Games for Girls

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otome games are not "games for girls", they are "dating games for girls". Luckily a few people in this thread have grasped that; sadly, many haven't.

As for the option to date girls being rare - not in the original-English ones it isn't! It's extremely common for English-written otome games to throw in at least one GxG option, often either in the hopes that men will play it or because the game author is herself bisexual/lesbian. (Like me!)

Along with all of the downloadable ones you can find through my site ( http://www.hanakogames.com ) there are a handful of developers known for making free flash ones, and a rising wave of officially translated otome releases on the iphone, which wasn't mentioned in the article at all. They're coming out so fast I can't keep track of them, but search for things like 'Ninja Love' and 'Pirates in Love' and you should be able to find the companies in question.

Can't remember seeing anyone talk about how stuffing games with uber-muscley, handsome and gravel-voiced dudes creates unrealistic expectations for us guys who're a little overweight and don't resemble Daniel Craig.

Funny - I see people talking about that *all the damned time*. It comes up in every single discussion of women in games I've ever seen, and plenty where that wasn't even the subject of discussion, like this thread. Where, since it IS off-topic, I'd prefer not to go into it!

WEll i suppose it goes with your doll house simulator.. you know the sims?

12th_milkshake:
WEll i suppose it goes with your doll house simulator.. you know the sims?

The sims is fun , weirdly enough i can spend more then an hour on creating one character. I do get a bit bored of it after a while, specially if their lives look better then mine >.>

but then my taste in games have always been a bit ... weird

Hm, interesting concept. Wouldn't mind if it became more popular in the USA, it might act as a gateway game that allows some girls to become more intersted in mainstream games. Sounds a tad bit like a dating sim though.

Fuck yes, Persona.

"It's not a huge stretch to say that Koei's Angelique was perhaps the first truly successful female-oriented game ever created."?! Is that some sort of sick joke?! First off, those "stereotypical teenage girl activities" are nothing of what I did when I was a teenager. I don't care if I wasn't the average teen, reinforcing disgusting stereotypes is just going to keep them in place. Perhaps I wouldn't have minded them as much if the basic premise was ONLY "girl must save world," since there aren't enough games where it's the female protagonist, not the male protagonist, who gets to do the saving. But WHY does she have to rely on male guardians?! You wouldn't find a game where a male protagonist had to rely on female guardians (not that I can think of, anyway)...and by making them attractive, you think you're creating a fantasy scenario for many young women? If only because it's expected of them, 'cause this sexist, revolting stereotype is forced upon them again and again, because women aren't taught/conditioned to stand up for themselves enough and instead depend on the men in their lives. And why must all games aimed for girls be focused on romance?! I would still play Dragon Age if all romance was cut out for it, but I wouldn't play it if romance was the central focus.

I'll admit, there are girls out there who this would appeal to, and as much as I hate to admit it, people like that deserve their likes and dislikes as much I deserve mine. But I'm also allowed to be disappointed in my own gender for people that that.

Come on, video games are the perfect medium to help break these stupid stereotypes and push for equality. And as someone else stated, there shouldn't be girl games and guy games, but games all genders and races can relate to. You want to appeal to me as a girl gamer? Create something innovative, intelligent, interesting, fun, etc. I'll admit, it would be great to have more female protagonists who don't dress skimpy and are strong, both physically and mentally, but I don't want that to affect the plot or gameplay. If you do that, I could care less if the people in it are attractive/romanceable or not.

Why not? These games will also work for European and American girls. The basic hooks [hot young males] is the same after all.

I did a review of an Otome game on the forum a few years ago. The game was Yo-jin-Bo, the Bodyguards, and its less about dating than about trying to save the main character's life. You are a young noblewoman/princess in charge of your clan, and get attacked by one of your own clan vassals. Any one of the men with you can save your life-with the help of the others, but it's who you get attracted to along the way. Not all the options were for me- one was the 15 year old guy- and since I'm 44, I was totally not interested in that one. But the older guy is a total perv, and that (while a usual trope in Japan- the "Pervy Old Guy"), it made my stomach turn, even if his voice acting made me cry (in a good way). And then there was the straight vanilla "Rough and Ready, not good with girls" guy that I just wasn't feeling at all, because he was so straight vanilla for Japanese media.

