Kaye Elling’s Five Cs

Kaye Elling was creative manager at Blitz Games on the Bratz series, and in 2006 she gave an insightful lecture called "Inclusive Games Design" at the Animex festi­val in the UK (Elling, 2006). Elling proposed five characteristics of games, all beginning with the letter C, that designers should strive for to make them more inclusive and accessible to girls.

■ Characterization. As Chapter 6, "Character Development," discussed women (and girls) see avatars as someone who represents themselves rather than someone simply to control. Therefore, an avatar has to be someone girls can identify with, and to have no qualities they find distasteful.

■ Context. Environments matter to girls, and they will be repulsed by environ­ments that they find ugly or hostile. This advice concurs with Jesyca Durchin's thoughts in the sidebar "Jesyca Durchin's Advice."

■ Control. Girls like to feel as if they are in control of the game, rather than it is in control of them. The risk-and-reward style of gameplay appeals less to girls because they don't enjoy taking risks as much as boys do. They also dislike mechanics that harshly punish failure, because those mechanics discourage experimentation.

■ Customization. Girls customize their mobile phones and other accessories more than boys do, so it makes sense that they would want to customize their games as well—especially their avatars. Bratz: Rock Angelz offered 686 different items of
clothing, makeup, jewelry, and so on. The more desirable ones are unlockable rewards the player can earn for completing mini-games.

■ Creativity. Creative play is a big part of what makes The Sims successful with girls and women. Creativity gives players a chance to express themselves and show off what they made to others. It's not confined to girl games by any means; even in Halo 2 players can design unique clan badges.

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