Why Doesn't the Industry Make Good Girls' Games? - gaminationstudio.com

Why Doesn’t the Industry Make Good Girls’ Games?

Moon Channel
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Why are there so few quality girls’ games? Why does the industry treat girls’ games like shovel-ware? And why is the best horse game Red Dead Redemption 2?

I’m Moony: a lawyer. But I’m not talking about law in this video. Instead, we’re going to explore the history of the girls’ games movement, analyze the reasons behind its collapse and the effect that the collapse had on the video games industry.

Girls’ games are both fun for all, and important! Let me see if I can convince you to give girly games a shot!

10% of Moon Channel’s Revenue goes to charity! We are currently supporting Doctors Without Borders (MCF). You can learn more about Doctors Without Borders at .

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00:00 – Intro
02:49 – Girls’ Games You May Have Played
04:44 – Early History of Modern Girls’ Games
07:23 – Her Interactive
09:09 – Barbie Fashion Designer
10:49 – Story of Purple Moon/Fall of Girls’ Games Movement
13:09 – 90’s Gamer Girl Quotes and Analysis
16:10 – Industry’s Conclusions After Girls’ Games Movement
17:57 – The Obvious Takeaway Neglected by the Industry
19:43 – Girls’ Games are Naturally Compelling, but Lack Good Mechanics and Presentation
23:26 – Moony Rants About Horse Games
25:45 – Conclusion
26:36 – Post Script
27:29 – Credits Gag

Additional Reading:

Femicom Museum:

Horse Games Flowchart:

Beyond Point and Click: The Search for Equity in Computer Games (See, pg. 28):

The Mane Quest:

The Track List, by Fan Request:
Sorry, I had to get rid of the timestamps; they were messing with the chapters!

(1) Outset Island – The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker;
(2) Amazing Facsimile – The Sims 3;
(3) Sunny Peak – Hamtaro: Ham Ham Heartbreak;
(4) Able Sisters – Animal Crossing New Horizons;
(5) Groove No. 1 – Style Savvy Trendsetters;
(6) Delightful Dundull – Star Stable;
(7) Twilight Town (Roxas) – Kingdom Hearts II;
(8) 9 AM – Animal Crossing New Horizons;
(9) The Roost Cafe – Animal Crossing New Leaf;
(10) Summer (The Sun Can Bend An Orange Sky) – Stardew Valley;
(11) Autumn in Selphia – Rune Factory 4;
(12) Horse Race – The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time;
(13) Epona’s Song – The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time;
(14) Map – Hamtaro: Ham Ham Heartbreak;
(15) End Song – Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney;
(16) Moonlight Sonata – Hamtaro: Ham Ham Heartbreak.

Track playlists and additional reading resources might someday be a Patreon reward!

Subtitles by: James Hugh
(Thank you, James!)


  1. The imagine games! Imagine Fashion Designer, Imagine Fashion Designer NY, Imagine Wedding Planner, etc! Those were soooo good

  2. I love this video! I think a related topic that's of further interest is how female coders arose thanks to modding the original Petz games on PC. Definitely worth looking into if you weren't aware before!

  3. Mary-Kate and Ashley Games was a big one for my age group.
    Mary-kate and Ashley Mystery Mall was the best in my option.

  4. Do Portal and any of the Samus games count as Girls' Games? Because in both you play a female character, regardless that they fall under the silent playable character archetype of video games.
    Can a Girls' Game still be a good game if the character you play in the game is a dude?

  5. You had me then you had to say this 23:04. You realize a trans woman made a game called Terfenstein 3D, right? It's about being a queer person killing women only. There are no male NPCs to shoot and kill. That's because an angry man – yeah, I'm calling him a man because a trans woman is a man – made the game. He made the game because he came from the usual place "he hated women because he wasn't a woman". Terfenstein 3D is also known as the woke-est game on the internet.
    I have NOT played Terfenstein 3D yet so I don't know if the mechanics and presentation are at least good.