Anyway, here is the review, if you want to read it: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/326.223230-LadyRhian-reviews-Yo-Jin-Bo-The-Bodyguards-a-Visual-Novel

And I'm not upset that there are "girl" games, I just would like there to be a wide variety of girl games. Not just the romance ones, not just peaceful ones where not much happens (There were a whole bunch of those coming out in the late 90's, early 2000s- I used to work as a reviewer for the All Game Guide, and I got them all), but all sorts of games for women, men, girls and guys. If you don't like it, you don't have to play it. But those coming down on "Girl Games", isn't that saying that games made primarily for women can't be as good or as interesting as games for men? Because the way you go about complaining about it seems to say that Games for women are less, more stupid or not as interesting as Games for men. And that comes off as Misogynistic, no matter how you slice it.

As a mindless teenage girl with a taste for girly anime boys, I do wish the ever so popular girl's dating sims in Japan were more mainstream in the US. Now I know many indie developers make cheaper versions of these, and they're not bad. But I kind of wish more of the mainstream Japanese titles were translated and readily available in the US. Most of the time they're badly translated, illegally downloaded, etc.

LilithSlave:
You know what I love? Men who get into Otome games, instead of Gears of War.

But ugh, I have a hard enough time getting people into jRPGs nowadays.

drisky:
Am I the only one here that likes these sorts of games?

Oh! Me me me!

Me too.

I also willingly watch/read girls anime/manga. A lot of it.

There should be more Otome games or even just normal dating sims translated and brought over. If you make a good game, and someone is interesting in that type of game people will play it. You'll even get the opposite sex of the targeted sex playing it if it's known and generally a good game.

Now if you want to debate or call something sexist, talk about why - Girl Games - are pretty much only games no straight male would touch with a ten foot pole ala barbie or cooking mama and everything else is an Guy's game.

Give a guy a gun, Guy game (gears, cod). Give a girl a gun, Guy game. (tomb raider, bayonetta) Give a guy a Sword, Guy game ( devil may cry, god of war ) Give a girl a sword, Guy game (onechebara, lollipop chainsaw, x blade) Fighting games - Guys, Rpgs, guys. So on and So on.

Why is it if a Girl is made to look Sexy like in tomb raider it's a guy game, but if a guy is made to look sexy like say Lara's Uncharted counter part, Dante from DMC or hell all the girly boys in final fantasy and the other jrpgs are still guy games.

Even in the NES days, Mario of all things was the Guys game and girls played Tetris.

We gotta do away with the guy/girl game thing first since it's obviously flawed before games start treating Sex as equal.

Eve Charm:
There should be more Otome games or even just normal dating sims translated and brought over.

Sadly that won't be happening any soon since Japanese companies have become really scared and xenophobic after the Rapelay contrvoversy. Many Japanese eroge / dating sim developers have blocked foreign IPs from their websites and f.ex. minori is notorious for putting Anti-Foreign DRM in their games (they can't be installed on non-Japanese systems without cracks). Hell, they even blocked eden*, which isn't even a H-game without the seperate Plus-Mosaic add-on!

Well Aksyss gave me Fate/Extra in english, so I might have to buy anything else they release out of gratitude.

Seriously though, Me and my fiance just finished reading Tsukihime and Melty Blood and really enjoyed them, so I would love to see pretty much anything with a good first-person female protagonist in a story on par with Tsukihime or Fate/Stay Night, preferably written by a woman. I really want to feel a uniquely feminine perspective in a VN like that and if we can get Otome games in the west, that would go pretty far towards that goal I imagine. Hell, it would be even better if it were a foothold to bring more Visual Novels over here in general.

Hear that Aksyss? After Hakuoki, bring out the PS2 version of F/SN that had all the ero scenes cut out. And while I'm making impossible wishes, can you bring Melty Blood: Actress Again out here too?

Although I'm all for the the bringing of Japanese games to the west, this article makes it sound like they are bringing a total game changer to the west. They're not.-_- It's just a fucking generic dating-sim for girls. Stop trying to market it like it is the new pinnacle of gaming that will be so popular, that even men will play it and fantasize about whatever "hot guy" they are courting in the game. Edit:

Taunta:
I guess I just don't understand why we have to have "girl games" and "boy games" at all, ever? If you're trying to bridge a gender gap, then treating us as a token minority is not the way to do it. Except there aren't "boy games". There are just "games" and "girl games".

Hell, I don't see any games specifically marketed towards ethnic minorities. Cause that would be wrong. But games marketed towards women? All good!

SonicWaffle:

LilithSlave:

Gears of War guys... "hunky"? Ahahaha... ha... you're not serious are you?

Well, what the hell do I know about it? :-P

They're a bunch of rather muscly bestubbled fellows who appear to ooze manliness from their very pores. It's like someone gave Jack Bauer a thousand protein shakes and stole his razor...

