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What Men Like In Games


Disciplines > Game Design > What Men Like In Games

Winning | Risking | Expertize | Abstraction | Making | Breaking | Doing | See also


Men (and boys) tend to like games that include aspects from several of the categories below. Understanding this can be helpful when designing games for males.

Of course women can enjoy these and men can enjoy factors that women like. This is a list of things that men are more likely to enjoy.

Competition and winning

Life is a battle and people who like to compete are likely to win and gain more. Gains can lead to wealth, which is attractive to potential mates and gives greater ability to  control one's environment.

Men often like to compete, particularly against other men and of course when they think they have a fair chance of winning. Male status in many mammals is based on strength and the ability to defeat other males in combat. Competition is hence a natural format for males.

Risks and thrills

Men take more risks in all kinds of areas, from driving cars to extreme sports. A male that demonstrates courage and daring sends a message to other males not to get in their way and suggests to females that they can protect their women and their children.

Risks can also be seen in games of chance, including gambling, where the illusion of control is bolstered by the excitement of possibly making a quick and easy fortune.

Expertize and mastery

If a man is not physically strong they can compensate and gain social status by being clever and innovative. Games that enable the gaining of mastery or the opportunity to show and use expertize will often appeal more to men.

Intelligent and knowledgeable people are useful in society, solving problems and offering wise counsel. They may also be able to win competitions both through superior strategy and also through tricky deception.

Abstraction and logic

Solving logical puzzles and problems is a way of gaining and showing expertize, and there is a certain thrill of discovery when the key to the problem is found. The visual thinking that males do when hunting and fighting can also be used for working on concepts. This is one reason that boys can tend more towards mathematics and engineering.

Men are hence more likely to enjoy games that include puzzles and problems to solve.

Making things

Men are historically constructors of machines, weapons and buildings, much because they have greater strength. Their history as hunters has also given them greater visual-spatial ability, enabling them to more easily think in three dimensions, visualizing constructions before they are built.

Boys often like construction toys and men often graduate to bigger building projects such as cars and houses. Construction in games can include building machines, buildings and other devices. More laterally, you can also construct strategies and inventions.

Breaking things

There is a curious pleasure males have in demolition and smashing things up. Even young boys love to break their toys and things they have built. This can be a problem and when they are stopped from damaging acts, they may repress this, making it all the more gleeful when they can release their destructive urges. Games can provide a safe release for such inner desires.

Destruction signifies a sense of power, as is shown in the popularity of 'first person shooter' games. It perhaps is one of the forgotten pleasures of toys such as 'Lego' that pulling apart constructions can be as much fun as making them.

Destructive men are fearsome and the threat they carry can create a leading position within a society. This negative tendency has hence been sustained by evolutionary benefits.

Learning by doing

If you give a man something to construct, they are less likely to read the construction manual and more likely to dive into the task, learning from their mistakes rather than the knowledge of the original designer. To have to look at the manual is almost an admission of failure to many.

The implication for this in games is that they should not have to read a long manual and that the game should be intuitive, allowing them to make mistakes along the way. Rather than a mistake being a disastrous failure, if learning is allowed then the game will be enjoyed more.

See also

Evolution, Young Male Syndrome, Evolutionary Drivers


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