Women Are From Venus, Men Like Video Games

from the boys-and-girls dept

The video game gender debate has been going on for years now, fueled mainly by complaints that the video game industry continues to make games that primarily appeal to males. Perhaps it’s not the fault of the video game industry, but a result of a psychological tendency. A new study reports that men’s brains are more responsive to video games than women’s. According to MRI scans, the zones of the brain associated with reward and addiction are much more active in men’s brains when they played a simple video game. Last year, there was an effort to get the American Medical Association to classify video game addiction as an official disorder — perhaps these folks now have some more empirical evidence to support that claim.

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Comments on “Women Are From Venus, Men Like Video Games”

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Celes says:

Re: Remember kids

Hear, hear! Actually, I’m not sure I’d *want* to play a video game that was aimed at females because the industry has historically been really bad at targeting adult females. All the “girl-oriented” games come out resembling Barbie Fashion Designer 3 or Hello Kitty Balloon Popper or some crap.

If anyone knows of a female-targeted game that doesn’t fit this stereotype, I’m all ears – I’d love to try it out.

tonyjones17 (user link) says:

Re: Re: Remember kids

I don’t know about female-targeted games, but I have found that games like Katamari Damacy, LocoRoco, etc all appeal more to girls than most other types of games. Not because they’re intentionally cute in order to lure girls in, but because they are inherently cute and quirky by basic design.

My own two cents say that most guys like video games BECAUSE they’re guys. We’re compelled to compete, collect, and destroy by our basic biological urges. Of course this isn’t the case for everyone, but it’s definitely true for the majority of male gamers, playing Halo, Call of Duty, Gears of War, Devil May Cry, etc.

Petréa Mitchell says:

On the other hand...

…video games have also been shown to induce changes in the brain previously attributed to biological gender differences. So this latest result may simply be because the male volunteers had already played more video games.

Or, of course, it might not. But this is why there’s so much argument over whether gender differences are innate or cultural– all we keep learning is that it’s more complicated than it looks.

Elizabeth says:

Re: Its here

It’s true, I do love Viva Pinata, but I’m also a girl who loves Guitar Hero, Rock Band, Portal, PGR3, Wii Sports… Certainly none of those are girl-oriented, but they also don’t involve blowing things up. I like competing, but I’m not personally into FPSs. Maybe it’s not that girls aren’t into video games, but that girls aren’t into the video games that the male-dominated video game industry THINKS we want to play….

xtrasico (profile) says:


I am with you. I used to play Barbie Super Model for Super NES with my oldest daughter was a little girl. I know that game was really bad I used to play it. I only enjoyed the time with my kids and not actually the game. If you find a nice girl game I will try it too.

I am more into COD4, Crysis, Splinter Cell, Oblivion and that kind of “violent” games and I am a responsible father, husband and fraud investigator. I have played with violent games since Combat from Atari 2600 and there is nothing wrong with me.

Gemstone says:


I’m tired of the whole gender debate on this. Just look at the amount of websites devoted to gaming women, clans, and women on forum gaming discussion groups. Surprise! We do play, we love it and (horrors) we even get addicted. To say that women prefer “puzzle” type games or games where there is rampant socializing, does nothing but undermine women and perpetuate the stereotype. If developers stopped putting in bimbo-esqe, gigglie, bouncy-boobed women in games, then maybe more women would come out from the shadows and play.

Cooze says:

girls are girls

Why do we need to make “girl games”. I never remember buying a game that had a tag on it reading: made for guys. Video games are made by men and woman, thus unisex games? the thought that a girl wouldnt be interested in games is just old fashioned. My little sister is 12 and she grew up with all my games. for example: zelda, halo, harvest moon, the sims, age of mythology, and countless other titles. she plays video games that she likes, not games that are “for girls”. Oh, Gemstone, the puzzle game thing is only because suduko is considerd a game. mothers and such “play” suduko or other little games on their computers which i think brings in that puzzle game=girl idea.

Julianna says:

Men are men and women are women???

One can’t deny that there are gender differences. Men like to blow things up. Now, I’m a girl and I liked playing Grand Theft Auto. I didn’t like the aggression that it brought out in me, and I was troubled by my giddiness at beating people up. I’d never get past the first screens because I was having so much fun beating up all the drunks and winos that were out on the street.

Wolferz (profile) says:

Men vs Women

Men and Women think different. I’m not saying that one is better than the other but it is true that Women and Men as a general rule perceive the world differently. Also I’d like to say that I know these are generalizations but, as the term implies, these things are generally true. I acknowledge that there are exceptions… some times a lot of them.

Eroticism is one place where the difference between men and women is very acutely apparent. As a male I can’t help but see the romance novels on the shelf at the books store as completely over the top and completely ridiculous, a sentiment most men share. Meanwhile women think the exact same thing about porn. I tend to think both might be right.

Men are looking outward. This is why they faun over flashy cars, big TVs, and video games. Women on the other hand spend their time looking inward. They tend to pursue relationships (of all kinds), artistic expression (not just classical art but also things as “mundane” as home decor), and looking good (clothing, makeup, etc) much the way most men pursue their dream car.

Games could be made that are much more in line with what the majority of women want but the established (mostly male) gamer market would be uninterested in much of the resulting games. I’m sure there is a middle ground in gaming. This is true of everything I have pointed out as a difference so far. However, I will never give up my blood and gore shoot first ask questions later testosterone junkie FPSs where I play a muscle bound super soldier wading through the minions of hell and most women will never find that sort of thing interesting.

