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Thread: RPMiller: Faery's Tale

  1. #21
      sandy is offline
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    Hi,

    > So is the goal then to only market to girls and hope for a scattering of boys here and there?

    Well, I can't talk about the marketing, only the creation. But saying "we are not specifically focusing on boys" is different from "we are only marketing to girls". That's the very fallacy we're being faced with-- the perception that not aggressively marketing it as a boy's game means it's a girl's game. It's not our intent, but people may mistake it as one.

    What it is, is a game children can play. Ascribing it as aimed at a specific gender is a reflection of the bias of the individual reader, based on their perception of the product and/or genre.

    We did not intentionally create a gender-biased game, but by not deliberately stamping it as 'a boy game' or 'a girl game', each reader will probably assign it to their own category according to their own gender perception.

    At the risk of being tangential, it's a bit like how people react to my name, Sandy. Sight unseen, they often ascribe a gender to me and then intepret my correspondance in that light, and occasionally are surprised when we meet face to face. Hazards of a gender-neutral name are the same as hazards of a gender-neutral game. In the absence of a clear gender stamp, the reader usually will presume a gender (then interpret accordingly).

    In retrospect, Patrick probably should have released two editions of the same book, one with a blue-tinged cover and goblin artwork called 'Faery Tale', and the other with a pinker cover and all-pixie artwork, called 'Fairy Tale'. Then release a later 'Deluxe Combined Edition' that is, in essence, the original book

    Cheers,
    Sandy
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  2. #22
      sandy is offline
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    Post why here...

    Hi again,

    As an aside on the issue of intended gender perception in FT, I'm curious if people on this site are more likely to pick up on gender issues in books like FT (relative to general readers).

    Cartography is about using effective symbology. Since FT doesn't have a deliberate gender focus, then the reader will derive one from the symbology-- text choice and graphics choice. So a symbologist (I suggest) has more skills to bring to bear in trying to determine if there is an underlying gender bias.

    Just musing. I'm enjoying this thread and hope I'm not being too noisy with it (plus I found out about rpg soundmixer from here!)

    Cheers,
    Sandy
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  3. #23
      pyrandon is offline
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    Interesting, Sandy. Thanks for the comments. What I think we're coming to here is the heart of the debate: as you call it, "gender perception."

    On this issue I'm guessing you and I would perhaps disagree with the nature of gender. You claim that gender in the game is rather neutral, that the biased individual perceives and creates their own meaning for gender. You believe the game is gender neutral (much as your name--good example!), that readers look at its features, assume it's a girl's game due to their own perception of what "girlishness" is, and then react accordingly. In other words, there is nothing outside the viewer's worldview in the game that is inherently girlish. You are, by the way, in good company thinking this, for it's what the dominant postmodern culture by-and-large assumes to be true.

    I, on the other hand, think there are rather solid features that are hard-wired into boys and girls. (And these are wonderful features of our gender make-ups, beautiful in their distinctions.) Faery's Tale displays "girl features" in abundance. And it's not just the pink or blue colored cover; Naryt's list is a clear starting point, but also just the idea of minuscule faeries (even if warrior sprites) in general. There is a reason the fey have been associated with girls for centuries. By the biological and spiritual nature of boys and girls, your game is in the female realm more than the male; this is deeper than personal response, cultural milieu, or other neutral forces.

    Of course a boy could (and should!!) enjoy Faery's Tale as well, but it's a much harder sell. It's like marketing Barbies to little boys: boys could have fun with the doll, but "action figures" are a much easier sell.

    So, I think you are making light of the fact that there are real differences in the attitudes, thinking, and hearts of boys and girls. Sure these differences are not static and as solid as stone, and some boys like girl things and visa versa, but these are exceptions. Brightwood falls farther into on the feminine spectrum than the male, and while a parent/GM could tip the scales to even them back out, this would not happen on its own. (My own son is a good example.) The consumer of your product's "bias" is not as much an issue as the nature of the product content itself, and the fact that the designers/publishers did not label it as a boy or girl game is rather irrelevant. (Go ahead and put a sticker saying "Now for boys, too!" onto a Barbie...)

    Through all this, I want to reiterate that 1) Faery's Tale IS a great game, and 2) I'm glad we are having this discussion! Very thought-provoking.

    Take care
    Don
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  4. #24
      RPMiller is offline
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    Post Re: why here...

    Quote Originally Posted by sandy
    Hi again,

    As an aside on the issue of intended gender perception in FT, I'm curious if people on this site are more likely to pick up on gender issues in books like FT (relative to general readers).

    Cartography is about using effective symbology. Since FT doesn't have a deliberate gender focus, then the reader will derive one from the symbology-- text choice and graphics choice. So a symbologist (I suggest) has more skills to bring to bear in trying to determine if there is an underlying gender bias.

    Just musing. I'm enjoying this thread and hope I'm not being too noisy with it (plus I found out about rpg soundmixer from here!)

    Cheers,
    Sandy
    sandy@rpg.net
    freelance
    I wouldn't say that it is the members of this forum specific. There are other examples from other people that found it to be female biased. I think gamers in general tend to be smarter per capita then the general populace do to the amount of both imagination and cognitive reasoning that has to be done when roleplaying. There are many very intelligent people in the RPG community and I have been somewhat surprised over the years to find just how intelligent the community is as a whole.