  6. Seeing Star Stable Online footage here is so jarring. I played it as a lot kid and loved it (and I still do sometimes). When my older brother got RDR2 I saw footage of it and thought “that’s just Star Stable with guns”. One day I will play RDR2, or Red Dead Online. Even as a guy I wasn’t a huge fan of gun games (especially cuz the main way to play them in my family was on console and I preferred mouse and keyboard aiming) so I ended up gravitating towards SSO. Initially I was disappointed your avatar in the game was strictly a girl, but im alright with it now, and sometimes it’s fun to give in to the girliness :]

  7. Don’t forget about club penguin and webkinz

  8. This video seems pretty shallow from a man’s POV but I love to see this subject being talked about. In my family, video games have always been exclusively for women. My mum had a game boy and a sega console, has played 1000s of hidden object/adventure games. My aunt who has collected every sims expansion pack and owns every nintendo console ever released. Me and my cousins have played every modern “girl” game listed in this video. But I don’t have any male relatives who have ever played games at all. When I see men play games and it’s just them yelling racial slurs, punching walls, shooting zombies. I don’t consider that real gaming.

  9. Aw my sister and I had Ham-Ham Heartbreak on GBA and I don’t know what happened to the cartridge 😢 Now I want to replay it so bad! Seeing it is so nostalgic!
    As girls we didn’t like pink girlie dress up type stuff, or dolls, but we were all about animal games (Petz 5 on PC is actually good, also Zoo Tycoon) and my sister had a LOT of horse games. Most were crap but some were pretty okay. The standards are so low 😂

  10. I`m particularly mad because I never hear anyone talking about my beloved rune factory 3, 4 and 5 and the only video they do its about girl games and not only that you got pretty much all my favorite games into the `guess sequence`. i never even knew I was targeted onto that games. i always was labeled as a ~non hardcore gamer~ bc i didnt enjoy god of war, assassins screed and so on…

  11. Here are some other girls games that werent mentioned: Club Penguin, Moshi Monsters, Slime Rancher, Alice Madness Returns, Hello Kitty Roller Rescue, Singstar, Just Dance, Animal Jam, Movie Star Planet, Stardoll, Cooking Mama, Love Test simulators.
    Just off the top of my head that I remember from childhood and this probably isnt a universal experience but these were all popular when I was a kid.

  12. because guys pay much more for some bad ass characters with some big Boobies LOL

  13. Cause money 💷 💵 that's why. More money from a demographic more more games for that demographic. It's just business for profit.

  14. Genshin impact is for the girlies that’s why it does so well

  15. We also played Chun Li … the only girl in street fighter

  16. I mean, at some level this is question begging. Why do we consider those things girls games? I know women who started computer gaming with Mario Brothers, just like the boys of their generation. Or who played Diablo in the mid-90s. And who didn't play Oregon Trail as a student in the 80s? My wife adores Diablo 2 and (kind of surprisingly not on your list) the Mario Party series (among many games we've played regularly together). My mom loved the original Legend of Zelda (and she's really not much of a computer gamer), and my parents had an ATARI back in the 70s after they were married. And that's just the tip of the iceberg of women i've known who played computer games.

    There is a distribution of interests, and those distributions may differ somewhat on average between men and women, but there were also boys who probably didn't see the appeal of 'boys games', just as there were women who did. But I might also suggest that interest in playing games itself is also a distribution.

    (Meanwhile, Champions Online, a somewhat obscure MMO, probably has one of the best 'character dress up' systems of all time, with its (admittedly small) community frequently only half-joking that costumes are the endgame).

    And its probably worth pointing out that some modern games are hugely popular with both genders. Genshin Impact being perhaps the most notable one.

  17. Playing red dead 2 now as an adult is just like playing with Barbie’s when I was a kid. Horses. Dress up. Roleplaying. A similar amount of violence.

  18. you read me like a book when u said my fav character was miles 😭😭😭😭

  19. or…maybe no one played those games cause they sucked. I'm a girl so I have to play the "pink" games? um, no.

  20. Let’s go Terraria doesn’t count as a girls game

  21. I don't think it has to do with the fact that there aren't games for girls as much as the fact that gaming in general is framed as not for girls

  22. born 1996. i played castlevania and pokemon and dragonquest

  23. I wish there was more stuff not romance related. my aroace ass just does not care about that shit

  24. they should do a barbie game about mojo dojo casa house with horses

  25. no bcus u pointed out.. so many of my fave games it's all just a collective experience 😭😭😭😭

  26. I played Freddi Fish, Barbie Fashion Designer, Barbie Beach Vacation, Hugo (games about a troll), and Carmageddon when I was little.. then Sims, GTA San Andreas, and American McGee’s Alice (my favorite). So not even close to your list 😬 but I’m also not from the US