I'm pretty sure this is YMMV, but I don't think testosterone poisoning looks good on a man. :P We all know the effects of too many steroids...

A male game would be just the opposite of this... thing that's being described. A Japanese dating sim for males where guys can live the generic cliche "romance" that they can't live because they are either too picky about their females, even if they are a fatfuck, too anti-social to go outside, or just plain lazy or afraid of commitment. Or men who are just so absorbed into anime, that they dislike real girls for their 3dimensional complex though processes that are much too difficult to decipher, i.e what goes on in pretty much anyone's mind. I'd say most games are games, but some genres like dating sims tend to branch off into gender specific sub categories.

Another gender-related article on the Escapist, eh? You guys really cant help yourselves, can you?

Whiskey Echo!!
Mythgraven

Why do the "good-looking men" look like good-looking women without boobs?

Michael Howard:
A male game would be just the opposite of this... thing that's being described. A Japanese dating sim for males where guys can live the generic cliche "romance" that they can't live because they are either too picky about their females, even if they are a fatfuck, too anti-social to go outside, or just plain lazy or afraid of commitment. Or men who are just so absorbed into anime, that they dislike real girls for their 3dimensional complex though processes that are much too difficult to decipher, i.e what goes on in pretty much anyone's mind. I'd say most games are games, but some genres like dating sims tend to branch off into gender specific sub categories.

...is it really so hard to believe that some people might just like stories about romance?

I think the only thing I might question is that Otome games seem to favor romance a lot, which is good for some women. But that's just it, some women would enjoy these types of games; I however do not and there could be other women like me out in the world. Women can have other interests outside of just romance, which as far as I can tell, are only looked over by the Cooking/Gardening/Crafting Mama games; though I would be lying if I didn't felt that the first two seem kind of cliche but the last being a bit more original as I don't think there is many games out there that goes into specific details on how to do some certain crafts.

So I guess my closing thought is that while I do respect that romance games can have a place here, I feel like there could be more games out there that could have other womanly interested apply to them.

BTA:

Michael Howard:
A male game would be just the opposite of this... thing that's being described. A Japanese dating sim for males where guys can live the generic cliche "romance" that they can't live because they are either too picky about their females, even if they are a fatfuck, too anti-social to go outside, or just plain lazy or afraid of commitment. Or men who are just so absorbed into anime, that they dislike real girls for their 3dimensional complex though processes that are much too difficult to decipher, i.e what goes on in pretty much anyone's mind. I'd say most games are games, but some genres like dating sims tend to branch off into gender specific sub categories.

...is it really so hard to believe that some people might just like stories about romance?

No, but frankly, I don't consider these kinds of games where a girl with the same recycled personality falls for the same faceless male with the same exact techniques (i.e compliment and buy gifts for them {shallow as hell now that I think about it. I give you stuff so you love me, now you are mine.}) over and over again with every new game that is really just a rough copy of the last game with different skin, to be romantic at all. And just to be clear, what I speak of is japanese dating sims, not all dating sims.

Well from my experience I am not really aware that there is some sort of cut off for gender and video games.

Ive dated a girl who played everquest. My ex fiancee played WoW, Call of Duty, Halo, ect. My kid sister is in love with gears of War 3 and portal.

However, and color this sexist if you will I have yet to find a girl who would even consider playing a video game who didnt adore fat princess. Its something about getting the chance to make another girl fat that girls seem to really really enjoy.

Sounds cool, but i think that gap has been bridged in the west. I just think most people wont really admit it. But ive played against girls in halo and COD3 online. Its not like girl gamers are unicorns they just have a less addressed audience. Its like when you see dove body soap commericals for men. You wonder, "why? I'm just gonna buy whatever is cheapest." and for girls its kinda like I'm just gonna play whatever guys like. Not to say that girls dont have a growing individualism in the game world but its far behind that of guys. Needless to say i wouldnt mind seeing more female gamers out there with games they would like to play. Its a world we can all live in and enjoy.

It should be noted that Japanese media is allowed a much greater degree of freedom when dealing with certain things then western stuff. As a culture they're much more receptive to it too. I can think of a few women I know off the top of my head that would have a kitten if they felt that they were being 'targetted' by 'girl games'. Blokes tend to get a bit uncomfortable around it too, then go back to playing their hardcore military shooters or enjoy ripping aliens eyeballs out of their heads with their bare hands...

