Gender Balance

Supportive Narrative based on the case study 'Stoomreizen'.


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For the project of Steamtravels, I wrote a research paper on Gender Balance in games. It explores the question whether and how it is possible to create a game that is equally attractive to both boys and girls.

Gender Balance: designing games for boys & girls

It explores the question whether and how it is possible to create a game that is equally attractive to both boys and girls, both through literature research and a case study of my own project of making a gender-balanced game for The Railway Museum that eventually became Steamtravels. Here's a part of the introductory chapter about my motivation for this subject:


"My feminist side is always a bit fluctuating. Usually I don’t bother so much with those things: I’ve never felt less equal, less capable or less whatever than any other man so why would I worry about it? But then, quite often, there are these little clues that reminds me again: yes, I’m a woman and yes, that sometimes puts me at a disadvantage. And sometimes it puts me at an advantage of course.

"There are a lot of articles to be found on the internet where the call goes out to female game designers, because they are supposed to have the magic key to the Fairy Kingdom of Girl Gamers. I think it was still mostly that side of me that said “I can design games for boys just as well as any man – that means men should very well be able to design great games for girls as well”. I think maybe that is the foremost reason why I have chosen this subject. Not because I wanted to shine my all-knowing female superlight on the issue, but because I am convinced that with a little bit of extra knowledge, the average male game designer can make fantastic gender balanced games as well!"


This supportive narrative is based on the case study of 'Steamtravels': an educational game about train travel that showcases different aspects and experiences of The Railwaymuseum. I created this while I was still a student at the School of the Arts in Utrecht as design lead and team lead of 8 other students. The Railway Museum wanted an online game that would showcase different aspects of the Railway Museum while teaching something about train travel to kids from 8 to 12 years old.

© Femke van Drooge. All rights reserved 2018.