The stereotypical video game player is a young male under age 18, but study after study has shown that majority of the game-playing population does not fall into that demographic. Only 18% of gamers are under age 18, and women over 18 represent a significantly greater proportion of this population (37%) than do boys age 17 or younger (13%).
With the explosive growth in social gaming, particularly on Facebook, more games are being targeted at women. Games like Farmville and Pet Society, while not explicitly aimed at women, have been embraced by an older and female gaming population.
But what about girls? As we have written about often here at MindShift, video games are increasingly considered an important tool for learning. And even though plenty of women do play video games, there is still a sense — particularly among girls — that games are a “boy thing.”
That girl-gamer audience is the focus of the Vancouver, B.C.-based gaming studio Silicon Sisters. The first female-owned and run video game studio in Canada, Silicon Sisters is committed to building games for women and girls by women and girls. Founded by former Radical Entertainment executive producer Kristen Forbes and former Deep Fried Entertainment COO Brenda Bailey Gershkovitch, the studio released their very first game, School 26, to critical acclaim back in April. (We featured the game in our April round-up of the best new educational apps of the month.) The studio plans to release their next School 26 game — “Summer of Secrets” — next month.
The School 26 games are geared towards tweens and teens, and the storyline is built around the very complicated social hierarchy of high school. You play the game as a young girl who’s a newcomer to a school. She comes from a nomadic family, which has made it difficult for her to maintain long-term friendships. As she enrolls in this, her 26th school, she strikes a bargain with her parents: If she can make friends, they’ll stay put. Continue reading