Brenda Laurel on Videogames for Little Girls

Chris Higgins

In this TED Talk from February 1998, Purple Moon founder Brenda Laurel asks: why aren't there videogames for little girls, when there are so many for little boys? Laurel did the research to suss out the specific gender differences in play behavior between boys and girls, then founded a videogame company aimed at creating compelling games for "little girls" (Laurel's preferred term for her audience). In this talk, Laurel talks about the research process that led to Purple Moon and shows a demo of an early Purple Moon game.

Discussed: humanism, researching play and gender differences, prototyping software for little girls, Purple Moon, negative reviews by males, listening to little girls, a game demo, and a hypothetical Purple Moon game for hardcore male gamers (Rockett XVIII: Armageddon).

Laurel's talk is particularly interesting in the context of The Sims, which was released two years after the talk...and became one of the most popular games among women (intentionally or not)...though not so much among little girls. (Read more about The Sims and women.)

Do you know little girls who play videogames? What games do they play? Share your experience in the comments.