  27. EXCELLENT video, although one thing i wish was mentioned (but ultimately am not sure where you could have fit it into the video so i don't fault you for not bringing it up) is women and horror games. born in the early 2000s, my tween years were filled with girls who were obsessed with FNaF and slender: the 8 pages and amnesia (and danganronpa, which isn't necessarily horror but is a more 'fucked up' kind of game than the industry assumes girls would like). and as i get older i see more girls into things like resident evil and dead by daylight — which both seem to recognize this trend of girls liking horror games, if the Pretty Boy-ification of leon kennedy and Hooked On You (the dbd visual novel) are anything to go by. i just feel it deserves a special mention.

    anyways great video, i'm a trans man and always enjoyed games marketed 'for boys' but was often stuck with games 'for girls'. the list at the beginning pinned my late elementary school-early high school years dead-on before i could start buying games for myself.

  28. In the list of girl games you got most of mine, like kingdom hearts, neopets and Pokémon (specifically yellow and red), but I played donkey Kong county, a handful of Mario games a lot, as well as a little Mortal Kombat here and there. My favorite, and the one I played endlessly, for me, the GOAT is Rollercoaster Tycoon 2 and 3. I sank countless hours into building parks in sandbox mode and tormenting the manager lol I loved getting complaints from him and picking him up and dropping him off insanely high waterfalls into deep unlit water and going off to do whatever I was going to do anyway lol I also liked to build super elaborate traps for him and see how long it would take for him to find a way out lol

    I do have to say, though that you are dead on about RDR2. I don’t play myself, but I like to watch my partner play, and it’s his favorite so he plays it a lot. I always tap him and remind him to tend to the horse, and give her treats and hang out with her, because I am deeply invested in the relationship between Arthur and the horse lol sometimes when he is gonna take a break he will travel to a pretty area and let me go flower picking with the horse. Yes that is exactly what I want in a game. I want to hang out and nurture relationships with my animal friends, and grow and collect food or hunt, and cook and work on my garden. If there is competition, I would love to do horse races and archery and it would be so fun to have the open world options like RDR and GTA, and the same degree of care for quality. I would love to have competitions to enter where you need to build skills and train in order to progress and win.

    You want competition in girls? Make a realistic and decent game about training for ballet and performing. If you make it do you can create your own characters and have to strategize to overcome some of the problems that often come with that feature, with the ultimate goal being that you get to be the Prima Ballerina of a world renowned company, and allow you to choose between ballet styles and work on your technique, and do exercises each day to build those skills, and have to do physical therapy and train for your first pair of pointe shoes, then shop and get fit for those, and have those have different strengths and weaknesses that you overcome or work through. Train flexibility, and compete for roles which you then train for and learn choreography and perform. Learn and train different steps and then learn choreography and compete for a spot in the school and find a place at a company. The world of ballet is super competitive – cut-throat even.

  29. I believe my sister and i used to play one of the Barbie fashion games when we were kids, and one of the Hamtaro games as well 🤔
    Later on Need for Speed was my go to computer game in high school, and my younger sister used to be obsessed with GTA. And of course sims2 used to be one of both of ours biggest obsessions))
    We also had a bunch of fighting, racing, adventure games for PS1))
    Ugh, miss those days))

  30. 𝔊𝔞𝔟𝔯𝔦𝔢𝔩𝔩𝔢 𝔗𝔬𝔩𝔩𝔢𝔯𝔰𝔬𝔫 ♱ says:

    I miss those girl games like the dress ups and makeup games 😭 Anyone also remember blinkie blocks?

  31. it was 80's stereotype that girls hate science and physic, so adults in the 90's listened to that and took their game quality to "that seem good enough" but the audience just got used the rise of Doom, they could've took doom engine and turn it into girls' games!

    it's lot like when we finally free middle east but women there have an oppressor's idea on how to keep girls in their stereotype line. That what american 80's translate into 90's look like. Considering we FINALLY made it illegal married women to be considering as slave owner's property, in 70's.

  32. 2:59 As a girl gamer, I didn't grew up playing most of those games except for Minish Cap, Pokemon and Minecraft (But i did grow up playing some Sonic-based dress up games like "Female Furry Dollmaker" and Pet Society back when Facebook still had games)

  33. I was so invested in the Professor Layton series and their stories within when I was younger but i also loved watching my brothers play Metal Gear Solid, Zelda and Final Fantasy as the storylines were so good too. In other words, what I'm trying to say is, give me a good plot and I'm gripped. ❤

  34. I started with Kings Quest VII and loved the Purple Moon as a kid. GC brought Animal Crossing

  35. I kind of adore this video? I was never much of a gamer girl because there is little intersection in the way of games I'm actually interested in playing, and games that I can actually play with my lack of vision. This was then dampened even more when you add the fact that my brother is a hardcore gamer who would go on rants about how games like Animal Crossing, and Style Savvy weren't real games. I never really got into the community because of that because those were some of the only games I could both see to play on my own, and that were interesting to me. I remember having a ton of the Petz games, all of the animal crossing games, and a bunch of fashion design games on my DS (or other consoles, but mostly my DS) but never thinking of them as games really.

