What Nintendo Wii Game Should You Get Your Daughter? Positive Video Games For Pre-Teen Girls
If you go to your local Gamestop and ask "What Wii game do you think my daughter would like?" chances are the store clerk will point you to a Barbie game or the latest Hannah Montana property. The bad news is that these games and other typical "girl games" are almost universally awful. This isn't because video games for girls are bad, but it is because the most obvious examples are also the ones developers spend the least amount of time on. Plus, these are all licensed properties. A general rule of buying video games, whether it is for your daughter, son, uncle, cousin, or yourself: if it is based on a movie or television show, nine times out of ten it isn't going to be too hot.
Too many "games for girls" are excessively pink and feature nothing but princesses, ponies, and fashion design. These games condescend to their audiences. Young girls have an imagination that far exceeds the artificial constraints mostly male game designers like to impose on them. Although there are often some gender differences in game preference, the divide rarely has to do with how much the color pink is used in the game
Things Pre-Teen Girls Look For In Nintendo Wii Games
When buying Nintendo games for your daughter, consider what your child is interested in. All kids like bright colors, friendly, whimsical graphics, and settings that inspire the imagination. Girls in particular tend to trend towards games with customization, character interactions, puzzle solving, and relationship building.
- Customization - Games that let your daughter create a character that fits her personality are important tools. Too often society dictates what pre-teen ladies should and should not be. Games with customizable avatars allow them to create the self they want rather than what a marketing department decides for them.
- Relationship Building - Studies have shown that girls develop an understanding of complex social interactions sooner than boys their own age. Games which feature characters building friendships often are of more interest to girls.
- Puzzle Solving - Some girls tend to be more analytical and less competitive than boys. Puzzle solving games are a challenge against the self rather than an outside force.
Likewise, not all types of games are right for the average pre-teen woman. Here are a few quick reference points to use when deciding if a game might not be a great fit for your daughter.
- Are Women Treated As Objects? - Too many video games display an unrealistic portrayal of women. Often they are scantily clad, over sexualized compared to their male counterparts, or treated as the reward at the end of the quest rather than equal characters. Find a game that gives girls a positive role model instead.
- Is the game about male dominated sports? - Football and basketball games can have too much testosterone for even a lot of grown dudes. Unless your daughter has expresses an interest in male prosports, consider a different approach.
Nintendo's Animal Crossing has just about every item on the list that pre-adolescent female gamers are interested in. This game features extensive character customization, emphasizes building lasting friendships, and offers a wide variety of self-directed activities to the player. Also, while many girls enjoy it, there is no artificial "girliness" whatsoever.
In Animal Crossing, players join a bustling town full of personable animals. The player is outfitted with a home to decorate, jobs to perform, and a mortgage to pay off. Spend the day catching bugs, designing clothes, making music, hanging out with friends, finding dinosaur bones, visiting the city, and all other exciting diversions.
This is a game with no beginning and no end: players simply live their lives and enjoy the company of their friends. Players can visit their friends towns as well, making for an exciting "show-and-tell" session where they both get to share their hard work with one another.
This long running series has been one of the oasis for mature, safe gaming for young girls who aren't interested in princesses or popstars. Definitely check it out to encourage your daughter's creative side.
Cooking Mama Series
An argument can be made that the Cooking Mama games are too stereotypical for young women. After all, they are games where the female protagonist's primary concern is cooking, cleaning, and raising the kids. But the titular Mama is more than just a happy housewife: she is a hardworker, a breadwinner, and most of all, a decent person. Although the subject matter may be somewhat cliche', Cooking Mama shows an industrious, self reliant woman with patience and grace.
The casual gameplay in the Cooking Mama games offers a lot of different gameplay options without a lot of stress. Kids play mini-games, plan out recipes, and help Mama get the job done right. This inoffensive games has amused kids and adults alike for years and the games never stop being fun.
The latest game takes Mama out of her role as head chef and into her role as day-care center manager. This innovative Nintendo Wii game is perfect for girls (or boys) who might have a new baby brother or sister coming or have aspirations of being a babysitter themselves some day. Rather than using typical controls, the game comes with a plush "baby" that you take care of alongside Mama. This unique method of interacting with the game makes Babysitting Mama something special. Check out any of the "Mama" games for your daughter if they're interested in puzzles, social outreach, or cooking.
Just Dance 1 and 2
Athletics are important for kids and the Wii provides the opportunity to integrate exercise with gaming. The male dominated world of the NFL and other pro-sports leagues can often be disinviting to girls. If you're interested to introducing them to sports and friendly competition, however, the Just Dance series is girl friendly but not condescending.
The title of Just Dance says it all: kids pick up their Wiimote, follow the directions on screen and have an old fashioned dance off. Move your arms, tap your feet, and learn all the moves to beat your opponent.
Of course, Just Dance isn't just a Wii game for your daughter. The entire family can enjoy this interactive experience.
Super Mario Games
The Super Mario Nintendo games have long been stepping stones into the world of videogames. Although the storyline often features the famous plumbers rescuing the princess, women are generally treated with respect in these iconic action-adventure titles. Parents can always trust that there will never be anything inappropriate in a Mario title. Rather than confuse or enrage, Mario titles will almost always spark the imagination and add a sense of comforting wonder into an otherwise dull game.
Of course, the Princess isn't always in need of a rescue. She's starred alongside the boys several times and has even hosted her own title. Gamers of any gender will enjoy games like Super Mario Galaxy 1 and 2, The New Super Mario Brothers, Mario Party, Paper Mario and a whole slew of other titles. And girls won't feel pressured to be anything other than who they are. These are some of the best Nintendo Wii titles to consider when purchasing a new game for a girl.
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What if my daughter doesn't want to play "girl games?"
No two people are alike: if we can't pin just two people together, it is foolish to assume an entire gender will act the same. Although there many be some typicalities into what one gender perfers over another, there are no hard and fast rules. If your daughter is more interested in shooting guns, playing Madden 11, or taking on any opponent in a martial arts game, encourage her! You gain nothing but an unhappy daughter by trying to shunt her into a category.
More than anything, respect for child's interests is the most important thing. All girl's might not enjoy "games for girls", even if they managed to avoid the usual feminine stereotypes. But all girls who enjoy videogames deserve the right to enjoy quality products which feature role models they can look up to just like their brothers do. There's no harm in introducing a number of different types of activities into your child's life so they can find out what suits them. Just don't try and paint them into a corner.