First of all, who cares whether girls play computer and video games
with the same enthusiasm that many boys do? Wouldn’t they be better off
doing something more educational or constructive? As a number of this
book’s contributors point out, games may help boys to
develop better computer skills and more familiarity with computers, thus
helping to enhance their educational and career achievements.
Identifying computers as “boys’ toys” may discourage young
women from pursuing careers related to computers. So it could be
important to understand why girls are less likely to play computer games
and to find ways to encourage them to interact with computers in an
This book presents the proceedings of an MIT symposium on gender
and computer games. It is divided into three parts. The first discusses
the girls’ games movement. The second presents interviews with people
involved in the girl’s games movement. The third contains papers on
rethinking the girls’ games movement.
The first part of the book looks at differences between boys and
girls and what makes them interested in various types of games. One
chapter looks at the different results when boys and girls were asked to
design their own games. I found the interviews in Part 2 with people
involved in developing games and the girls’ games movement to be the
most interesting part of the book. Among those interviewed are the
producers of several games for girls, and employees of Sega and Mattel.
Finally, Part 3 looks at changes that could be made in the development
of video games that will interest girls.
Overall, the book is well written and interesting, with only a few
minor typographical and factual errors. A few of the illustrations do
have noticeable jaggies. The book has an index, which is not very common
in edited volumes. My only real criticism of the book is that much of
the information presented is anecdotal or correlational. However, there
is nothing wrong with that as a starting point. People who work with
children might find some of the chapters of interest, as will people who
are involved in producing computer games.