What Teens Want In A Game

Hosted by Anastasia Goldstein and John Davison.
I missed the first few introductory minutes but here are my real-time notes. There are 2 teens, one gal and one guy from UT.
For web-based games, Flash is OK but the teens feel there are limitations because of the lack of a proper gaming console. These 2 teens seem much more interested in full-blown video games.
And their tolerance of violence in video games is very high. They don’t flinch when talking about whipping people’s heads off and kicking them around like a football. That leads to the question of whether they can differentiate real world and virtual violence. Of course they can, they say. Only kids that already have psychological issues may want to take out their angst against someone or something in their video games.
What engages them? The game shouldn’t be too simplistic. Give them lots of possible combinations to figure out. E.g. for guns, give them different types which produce different effects.
What about Avatar customisation? Gal says yes, she likes that. But guy adds that beyond a point it can get carried away – there is only so much that can be customised.
Teens may not mind playing games with an educational message. Gal remembers a game where you play an African woman who has to fetch water. Along the way she could be raped or killed. Guy has a different take – his mates would try to GET the woman raped. The gal disagrees, she wouldn’t think of doing that.
This leads to another question on whether there are differences between girl and guy gamers. Admittedly some guy gamers can’t accept the fact that girls do play games too.
Another question is if they’d mind if such educational games would be deployed in their schools. Gal replies she’d be surprised at this novel approach but she wouldn’t mind it.
Another question is whether their parents censor anything. They used to but stopped doing it after a while. Both teens had parents who were gamers too – and beat them at it! –> I’d think this is more the exception than the norm.
Guy adds that while he likes killing people in games, he doesn’t like to be killed. The point I’m getting is that we should make games that make the gamers feel more empowered – let them collect points, not lose them.
Don’t make a game only available to the latest console, because that shuts out the majority. –> Translating that to my web context, I guess it also means don’t do anything that makes them install extra plugins or undergo a tedious registration process.
Mobile gaming
The gal finds it too expensive. She hates it when people abbreviate everything in ‘text talk’ (i.e. SMS language).
OK time’s up, we’ve got to move on.