I can’t say I like the concept of having “girls” games. Sure, games, especially from the past, are geared towards men, but I think it’s also good to encourage girls to try those games, much like encouraging guys to get into the more “girly” past-times, haha. I do that especially at work. I try to provide things that are gender-neutral (and gender-specific things because kids like them), but I encourage kids to try things outside the gender norm and do not tolerate anybody calling out and making fun of so-so doing things that are “girly” or “boyish” for them.

I’d try to recommend games with strong female protagonist, and the only one that really comes into my mind at the moment is Final Fantasy VI (and maybe Final Fantasy XIII . . . ) because that will also help girls relate. Plus, a lot of girls gamers I know love FF VI. I didn’t quite play through a lot of it myself, but it’s on my to-complete list one day XD;;


Kya wrote on 4th February 2016 at 7:24 AM

That would have been really interesting to do research into girl gamers and I think it’s great that more females are becoming interested in that field and it is becoming more ‘acceptable’.

Thanks for your suggestions, some of them look really cool.


Chantelle wrote on 4th February 2016 at 9:28 AM

I love competitive games. The more competitive the better, but I’m not a gamer for several reasons the most important probably being that I don’t have a lot of time to devote to games. Another, though, is that I get the sense that the environment is incredibly hostile to women. In interactive games, it seems like women always get hit on, get harassed and that being a woman is simply considered bad as well (hence all the “you’re a pussy; don’t be such a girl” insults) so if guys lose to you they get super emotional/upset/sensitive because it’s somehow dirtied their honor.


Pauline wrote on 4th February 2016 at 3:38 PM

I’ve grown up loving video games ever since my dad introduced me to Mario. My first violent game was Fighting Force, I loved it but it didn’t make me violent and I didn’t like it because it was violent but I loved the story of it. I guess, the last point of girls liking games that tell a story is a fair point but I guess everyone does? I always wondered even now, why there is such a division in this gaming industry. I like competitive games much more, I have to say, I find them so much more fun!


Liv Reply:

I don’t know if boys like games that have a lot of story because my narrative games class is physical proof. The professor said even though the class always had more girls than guys, this semester there’s only 2 guys which is less than 20% of the class!


Becca wrote on 4th February 2016 at 7:50 PM

I remember you mentioning you were doing some research on this! I recently got into gaming – growing up my brothers played anything they could get their hands on, but it wasn’t really until I just got married that my husband got me playing some games with him.

I think that most of these fit me pretty well. I love love games with a good story and I don’t want them to be TOO challenging (though I need a little challenge!). The only one I would disagree with is that I really enjoy role-playing games, and that these types of games are probably my favorite.

Lego Harry Potter was awesome, BTW. 🙂


Georgie wrote on 6th February 2016 at 7:45 AM

I haven’t played any of these games but I think your points are all valid ones. I would agree that we do like puzzle games a lot (more than boys anyway), and we do like fighting games. I think we’re a lot more inclined to choose games that challenge us, but also challenge us intellectually. I’m not sure if you did any research with direct comparison to boys’ preferences in games, but I feel like they really just play for fun.


remakestyle wrote on 8th February 2016 at 1:42 AM

My favorite games are otome games. Any recommendations on that area? 🙂


Liv Reply:

How about My Hatoful Boyfriend? I’ve never played it but it has a lot of positive feedback that I’d know what it is.


Tara Reply:

Hakuouki! But only if you’re ready to sob your eyes out. But oh, man, Hakuouki. They are pure catharsis for me . . . but I love the historical element, so it’s one of my favourites. Plus the hawt guys really don’t hurt. Amnesia is also pretty good :3


Amy wrote on 8th February 2016 at 7:20 AM

I don’t really like the idea that there are certain games girls like. I think these things make games more appealing to non-gamers, but not girls specifically.

I like a mixture of games. I’ve been playing GTA 5 and Battlefront recently, and I wouldn’t let my gender affect what I played. I think it depends on the individual.


Liv Reply:

It definitely depends on the individual which is why I play any game! I also know lots of girls who play GTA and FPS. But this was research done to market games to girls in the early days. I think it’s a lot more open now.


Jenny wrote on 15th February 2016 at 10:13 AM

I love a good storyline, which is probably why I’ll always love the Final Fantasy series <3 Pretty artwork helps too!


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