Ever wondered what games girls should be playing? The same games as everyone else is will (I hope) be your answer but there are a lot of games out there so choosing your next game can be a daunting task. Especially with the PS5 recently being released and the games industry growing ever bigger - how do you find out which games women like you are enjoying most?
Well, it's exactly the question I was asking myself when I received a PS4 for my work anniversary (thanks Skillsearch!) and I wasn't sure which game to buy first! I’ve always been a fan of simulation games such as The Sims and the classics like Theme Hospital, along with the old school point and click adventures starting with the incredible Secret of Monkey Island. (I recently replayed these and forgot how good they are and playing as an adult they are a lot funnier than I remembered! I think some of the humour may have gone over my head at a young age!).
Not many of my friends are into console games though so what’s the next best thing to answer one of life’s important questions? Ask the Twittersphere!
I asked the ladies of Twitter for recommendations to see what people like me were playing and wanted to share those results with you. I was lucky enough to get a retweet from @PlayStationUK too which means I got an incredible amount of responses regardless of gender. Thank you to everyone that responded!
Also as not all of us have been lucky enough to have gotten our hands on the PS5, I’m focusing on games that are available for PS4. However, for those who have managed to upgrade, I’ll be sure to point out which of them are available for PS5 too.
Top Console Games for Women (as recommended by women… and a few men)
NB: I’ve only included those that had more than 5 votes as I had sooooo many recommendations - sorry Crash Bandicoot you’ll always be in my personal top 5!
Within the top five recommendations, there were some clear themes, they’re all third-person games with in-depth story-lines and wonderful worlds to get lost in.
But what I loved to see most is the range of strong female characters that these recommendations have! Uncharted alone has three female leads to choose from which is something that’s been massively lacking in years gone by.
The standout games for me is, of course, Horizon Zero Dawn. Combing a strong female character with an impressive narrative, and a truly stunning game visually and you can see why it has become such a massive hit.
Image Source: Gorilla
I asked a few of my new twitter friends about why they loved the game so much and Harriet Megan’s response really sums up how I imagine a lot of women feel about their representation in games.
The second most recommended game - the Last of Us - also has a pretty epic female lead and with the sequel recently winning a ton of awards, I’m not surprised this came so high up the list.
Ellie is an incredibly strong female character who started life as an NPC in the original game, and thanks to her popularity is now the main character in the sequel, too. Described as fiercely strong and badass you can see why this came in at number 2 and why she has such a huge fanbase. Good on Naughty Dog for following up with a sequel that will allow fans to play as this awesome character!
What we love about these women is that playing from their perspective isn't turning men away either! Which goes to show that in the same way that women can have a great time playing as male characters, men can enjoy playing from a female perspective too.
With the female characters we've discussed here (and the many others we’ve not even touched on) it’s clear to see the industry is moving forward and creating more inclusive games, giving women more opportunities to play as characters they can associate with and telling the stories that are more meaningful to us - but without losing the action and excitement that got us into games in the first place!
It can only get better from here and I for one can’t wait to see what comes next.
Top Games from the Girls of Skillsearch
Finally, I asked all the girls here at Skillsearch what games they’ve been loving recently to give a few more ideas to help you find the next world to get lost in...
Ellie - Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Ellie couldn’t pick just one favourite game as on top of Zelda she’s been playing Final Fantasy, Runescape, WoW, Assassins Creed Valhalla and more! But whether you’ve been a Zelda fan since the beginning or are looking to start exploring Hyrule for the first time then Breath of the Wild needs to be next on your list. It’s an incredible open-world game full of puzzle-filled shrines and beautiful landscapes that will keep you captivated for hours (maybe even days or weeks!).
Jasmin – Untitled Goose Game
Untitled Goose Game is a hilarious stealth puzzle game developed by House House. At the end of 2020 they released a 2 player mode which gives a great excuse to revisit the game’s sweet countryside village to terrorise it as a couple of geese. Having an extra player offers new opportunities to complete the games puzzles or, if you’re Jasmin, spend most of the time using the games designated “honk” button to annoy your friend.
Catrin – Factorio
Ideal for those who are more into PC gaming - in Factorio you’re stranded on an alien planet and use the resources around you to build factories and robots with the goal of building a spaceship to fly home! You start off chopping trees down manually and end up with factories and robots and solar power (or nuclear if you want to ruin the planet but Catrin chooses to be eco-friendly even in her games!).
Freya – Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Apparently, it’s worth investing in a Nintendo Switch purely to play the newest version of Animal Crossing?! It’s caused quite the storm on social media with the new features, graphics, and villagers propelling this classic well into 2021! If you’re after a game that you can come back to time and time again for years Animal Crossing has your back.
Nicole – The Last of Us
Unsurprisingly The Last of Us comes up trumps for our own girls as well as the games girls of the internet. Nicole loved the first installment of this game, and as much as she’s also loving part 2, she’s finding it a bit scary and has to take a lot of breaks!
Jane – Bugsnax
This game, available on PS4 and PS5, launches you into a whimsical world where you’ll be unravelling mysteries whilst capturing all species of Bugsnax, tracking down inhabitants, and customise your new friends! This one’s a must for a bit of lighthearted fun.
And finally my favourite games – Crash Team Racing and Pikmin
My two favourites are the classic Crash Team Racing (available on PS4 and PS5!) and Pikmin 3 for Nintendo Switch. Pikmin is a great one to play solo or with a friend collaboratively and is living proof that you don’t need to have the fanciest graphics to be adorable! You plant and harvest little Pikmin friends that will then help you build, move, fly, destroy and fight your way through the Pikmin world.
I hope this list of great games will help you make your next pick, whoever you are, but if you need more girl power inspiration then we recently discussed our favourite games with female protagonists to celebrate International Women’s Day, And if you’re still hungry for more, you can read all about the multiplayer games we’ve been loving through lockdown too!
An exciting time for Women in Games
We’re seeing a lot more being done to educate girls about the industry of games. Laila Shabir, founder of Girls Make Games says “It’s important to teach girls to make video games. That voice is missing in the industry, and you can see it in the marketplace in the kind of games that exist”.
“When young boys grow up and become game developers, they make certain kinds of games that are more appealing to boys and I think the cycle just continues,” Shabir told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
But with the spotlight fully shining on the subject of women in games, we have a real opportunity to break the cycle. Studios are doing more than ever to support women in games and there’s more encouragement in education than we’ve ever seen before.
Although there’s undoubtedly more work to be done to achieve equality – highlighted by our 2020 Games Industry Guide to Gender Pay Gap – it makes me really happy to see the great progress that is being made. but with more and more brilliant women making our games (and starring in them) we’re levelling up quickly!
If you're looking for your next job in games, female or not, please get in touch with me on 01273 287007 or KJ@skillsearch.com. Would love to have a chat about your next move!
Cover Image Source: Guerrilla Games