    Likewise, I kind of haven't considered myself a gamer until recently, and the only reason I do now is because when I was giving a presentation on an introduction to virtual pets at an anime convention, did I even come to think of any of my virtual pets as games rather than toys. Even then it really only happened when I received pushback after answering no to a question regarding whether or not I personally considered virtual pets games.

    Another thing that was interesting at that panel was that most of the people who came were guys. I feel like because most girls were ignored by the industry for forever, the games we do have that are good are more ubiquitous. Once you know the difference between a furby, a tamagotchi, and Nintendogs, you have most of the basics of virtual pets down. After that, its just a matter of figuring out what you like in terms of these pets, and what is most worth collecting to you, and how to avoid potential scams.

    Also, a lot of the girl game concepts are in guy's games. A lot of the pushback I received was funnily enough, because a lot of these people considered things like Chao from Sonic, and certain Pokemon or Digimon games to be mini games, that could easily be fleshed out into their own games if the developers took the time. I mean hell, in the case of Digimon, they started off as virtual pets for boys before they became similar to Pokemon now.

    Anyway, if you Haven't played Petz: Moonlight Magic or Petz: Sunlight Magic you're greatly missing out. Go play them. You and I both know that you want to raise a baby dragon.

  36. I never thought someone would call out my zelda preferences like that, wp

  37. What makes you qualified for talking about this topic?!?!

  38. At my time girls and guys were hyping about minecraft and call of duty, while I in the otherhand never played those games, I was playing IMVU, a virtual dress up, chat game. Though years later, my parents surprised me and my sibling with a PS4 and a whole new world opened to me lol, experienced zombies, shooting games, Lego games. It was very fun. Looking back, I still love dress up games. While also loving shooting games.

  39. Thankfully, I’ve always enjoyed “guy” games as well so I felt like I never had a problem. I had a brother who was legit addicted to gaming so it was impossible to not enjoy or have fond memories of “male” games. The whole pool of gaming was up for grabs- this video was an interesting watch, I never even thought about this topic. My lil kid brain didnt really gender games, it was just like “a game is a game”- granted, I was literally wearing boy basketball shorts and hoodies to school everyday

  40. As a gay man, i never really thought of games as being for boys or for girls, though i can see how different game aspects fall into either more masculine or more feminine. My interests fall somewhere in the middle; i like action games but im not a big fan of shooters, war games, or mobas. I think everyone just has different interests, some girls wanna play stardew valley and animal crossing all day, some want to play mario or kirby games, some wanna play fps games and mobas. I definitely think there should be more quality games that focus on living out some sort of calm life, like stardew valley, focus on fashion or interior design, or focus on interesting character interaction. These can be quite fun. Also, great point about these sorts of games NOT needing to be sterotypically, overly gendered in their marketing.

  41. I’m a grl and the only games you predicted right were Zelda (but ocarina of time) and sims 3 and 4 😂 then I also played a lot of other games that are what you called boy games

  42. no, you are not even close 😉 Never heard of 3/4 of games you mention. I playd tomb raider 1, were die hard heroes of might and magic series fan/gamer. I hate pink. And i hate that… stereotypes. As if girl coulnt enjoy or be good at mortal combat or EU4, and boy couldn't have fun in dressing up princess or like pink stuff. Things are changing but they are changing SLOOOW. And when girls meet boys you got equestria at war mod for iron heart 4 :D(for those who dont know: HoI is grand strategy game set in II world war context, and equestria is, well, my little pony) and this is fun. Well, it looks fun, as you are rigth: i am grown ass woman and still don't like competative games and i dont see point in MOBA games. I didn't play HoI but sheer idea to mangle my littpe pony with tanks and geopolitics seems fun 😛

  43. Alice from The Mane Quest here THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS 😭❤
    You've hit various nails exactly on the head, and I hugely appreciate the shoutout to my work 💕💕💕

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