As an instructor, a gamer, and a female, it is a constant effort to educate people about videogames.
People assume that the game industry is populated by a clan of pale, introverted, cave-dwelling males avoiding human contact in favor of glories of the computer screen. In truth, game development and/or design students (and industry professionals)are a group of individuals as diverse as any other industry: there are the introverts, the extroverts, the creative geniuses, and the genius coders. There are individuals of every minority and majority. However there is one exception-it is a fact that there aren't nearly as many women involved in the making of and playing of games.
What the author, Sheri Garner-Ray, has been able to do with this text, is give an explanation to what has long been considered an unanswerable question-how can the game industry consistently broaden its audience to female players?
The attribute that makes this text key to my instruction is it's audience-this is a book for everyone. It is written in an extremely approachable manner, using realistic examples and language that is academic without being exclusory. It is a superb blend of quanatative and qualitative psychological analysis and offers an amazing insight for both men and women readers.
A personal example. I have long favored games that many did not consider "usual" for the female player. I do not play sims, or Barbie Makeover (lord forbid) or Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing. Two of my favorite game series are Metal Gear and Onimusha.
It wasn't until I read Sheri's text that I was able to form an objective reason for myself and my students as to why I loved these games. Yes the graphics are visually stunning, but both games also have incredible backstory, opportunities stealth, and Onimusha has great puzzles worked into gameplay.
If readers of this critique wish to know why these different elements make difference, then I sincerely suggest you pick up this terrific book.
My sincere thanks to Ms. Ray for giving female gamers, present and future, a voice.