    With that intellect comes perception. As Sherlock Holmes said, "A great detective relies on perception, intelligence, and imagination. " Combine this with what I've learned from the business classes I've taken and I have come to realize that when marketing to gamers one has to be very careful and observant with what is being presented. I've read many a gamer's blog or forum post where they are berating some game publisher for the lack of giving gamers what they want or trying to pull the wool over they eyes.

    With regard to FT, there is definitely a perceptive bias toward girls whether intended or not. I didn't realize it personally since I had the "inside" information on it all along and did some of the early play testing without the published book, but after the really well written analysis above from Naryt it really opened my eyes to the perception that people will have of the book and more importantly the perception of the children who would be the target market as they are going to be far more sensitive to the gender issue than many adult gamers who play the opposite sex with very little hesitation.
    Quote Originally Posted by sandy
    In retrospect, Patrick probably should have released two editions of the same book, one with a blue-tinged cover and goblin artwork called 'Faery Tale', and the other with a pinker cover and all-pixie artwork, called 'Fairy Tale'. Then release a later 'Deluxe Combined Edition' that is, in essence, the original book
    I think this is a really great idea!! I'm betting that this would have made some difference in the overall perception of gamers.
    Bill Stickers is innocent! It isn't Bill's fault that he was hanging out in the wrong place.

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  5. #25
      RPMiller is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by pyrandon
    >Snip<
    Excellent post as always! Those are some great points, and I agree wholeheartedly with your last points. I think that is why we are having this discussion in fact. If we didn't think the game was great we wouldn't care if it succeeded or not, and the fact that we care enough to discuss it shows that we very much want to see it be as successful as it can be.
    Bill Stickers is innocent! It isn't Bill's fault that he was hanging out in the wrong place.

    Please make an effort to tag all threads. This will greatly enhance the usability of the forums.



  6. #26
      sandy is offline
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    Post more on gender

    Hello,

    I wouldn't go as far as saying gender is purely relative to each reader. Rather than the post-modern "the interpretation is the thing", I think there may be an excess of 'girly' aspects in FT in three ways:

    * visual elements that were not intended to be gendered, but as a whole create the view that it's a girly game. Many people here seem to suggest this, and I think cartographers would be more skilled at judging this than writers, This was an eye-opener to me.

    * cultural cues that different people interpret differently (the 'are faeries intrisically girly or not' bit), Which could be an interesting thing to tackle in future works, as Patrick suggests.

    * the commercial tendency in the toy industry to aggressively gender-market items, leading to a customer expectation that toys are gendered or not, which is hard to address if one wants to make a both-gender or gender-neutral product.

    * different conceptions of what is boy or girl and whether it is hard wired or cultural, which is a debate that probably will never be answered.

    Hmm... there I go again, more than three items. Anyway, the first two are, I think, fairly concrete, well substantiated by the comments in this forum, and something FT does need to address. Hopefully Patrick will not address it by firing me as co-writer

    Cheers,
    Sandy
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  7. #27
      pyrandon is offline
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    Post Re: more on gender

    Quote Originally Posted by sandy
    ...Hopefully Patrick will not address it by firing me as co-writer
    I hope not too!

    Great response, Sandy.
    Don
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  8. #28
      RPMiller is offline
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    My personal experience with my kids, one boy, one girl, is that there is some hard wiring of gender. My wife and I made a conscious effort to not treat either of them as a specific gender and allow them to play with whatever toys they wanted.

    With only a few exceptions when they were with a sitter or relative we adhered to this rule and I have to say that before my son or daughter were old enough to appreciate marketing they were both very much a boy and a girl.

    We actually found that very enlightening. Of course this wasn't a completely scientific study, but it seemed fairly conclusive to me.

    Thankfully both of my kids are open minded enough and imaginative enough to try different kinds of RPG settings, and tackled FT with gusto. In fact, I think my son actually enjoyed the game more than my daughter. I think he even gave Pat a run for his money.
    Bill Stickers is innocent! It isn't Bill's fault that he was hanging out in the wrong place.

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  9. #29
      pyrandon is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by RPMiller
    My personal experience with my kids, one boy, one girl, is that there is some hard wiring of gender. My wife and I made a conscious effort to not treat either of them as a specific gender and allow them to play with whatever toys they wanted.

    With only a few exceptions when they were with a sitter or relative we adhered to this rule and I have to say that before my son or daughter were old enough to appreciate marketing they were both very much a boy and a girl.

    We actually found that very enlightening. Of course this wasn't a completely scientific study, but it seemed fairly conclusive to me.
    That is my exact same experience, too, Rob.
    Don
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  10. #30
      RobA is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by pyrandon
    Quote Originally Posted by RPMiller
    My personal experience with my kids, one boy, one girl, is that there is some hard wiring of gender. My wife and I made a conscious effort to not treat either of them as a specific gender and allow them to play with whatever toys they wanted.

    With only a few exceptions when they were with a sitter or relative we adhered to this rule and I have to say that before my son or daughter were old enough to appreciate marketing they were both very much a boy and a girl.

    We actually found that very enlightening. Of course this wasn't a completely scientific study, but it seemed fairly conclusive to me.
    That is my exact same experience, too, Rob.
    Ditto. I have B/G twins and even though we always tried to treat them the same and provided the same toys/books/games, etc, they manifested what would be called stereotypical gender preferences.

    -Rob A>

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