Monday, March 14, 2011

Gendered Gaming Approaches to Pokemon B&W

I'm neither a big fan of the word gender nor am I enamored with the politicized arguments that usually accompany the use of the word. However, the alliteration suit the title and this observation is a bit about the different ways my boy and my girl approach their playing of Pokemon Black and White.

My husband was much more eloquent in his part of our conversation on this topic. We've sat beside the kids while they've played Pokemon on the DS and we've noticed they tackle the game in very different ways.

Our boy is a strategist. He levels just the right amount of Pokemon types to just the right level to defeat the gym leaders as quickly and efficiently as possible. For him, it's about collecting the right kind of Pokemon to win.

Our girl is a story "immersionist". She reads out loud all of the cut scenes, chooses her Pokemon based on her affection for them and plays slowly through the various scenarios, stopping to "smell the roses" in the game.

We think that each player could benefit from mimicking some portions of the style of the other. Because the boy rushes through the dialogue and often doesn't read it, he misses some of the tips the NPC (non-player characters) offer. He would probably benefit from going a bit slower to pick up the clues hidden in the story arc of the game. Because the girl spends more time with the Pokemon she likes, her team is uneven and prone to losing when they face a Pokemon of a certain type. She would probably benefit from a bit of strategic playing, like leveling up different categories of Pokemon (i.e. ground type or fire type) so that when she faces an opponent who has a weakness against a certain category, she can offer the best fighter for the task.

However, just to mess up any easy "boy vs girl" analysis, both our son and daughter love doing the music videos featuring the different type of Pokemon, including the sounds they make. Together they'll sit, creating and comparing the video productions they assemble. Pokemon Black and White is a popular game with girls and boys, and especially with my two.

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