Name: Richard Elliott
Location: Midlands
Posts: 1073
Over the years, I've played the occasional game with a female. And without resorting to cheap innuendo, some of those games have involved electricity.

And to be fair, since i've discovered that girls do indeed play online games, I have tested my mettle against the fairer sex. And in all fairness, unless "Melanie" was a sexually confused teenage male, and "StarryShillane" was actually some hairy man-beast, I have been beaten by women ... online ... badly.

The world of First Person Shooters are dominated by males. It's a fact. It's not a well established reason why males dominate the scene, but I do think it's worth looking into. The problem is this; I write for a site dominated by hormones. ESR pulses with the sexual energy of a 200-foot tall repressed geek. And between it's legs twitches a scrawny, underdeveloped male appendage.

Girls are generally not known to frequent ESR. There are notable exceptions (i.e. those who's online tag reflects a female identity), but I don't think anyone is under the illusion that ESR is occupied by a thousand women pretending to be males. And ESR reflects the needle point of FPS gaming. Amongst other things, it reliably reports upon the events in the FPS gamer's world.

Perhaps the most notable news-item in recent weeks, mostly by its uniqueness was MsQuakecon 2004. An event which brought together female gamers and tested their skills against one another. MsQuakecon 2004 was a very popular news item (211 comments ... well over the site average). It's not surprising. What confuses me is whether males click on this news item to check out the chicks (which i did), or to download demos, read interviews about games, and basically research their own game by looking into the ability of the best females on the circuit.

I'm not living in a fantasy world made of chocolate lamposts and popcorn driveways, I suspect that the majority of ESR's readership clicked that news item to check out the ladies. An unfortunate fact about most males is this; we are terribly, terribly predictable.

Getting back to the point. Which is two-pronged. Prong number one:

* Why don't women play games as much as men?

and prong number two:

* Are men genetically better than women at games?

To look into why women don't play games as much as men, I dug into my memory banks, and I looked around on the net, until I discovered an interesting column by Monica Hafer, posted on Gamesfirst.com. I was glad to read her opinions, because my memory banks produced very little material which related to female gamers, and I have had a few female partners, and I have a sister and a mother (careful useage of the grammar "had" and "have"). My working life has been balanced more towards females, as for many years, I was in nursing. Not much to report from all those years of experience and various relations would make me think women liked computer games.

Hafer offers explanations, some of which i've read before;

"The first idea to come to the fore was the possibility that women tend to have less discretionary time that they feel they can devote to games. Why? Perhaps because having time to play may not be seen as important for women as it is for men (clothes to wash, lunches to fix, time to game…whoa…who said anything about that?). Or perhaps women don’t see gaming as an option for relaxation because it is not marketed to them as an option (relaxation for women is a bubble-bath, a juicy Harlequin, shopping, or extra housework, right?). I also tend to think that the idea of quality, intuitive interface is also an issue because women need to be able to pick up a game and have initial, successful feedback so they feel they aren’t wasting their time, and so they aren’t frustrated with their abilities (which, in turn, would lower their gaming esteem and self-concept); maybe they haven’t yet had time to hone their videogame reflexes. Men may not realize that seeing oneself as a "gamer" is something that women have to work at . . . it is not an inherent idea (nay, right!) that we are given by the gaming industry"

Now, I'm getting to the crux of the issue.

Are women able to compete on a level playing field against men? Reading the above, it would suggest that indeed, women will be able to kick ass in the future, and in fact there will be no differentiation between males and females, once the bizarre taboo of "gamer" has been quashed.

I am curious as to the scientific research. Please feed back with regards to any differential between men and women's reflexes. Personally (from experience), i'd say women's reflexes are better, and co-ordination is not as good. Most likely social conditioning; because my opinions were generally formed on a playing field at the age of 12 .... 19 years ago.

Please, answers on a postcard, or below....