Like it or not chaps, there are very clearly quite a lot of games that cater specifically to male tastes both in terms of content, and in what you actually do in the game. I doubt that many women enjoyed Kratos manhandling entire brothels full of boobs-out giggling sex objects with instant sex drives and could be infinitely pleased in about 5 seconds, and yet, there is was.

If films and books can get away with 'girly' genres, I don't see why games can't. But that's just my opinion on the matter, I think gaming is much more widely acceptable in the J world, and any attempt to bring such a niche genre to the west is doomed to failure.

so....Portal 2?

o_O

I think most people in western audiances (although I have no statistics, I'm just going by what most people tell me) are tired of female characters who only seem to succeed by striving for someone else's affection or approval.

Haha! Girls are perverts too!

So?

It is a unexplored niche here in the west. It deserves more attention to add variety to the current video game themes (FPS, FPS, FPS, FPS).

viranimus:

However, and color this sexist if you will I have yet to find a girl who would even consider playing a video game who didnt adore fat princess. Its something about getting the chance to make another girl fat that girls seem to really really enjoy.

I can find you dozens of girl gamers who were horrified and upset by Fat Princess; the girls you personally hang out with are different, that's all. :)

(news flash - we are all individuals!)

Seems fair to me. After all, let not pretend that games like Soul Caliber, of Call of Duty are not aimed at males. Sad truth of the world.

As a woman and a long-time gamer, I have to say: let us NOT confuse dating syms with videogames.

Dating syms are kinda like interactive novels with pictures and audio. It's like reading a multiple choice book, and it's not like playing a videogame.

In my college days, I used to play dating syms, because I have graduated in japanese language, and dating syms were PERFECT as an exercise (it has audio with subtitles, and multiple choice questions that force you to prove you've been translating it all correctly). So I know how dating syms are, and talking about them has nothing to do with talking about videogames for girls.

Sure, girls like dating syms. But it has nothing to do with a VIDEOGAME a girl would want to play.

Malues:
Seems fair to me. After all, let not pretend that games like Soul Caliber, of Call of Duty are not aimed at males. Sad truth of the world.

Actually, SoulCalibur does it right. SoulCalibur is equally aimed at a male and female audience, and it is a real videogame (not a dating sym).

SoulCalibur has ridiculously hyper-sexualized, Bayonetta-like female characters.

But SoulCalibur also has ridiculously hyper-sexualized, Bayonetta-like (?) MALE characters.

Fair's fair.

OMG WANT WANT WANT!

Persona 3 Portable was a wonderful, unique experience. At least, it was unique to me. Now I find out there's a whole genre of female main character surrounded by a cadre of beautiful men games in Japan? I always assumed that was a male-only thing.

American Game Publishers, if you're listening, please bring more of these out in the US! Please?

Or, to put it another way.

Shut Up and TAKE MY MONEY!!!

there's lack of realistic human interaction in every genre. We cannot avoid personality simulation just because it's supposed to be genre stereotype. We can argue that RPGs provide more options fo practically everything, I am yet to hear of game that has interesting characters(or at least more than nothing). Games need to get closer to TV series, it is seriously annoying and depressing that every human I get to meet either dies in seconds or is absolutely useless to anything. The absolute worst possible thing of all possible things is to try and make character through a text bio.

I actually don't know if I've ever played an Otome game, or however it is spelled. I have, however, played Dating Sims (and usually go for every ending, even the same-sex ones) out of general curiosity cause I'm a hopeless romantic and I like seeing happy endings.

I suppose I might be interested in playing such games from the other end of the spectrum. However, I seriously don't find most guys "attractive" in that sense of the word. Of course, the one "girl" in May Club that turned out to be a guy.. that was definitely interesting. I was actually a bit sad they didn't have any H-scenes after you found out. He, Bridget, and some other characters I've seen in various stuff have made me actually stop and ask myself if I'm secretly interested in traps.

In fact, I think a good example of a proper dating sim aimed at girls SHOULD have at least one guy who turns out.. isn't actually a guy. But by then you'd be genuinely interested in them and would want to know how their story turns out. I know I would be.

As some have said.. I am a bit on the fence about some of these games though. I do feel that women/girls/ladies really need some games that pander towards them (without falling into horrible cliches, but not excluding them, either). Really, if we're gonna go that route of making mirror'd concepts, then we should allow them to at least have the chance to make the same mistakes or successes that games with a predominately male audience have made. To that end, I'd almost say "yes" to making a gender-switched RapeLay where you play as a vile woman who goes around cruelly doing stuff to innocent men. I'd be just as mortified and repulsed as I was about RL, but if we're going for "full" equality and so forth, it's gonna have to happen at some point.

