“So far no one has noticed that I’m actually a woman.” is the start of a shared game on my platform. It’s a trend that doesn’t surprises me anymore. As far as I can tell, there are more girls creating games on my platform than boys, and I don’t really know why.
But seriously, why?
I didn’t expect this trend when I started developing RPG Playground. And I can only guess why. Well, I have a few hypotheses, but I’m not sure which one would be correct, if any. (DISCLAIMER: I hope the following section doesn’t come across as too stereotypical for either gender. I’m a technical programming guy, and we can sometimes be insensitive bastards ;))
- Maybe because my tool was lacking combat for a very long time, and so more action-oriented boys discarded it? All creators on my platform seem really interested into storytelling, and so maybe this is a niche more geared towards women?
- Maybe because I offer a way to make games without any technical knowledge. Guys always seem interested in technical things, so maybe programming is not what interests most girls, but creating games is?
- Maybe it’s the tiny, inclusive community? Which is kind of a chicken-egg thing, because my community is mostly made up of women. Everyone is very helpful and friendly (and I couldn’t wish for anything better! :)). Just check out our Discord and see for yourself.
- Maybe other game development tools see this too, and I just made the wrong assumption that my users would be mostly made up by boys?
- Maybe our game development industry is dominated by men, but women turn more towards making them as a hobby?
Or maybe it just doesn’t matter what the reason is, and I just need to keep RPG Playground inclusive to everyone.
A male dominated world
The game development industry is dominated by men. And I’m not the first one to recognize that most games therefore were also targeted towards boys. But of course, boys are not the only ones playing games.
I like to ask my users why they are using RPG Playground. One response I got was “I grew up playing RPGs and while I loved them, they didn’t always reflect my experiences (Being a minority woman.) and I wanted a chance to reflect that and create my own story.“
This is also something that I currently see happening by just looking at the main hero. Girls prefer the main character to be a girl. Not always, but mostly. Take a look at some of the games, and you will notice that there are more female hero’s than male. It goes against the general trend in the games industry.
Cozy levels with high attention to detail
It does have a few nice benefits, which I think you don’t get when you have an ‘all-boys’ thing.
One of my users is Aura, and she makes incredibly beautiful levels. After I showed some of those levels to my wife, she sometimes inquires if Aura made any new levels. And no, my wife doesn’t play any games.
Not to bash any genders here, but such cosy levels with flowers growing on houses etc., where every detail is carefully placed. It’s hard to imagine a guy making those (I certainly can’t).
Friendly, inclusive community
One thing to notice is that we try to keep a gender neutral stance, where nobody needs to reveal their own gender or needs to know that of someone else. It was not really my idea, but I could feel this was important for many of them. So moving forward, this promotes having diverse community members and be welcoming to everyone. I hope I don’t put too many of our members in the spotlight with this very blog post.
Women making RPG’s is nothing new. Years ago I was exchanging emails with Amanda Fitch of Amaranth Games. She’s been successfully making commercial Role Playing Games since 2007. So it’s definitely not abnormal that women make games, and very successful ones! She can be a role model for many.
Everyone should be able to make games
In the end, I hope that my tool remains open to anyone. If we want to have more diverse games, we need to make sure everyone is able to make games. While my project started out as a simple thing, the more I talk to my users, the more I get the feeling that I’m on a mission.
So if you’re interested, create your first game right here.