Many, though thankfully not all, of the women I know view video games as a childish waste of time. How do you target a demographic that has largely written off the content you are trying to sell to them as “a childish waste of time?” This is why attention to female gamers is so rare. It’s because female gamers are so rare. The bottom line for the resulting games just isn’t good enough to warrant the development costs. Hopefully consoles like the Wii and DS are changing that.

Mitch the Bitch says:

Men and Women are completely different creatures. Trying to make some nonsensical unification theory is absurd and WE ALL KNOW IT deep down inside. Society has decided to try and blur this sharp line that nature has created and eventually it will come back and bite us all right in the ass. That day is coming more quickly by the minute. Video games are a perfect example of this divide yet here we are TRYING to force the differences down each others throats despite the intimate knowledge of the true natural differences.

Rose M. Welch says:


…I started out with Mario Brothers on the regular plain-old Nintendo, which I still have and still functions. I moved on to the Super-Nintendo, and then to the Sega gaming system, followed by the PlayStation. I loved Neverwinter Nights and WoW and Evercrack and Sonic the damn Hedgehog. I spent hours with Castlevania and Final Fantasy and… Oh, hell, let’s admit it. Guys don’t like those games because thier guy-oriented, they like them because they’re FUN.

And I’m perfectly normal. I’m married to a fellow gamer, we have three kids, own a home, and neither of us are fat or socially awkward. So let’s quit trying to stereotype people, esp. concerning the brain, which no one really understands anyway.

SP says:

The Sims

Excuse me… but who the hell says games like The Sims are only for women or even “targeted” to Women. That’s a bunch of BS. I’m a guy and am currently playing the Sims 2 on my PSP. I’m almost 29 years old, married and a father. I am certainly not “gay” but find strategy games like The Sims, Worms, and others to be fun, challenging, and at times humorous. Like the Sims 2. The “story” of that game is so far out there and rediculous which gives me a laugh, but it’s still interesting enough to keep me wanting to get further in the game.

The stereotype that men only like “mindless” FPS games where they don’t have to think really pisses ME off. It makes us men look like a bunch of fat lazy bastards who have no attention spans or intelligence. I personally find most “shooter” games to be a boring waste of time! Sure maybe it’s fun for the first 2 mintues but then it just gets OLD real fast. Games like the Grand Theft Auto series ARE fun, but I don’t believe those are targeted towards men. I know a lot of females who enjoys those types of games. But the games where all you’re doing is shooting the shit out of people are just LAME and they insult my intelligence. I can’t believe some of you guys are actually admitting to these stereotypes. Do you not realize it makes us all look like a bunch of lazy dumbasses? Don’t get me wrong. There is NOTHING wrong with video games. I’m an avid gamer but I do think there is something wrong with the guy who says “I only play shooter games. That’s the only type of REAL video game,” or “you’re not a MAN unless you play FPSes!” No, screw that.

Coaster says:

Every female I have played Viva Pinata with likes it not because it is cute (except those under 8) but because when you want to chase a bad critter out of your garden, you whack it with a shovel until it explodes and all it’s candy flies out. Then your tame garden critters come and eat the candy. Cannibalistic in some ways, hilarious all the way through though.

Many of the people I work with are on WoW and Halo3 together, and about 45% of those playing in this group alone are female.

The traditionally female oriented games are either glaringly gender stereotypical (anything Barbie) or boring as hell after the first few minutes. (Nancy Drew)

There are days where you want to beat the crap out of some NPC and there are days where you want to make progress and level, and there are days when you just want to play sudoku to ensure that you sleep well.

I think the problem lies in people trying to pidgeonhole the female population as a whole into one specific type of gamer. It just ain’t gonna work.

Sandoz says:

Viva no difference

I’ve noticed that the only people who insist there are are some huge, inherent differences are either 1) old people or 2) people with terribly unsatisfying sex lives. I’ve gamed all my life, I’m a female,I’m amazing at fighting games, I’m a professional game designer, and “romance” novels make my skin crawl. There are a lot of women out there like me. If you have not met them it is because you are either old or uneducated.

CC says:

This is ridiculous

Personally I dont get this entire thing! I mean its stupid women constantly complain and nag about men wanting sex all the time! THEN when we play a friggin video game they complain and nag about that too! I mean WTF, this is quite possibly the stupidest thing men and women fight over. My advice to the women is SHUT UP STOP COMPLAINING ITS JUST A PAST TIME ITS NOT YOUR PERSONAL ARCH NEMISIS! This is why marriages fail now a days be happy your man is stuck in that video game and not in another woman!

Tiffanie says:


I have noticed that a lot of the games to come out are not only suited better for guys ,but also have no story line, or atleast not much of one anyway. They are mostly games in which you level up by killing things and have no plot progression.I know this is why i dont play video games.If i am going to spend time trying to achieve somehting i want more than a little blip in the corner of the screen telling me i leveled up i want a whole damn cut scene.

Lane (user link) says:


Wellll, I’m a girl, and I’m strait. I like GTA, Pokemon, Sims fashion something, sims, rythm heaven, stuff random…this dude keeps tellin me boys are better at video games than girls are, but why? I kick @ss on any video game I touch, I just play and start winning. I just want there to be a GTA for girls, and some more girl versions of stuff, like maybe a game where yer a girl and you get to fight and kill people and get girl stuff, not all the boyish crapp. I don’t really care, but I don’t think it matters what gender you are to play a game, it just matters if you like it or don’t. Really though, I am an addict, my parents get me any video game I want, so I have many M for mature games and all…my mom actually tells me it’s stupid if I pick out a game that is all weird and kidish. But then again I am 12 and we be singin songs most parents don’t like, such as bed rock which has like evrey rapper out there singin in it..my 5 yr old sis plays and listens to these things and loves them as much as we do.

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