To: The Game Industry
From: Gen Katz, Editor
Topic: Consoles for girls? Naaah
Date: January 2001

Let's start with what girls like - interesting characters - absorbing story line, good graphics. Girls don't want to die and start over, and the game can't be boring (read unidimensional). They do like music and dance, and there is some music and dance on the console games, but the console drives the design.

Pa Rappa The Rapper, a PlayStation title, is touted as a creative musical game. Pa Rappa with his catchy jump - kick - dodge - punch rap is only a clever cover for hitting the circle, triangle, square, or L2 button on the console controller. You don't direct the dance, the tempo, or the tune - you just focus on hitting the right button - monkeys have been trained to do this. It is essentially a shooting game where you score by hitting the music beats as they appear. This game, like any other shooter, requires you to keep your eyes focused on the screen while you quickly manipulate one of four buttons. This is the kind of activity girls consider boring.

Computers have better graphics than the console machines, and the mouse gives easy directional manipulation plus two control buttons. The console controllers give approximately 16 control buttons, but what are they used for? Just to move forward, side and back, jump, kick punch sneak, shoot etc! These are not the kind of functions required by the games and activities that girl like to play.

Game Boy titles for girls? Ha! The idea here is that boys will let their female siblings play on their (the boy's) Game Boys. Ha! Ha! - My reviewers, who are girls, are having a hard time getting the controls away from their male siblings. Remember it is the girls who share - the boys own. And maybe they feel that once a girl game has touched them - they are contaminated. Realize that while mothers may buy Game Boys for their sons - they will not for their daughters. Mothers approve of girls playing games because they think that it is an introduction to computers. Console games are an introduction to TV. And, console games are obviously not educational. Boys may play games for entertainment, but games for girls are expected to have some educational component (so as not to waste time).

Inroads? Yes there will be some families where girls are exposed to console games and will learn to appreciate them. Additionally, you can teach girls to fight if you make the protagonists cute, give them big eyes and let them speak baby talk.