As a subscriber of Bigfishgames, I play a lot of casual games. Most games I play for only one hour or less (until the end of the demo mode) and I’ve been noticing a trend recently about how the storyline of Time Management building games and Hidden Object Mysteries are increasingly becoming about women saving men who are in distress.
In the Hidden Object mystery games that are about saving a person, it is fairly common to have the plot about the protagonist having to save one’s lover or father. Most of the mystery games are not about saving a person– they are mostly about investigating a town or a case– but those that are about embarking on a quest to save a person are increasingly having a female protagonist saving a loved one of the opposite sex.
While the ‘saving dudes in distress’ theme is not particularly surprising in a mystery game, it is somewhat surprising in Time Management building games. Time Management building games are games where one has to collect resources, build structures that produce resource, and manage a small number of “workers” to get the job done. Because there is a strong manual labor component– common tasks include physically removing debris, constructing roads and buildings– the protagonist of these games are usually men. (These games are different from other time management games that require active moving to create products or deliver services, such as cafe management, baking cakes, running a diner or spa, etc. in which it was common for the woman to be the protagonist of the game)
Some recent release examples include Gardens 3: A Bridal Pursuit, in which the game starts out with an engaged couple who renovate/restore damaged gardens, but fairly early in the game, the man is injured and in a coma, leaving the woman to have to work by herself with tasks such as removing rubble, planting bushes, and building paths. 12 Labours of Hercules III: Girl Power is another example. This game is a series, and in all previous versions, Hercules was the male protagonist restoring cities. In this version, however, Megara, her wife, must free Hercules, who has been captured. The Musketeer’s: Victoria’s Quest, is another example where the gender roles are completely reversed. Victoria is a young lady who wants to be a musketeer and embarks on a journey to rescue the kidnapped prince, which involves mining, building bridges, chopping up fallen trees, and collecting mineral resources. The storyline is obviously historically implausible, as women were not allowed to be musketeers, but it is interesting how more of these games are taking on reversed gender roles. Do they think that such role reversals will appeal to female game players?