On the other hand, the example I just gave is exceedingly unlikely for a lot of reasons. Particularly cause I think male gamers would find them just as appealing (perhaps downright fanservice-y) as normal male-audience games.

Seriously, there'd be a lot of guys out there more than willing to play a female Gears of War, where you play as a bunch of unbelievably "female" characters with large breasts, perfect bodies, and all that other crap which makes me just wanna puke.

...actually, that brings up a point, since my brain is just going out on a limb and coming up with this stuff on the fly...

If there are female gamers who genuinely want to see swapped roles, does that mean more and more games with a predominately female cast but one odd guy tossed in for eye-candy, who has an almost tumor-esque-ly large bulge in his pants? Yes, that's sick, and just as fucked up as thinking that all guys wanna see women with massive breasts and armour no better than a g-string and stars over the nipples. I'm sorry, but I'm really tired of seeing that kinda crap showing up in video games.. although I admit I'm probably exaggerating, my apologies. It's just that when I play a game, such as an RPG, and the token female characters are these impressively well-endowed "goddesses" who put the NPCs to shame. Or worse, when ALL the females, NPCs and all, look that way. Even that Lufia remake on the DS seemed to fall prey to such a thing.

I dunno.. it's just.. I am sure men will disagree with me.. I'm sure a lot of BOTH genders will disagree with me.. but I would really like to see LESS fanservice in games. I can't take a character seriously if her body looks like it has severe balance issues, or she's wearing a napkin as her clothes. Likewise, I feel exasperated everytime the defacto hero has to be rippling muscles and a loincloth. If there was some balance to ruggedly handsome, plain-jane, and whipsy-warrior I probably wouldn't feel so put off, or that the developers were trying to compensate for something.

Well, that and I dislike the notion that I won't play a game if it doesn't contain fanservice of some sort.

tl;dr: if there is going to be a conscious effort to aim games at women, are they gonna pull out all the moves that they did making games aimed at men?

I realize I commit the sin of Thread necromancy; may the mods have mercy on my soul.

Hiroshi Mishima:
I dunno.. it's just.. I am sure men will disagree with me.. I'm sure a lot of BOTH genders will disagree with me.. but I would really like to see LESS fanservice in games.

Agreed. I find the blatantly sexual stuff everywhere annoying at best. As a straight male I'm actively insulted that some of the overly sexualized marketing material is meant to target me. I find it insulting that the folks who write funa and engaging gameplay feel that I'm only going to buy a game if the female characters are tarted up like glamour models. While I'm occasionally partial to a little T&A or suggestiveness (Quistis can whip me any day!), I'd be far more likely to be attracted to a character like Alyx Vance due to the fact that she's an interesting person as well as a traditionally sexually attractive one.

Marketing towards different genders still has its place, as this discussion about girl-get and guy-get games has demonstrated. But is the difference really that drastic? Should what makes a character attractive in one of these games merely physical appearance? What I'm more interested in is less how how character X is, but more how their personal history relates to the plot. While I have enjoyed playing through Visual novels like Tsukihime, I'm more focused on the orld as presented over the which-heroine-do-I-bang component. When the heroines factor in, I'm more interested in their personal history, and how it relates to the character's own backstory.

For either a male-targeted or female-targeted game, is it just sex appeal of the character design that draw the player in? Any fan artist worth two beans could make a sexy pixel sprite one could get off on. Why just play the game for carnal purposes when you could just search of
smutty fanart on gelbooru?

I'd argue it's because the characters are portrayed in as interesting and engaging people whose stories are compelling. The reason I play a game like this is for the story, for the reason of looking at the lives of fictional individuals and seeing how they're shaped by their pasts. It's the same reason for reading more traditional books, only with trappings like art and music and the like. The notion of "playing a girl's game" which seemed to be the topic of discussion earlier seems to be largely irrelevant - why should the content of the game matter, so long as it presents itself in an interesting way?

Overall (TL;DR for you lazy types), a game using the visual novel format should be judged by its capacity to work as a story with the personalities of the characters being the main draw. Why should the gender of hero/heroine matter in terms of making the story effective?
tl;dr: if there is going to be a conscious effort to aim games at women, are they gonna pull out all the moves that they did making games aimed at men?

Love Otome games, love them.

Fictional males are much more sexier than real ones. Anyone has played Vampire Sweetie yet or recommendations of really good Otomes?

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