She's Got Game

By Chandra Orr

September 19, 2008 5 min read

SHE'S GOT GAME

Video games are no longer just for the boys

Chandra Orr

Creators News Service

More and more girls are becoming guitar heroes, getting fit with Wii and putting pink pocket-sized consoles like the Nintendo DS Lite at the top of their wish lists.

As it turns out, they love video games as much as boys do.

From sing-along karaoke-style games to puzzle challenges and pretend pets, the current selection of games is far more appealing to today's female audience than the shoot-em-up strategy games geared toward boys, said Yasmin Shiraz, best-selling author of "The Blueprint for My Girls" series (Simon & Schuster).

With the introduction of games like Dancing With the Stars for Nintendo Wii and Wii Fit, many girls are drawn to gaming as a way to increase their physical activity levels.

"The types of games are far more appealing to girls than they used to be," she explained. "Many girls still don't want to go outside for exercise, but they will exercise in front of the TV."

This has driven adults to consider purchasing the interactive Nintendo Wii system. "Parents who know that their daughters aren't exercising enough are purchasing the Wii and encouraging them to try various games that they know are helping them to burn more calories," Shiraz said.

The smaller size, better color selection and potential for personalizing handheld gaming consoles isn't hurting sales either.

"Girls are paying attention to how these video games are marketed to them," Shiraz said. "The size and color of a handheld game like the Nintendo DS Lite screams 'girly' like a jeweled cell phone."

But before plunking down a firm chunk of change for the latest console, parents need to plan ahead. Girls are just as prone to compulsive game play as their male counterparts.

"Parents should set time limits on video games just as they would set time limits on television," Shiraz said. "No parent should allow a child to think that they should only be interacting with the TV. Young people still need to outside and talk to real people their age."

Likewise, parents should set parameters for when their girls can play, like after all the homework and household chores are complete.

"Video games are a treat, not a necessity," Shiraz said, adding that a 30-minute exchange rate is more than equitable. For every 30 minutes a child reads and works on homework, they earn 30 minutes of game play. "This may sound strict, but there has to be a balance regarding video games, education, going outside and human interaction."

Some of the season's best picks for girl gamers include:

All Star Cheer Squad (Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS): Bring it on! Combining traditional cheerleading, dance and squad-based teamwork, this game gets girls moving for the ultimate workout using the Wii Fit Board. The game features solo and team challenges, the ability to personalize avatars and outfits and choreography from Tony G, who is well known for his work in the "Bring It On" films.

You're in the Movies (Xbox 360): Channel your favorite ing?nue as you live out your dreams of becoming the next cinema star. Using the Xbox LIVE Vision camera, the game transports players into movie scenes where improvisation is key. The camera captures players' actions and places them into short films to show off their hidden acting talents.

Littlest Pet Shop (Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS, PC): Bring all your favorite wide-eyed characters to life as you explore three unique worlds, collect critters and earn Kibble Coins by completing various mini-challenges. Along the way, unlock tons of play sets and accessories for your pint-sized pets.

Mystery Case Files: MillionHeir (Nintendo DS): Seek out cleverly hidden objects as you move through this interactive mystery to discover the rightful heir to a million-dollar fortune. The objects are displayed in plain sight, yet are seamlessly interwoven into one of many intricate painted scenes. With 12 heirs to investigate, 30 detailed scenes and more than 1,000 hidden objects, this seek-and-solve puzzle puts your detective skills to the test.

Peggle Nights (PC): The follow-up to the pinball-inspired Peggle is sure to be as addictive as the original. Guided by characters like Bjorn the unicorn and Kat Tut, an overweight Egyptian feline, players use the mouse to line up shots and eliminate as many pegs as possible. Hit all the orange pegs to move to the next level or use your shot to acquire magic powers, bonus balls and extra points.

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