We’re trying to make gaming more welcoming to girls but there’s just too many trolls in here

Women gamers tend to be more intelligent than the average male gamer. I’ll caveat that this is based purely on my own anecdotal experience but I wanted an attention grabbing first line to appear in the preview panel ;-). We know intelligent people tend to be less susceptible to advertising so irrespective of our own opinions otherwise it’s easy to see why the marketing money is spent pitching at young men.

New Troll and Old Troll (Front)

New Troll and Old Troll (Front) (Photo credit: Dunechaser)

We shouldn’t blame the industry as a whole. The hard working creators of games do not create their products trying to keep women out, they make them for anyone who would enjoy them so why a small subset of gamers in immature male trolls feel games are their exclusive domain baffles me.

The success of a marketing campaign can only really be measured in sales numbers and the low-hanging-fruit in this case are young men who can be convinced to pre-order any game of sequel number four or higher. But this male-oriented marketing only serves to reinforce the idea that hardcore gaming is a male only affair.

Mature gamers male and female alike are working to dispel this myth of male entitlement in favour of equality but it’s hard to do in-game without feeding the trolls. There are people who believe the world is flat and there is nothing we can say to convince them otherwise. Likewise with immature gamers how can we reason with people who won’t listen, who instead respond with a barrage of insults they would never say to someone’s face.

There needs to be real-world implications. The British Police have already started prosecuting for grossly offensive tweets, maybe this should be applied to in-game chatter as well. Even permabans are having little effect.

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Do Kids still lend games?

Starting this post in typical Yorkshire fashion: When I was a lad I remember taking my copy of EA’s NHLPA 93 (which incidentally I bought for £5 un-boxed 2nd hand off the market) to a fellow hockey-loving friend’s house, plugging it into his Mega-drive and it JustWorkedTM.

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(on a side note, Go Sharks! Whoop!)

I’d even lend it to him for a few weeks at a time so he could practice and we could have competitive two player matches. I’m sure we weren’t the only ones who did this, we all must have got sick of the “you always win ‘cause you own the game” arguments.

I’m wondering if this is still the case. Single/split-screen multi-player games have been becoming a rarity with the trend now being I buy my copy, you buy your copy, and we all sit at home on our own playing over interweb. I’m showing my age here but multi-player gaming always used to be a social thing where you’d get together with your friends, chat, and have a few drinks (beer now, budget supermarket cola then).

I’m a big fan of Xbox Live’s Games on Demand. You can’t sell them. You can’t lend them. But importantly you don’t have to get up off your arse to change the game. If I’m too lazy to walk across my living room I’m far far too lazy to walk down to a shop and sell them.

The move towards post-physical non-transferable game licences’ suits people like me with disposable incomes fine but it’s the younger-me who had more time and liked to share with friends that loose out.

Graphics are there. But load times Must improve

Bethesda developed the Creation Engine for Sky...

Bethesda developed the Creation Engine for Skyrim. It allows for dynamic snowfall, and the integration of dragons in gameplay. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Skyrim. Fantastic game, graphics are immense, seems like hundreds of NPCs wondering around, many with their own face and loads with voiced conversations. The game is so immersive that I forget the seemingly epic load times.  Until I realise I forgot to put my collected ‘ingots’ in my storage chest and have to go back into my house [load screen] drop them off and come back out [load screen]. And of course fast-travel halfway across the map [load screen] to my next [load screen riddled] quest.

Skyrim is worth the wait but few games are. With the next generation of consoles and higher specs around the corner we should see load times drop again but with this comes another push towards photo-realism with higher resolution textures and more detailed models. [load screen].

As a veteran of the Sinclair Spectrum ZX, I’ll confess load times have been worse. We don’t have time to have our dinner during these waits and don’t have to listen to those awful screeches anymore and yes insta load cartridges of the 8 and 16-bit era are perhaps prohibitively expensive at modern scale but we must have a middle ground.

There is hope. The number of person-hours to make these higher resolution higher poly and higher quantity of models is ever increasing but the £40 ($60) we’re willing to pay for them is not. Can we not stop there with graphic and use the specs for faster load times?

Devs will find that depressing but I just don’t want to see another [load screen].