Tag: Romance »
Only last month, George Lucas spoke at a games industry event, saying that he thinks the "big game of the next five years will be a game...aimed at women and girls." For an industry still primarily focused on appealing to men, that could be quite a shift for the future. While I don't have a crystal ball to see what's to come, I reckon one source of such a game is Silicon Sisters. It's the first female-owned and run video game studio in Canada, and it's already achieved some success with high school-focused School 26 and School 26: Summer of Secrets.
Brenda Bailey Gershkovitch, CEO of Silicon Sisters, was kind enough to find time in her busy schedule to discuss women gamers, empathy in games, and reveal some information on the firm's latest title, Everlore.
148apps: Empathy is a primary issue that both George Lucas and Steven Spielberg feel games need to overcome in order to progress as a medium, do you agree?
Brenda Bailey Gershkovitch (BBG): I guess that depends on how you perceive progress. If amazing graphics and incredible physics are your criteria, then we are very advanced as a medium. But if, like the filmmakers mentioned, you view the ability of the storyteller to connect with their audience in a more emotional and meaningful way, then I think empathy is an important tool. And there are some games that have done that incredibly well. Playing The Walking Dead can rip your heart out. But as an industry, we have lots of room to play this out more fully in our storytelling. We also have a fairly limited repertoire of voices through which we tell stories, and that can expand and be part of the growth of our medium as well. The market is expanding and needs to expand further, and expanded voice and perspective are part of that change.
148apps: Do you think women gamers solely need empathy and romance, or is something else needed in order to encourage the female market further?
BBG: I think that women gamers are a huge and growing segment and that no one or two things can possibly define what they would like to enjoy in this medium. I think it’s parallel to other forms of entertainment like film or books. Would we think that because rom-coms exist, that means women won’t have interest in sci-fi or thrillers or animated films or historical films or documentaries? Silicon Sisters is building romance games not to limit the market, but to expand the range of choices in the market, which we feel is somewhat limited currently.
148apps: What games do you feel encapsulate empathy and romance the best at the moment?
BBG: I think Bioware is nailing a lot of this right now. So are some of the smaller more innovate indie games. I am playing a little game out of Vancouver Film School called Allie and the storytelling is terrific. As I mentioned above, the empathy and moral dilemmas in The Walking Dead or The Last of Us are really compelling. Silicon Sisters Interactive’s first title, School 26, is a game based on empathy and we’ve had more than 700,00 downloads in 30 countries. Girls ages 12-16 love that game, and empathy is the primary mechanic.
148apps: A recent study has found nearly half the female population already game, a marked improvement on past years. Is a game specifically designed for women really needed at this point? Does that gender divide need to be created?
BBG: This question always seems a bit weird to me. Why are we uncomfortable with games made for women or girls? (More so than with books written for women or movies targeted at women?) Why does this make us so uncomfortable? We segment markets all the time – it doesn’t mean anything beyond the idea that a market can be well served if a product is designed for them specifically, and built with them in mind. What gets my Irish up is when games are very haphazardly and disrespectfully built for women and girls – the “pink it and shrink it” model. These games are usually not designed from the ground up with that market in mind. Often, in the old days of manufactured product, these games had smaller budgets, lesser teams and were ‘guy games’ quickly re-wrapped for girls. These games often tried to reach the female audience through cheap tactics like lots of pink and throwing in a cute animal or two. That’s not game design. But games that really look for mechanics that connect with women and girls or that are designed from the very beginning with them in mind are a good thing, I think. Of course, there will always be games that appeal to both sexes and that’s great, but having segmented games isn’t a problem. It’s respectful of the audience you are trying to serve.
Here's an app ideal for the romantics amongst us. Weesh is all about generating romantic relationship timelines from the user and their partner's Facebook profiles. Essentially, it's a lovely way of keeping track of the history between a couple.
Right from the outset, the app collates information from each person's Facebook account, thus creating a timeline of the memories. Weesh then offers a shared photo album for the couple so they can upload moments they've had together, as well as a mapping feature to keep track of where they've visited together.
Weesh helps plan for the future, also, with the introduction of the Weesh board, allowing couples to add things they'd like to do, as well as a section that reminds them of special events such as birthdays or anniversaries.
Ultimately though, Weesh is a sweet way of bringing together a variety of memories. Couples are bound to enjoy this free experience.
Real boyfriends are nice and everything but they do have their limitations. For example, they can't fit in a pocket for easy access to hugs, winks and kisses wherever one may be. That's where Mini Boyfriend, the latest installment in Digicub's "mini" series comes in.
Much like previous entries Mini Gay Girlfriend and Mini Gay Boyfriend, Mini Boyfriend gives players a virtual companion to flirt with as they please. The game consists of nine minigames which simulate dating scenarios like talking at a coffee place, going to the movies and even giving bubble baths or breakfast in bed.
Strangely enough, Mini Boyfriend comes courtesy of former Electronic Arts designer Michael Othen whose previous credits include Battlefield 3. Othen wants to reach a new audience and one would imagine that the military shooter audience and the dating sim audience are indeed quite different.
Mini Boyfriend is available now on the App Store for free. Who doesn't want a guy to call their own?
Having been in a long distance relationship, I know how tough it is to maintain regular contact and intimacy with a significant other. It's apps like Cupple that could go some way to ensuring that couples always feel close to each other.
Cupple is a private social networking app aimed specifically at two people in a relationship. It allows users to share various details just between the two of them such as galleries of photos, private messages and even locations so that each person knows where the other person is. In each case, images or notes can be added for the personal touch.
The key thing is that it encourages intimacy. It's the kind of app that's particularly ideal for the couple who have to frequently travel for work but still want to keep in regular contact, even if it's simply to say they saw something and thought of the other person.
Cupple is a free to download app and is available now.
Long distance relationships are tough. Heck I've been there. It's horrible being away from loved ones for any length of time. An app like JustUs could take the edge off things however.
It's an app that allows users to receive reminders whenever their loved one thinks about them during the day. Fortunately it's not done through reading brain activity or anything like that, it's all down to the couple having their own copy of the JustUs app.
Set up is pretty easy with users having a private code to share between each other. Once they meet up, a bump of iOS devices together and the app imports a picture of the other half. Then, whenever one user opens the app, they see a photo of their loved one and the loved one receives a notification that they're being thought of.
It's that simple and really quite a cute idea. JustUs is out now priced at $0.99 per copy (as of course you need two copies!). Check out the video explaining it below.