Choice of Games Icons and Gender

Interesting question I’ve had for a while. A user just asked on the Undercover Agent thread whether you have to play as female. I assume they asked because the icon/splash shows a female figure. Our Choice of Games games are never genderlocked, so unless a genderlocked NPC is in the coverart, the art is a “suggestion” of the PC.

Some games’ icons include male figures (Psy High, Deathless, Vampire 2, It’s Killing Time, Grand Academy, Moreytown, Ratings War, Hero Unmasked, Tally Ho), some include female figures (Superlatives, Undercover Agent, Rock Star, Vampire, Versus, Deathless: City’s Thirst, The Orpheus Ruse, Heart of the House, Demon Mark) some include both (Heroes Rise, Kung Fu, Hollywood Visionary, Treasure Seekers, Slammed), some appear gender neutral (Midsummer, though could read as male, Robots, Pirate, Champion of the Gods.)

My question: does this influence whether you purchase a game? Consciously or not?


I don’t really look at the art when I buy text games…some of my favourite IF have my least favourite covers, and vice versa as well; there are a few covers I really like but I didn’t care for the game.

But maybe long-time followers, forum-goers, and the like are generally the least likely to be influenced by cover art?

I know for other types of games, if I look at the art, it’ll be the in-game art and not the splash since they’re often rather different.


(FWIW, Vampire 2 is illustrating a specific NPC.)

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Nope, dont even think about it. Gender in the game doesn’t even matter to me tbh


Oh right, good point! Interesting, too. Which game icons show an NPC specifically? Robots, Creatures Such as We… ?

“Splash” is the in-game art for us lol

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Ha, true. I was thinking more for games where most of their game art and their still art aren’t quite the same.

Weirdly, I’ve never thought of the splash art as being ‘in-game’, since it comes before page one of the actual story. Illustrated title plate?

That might be another factor…I tend to think ‘book’—so I expect cover art on fantasies, for instance, to be very non-representative of pretty much anything (whether it’s the contents of the book, the world, or et cetera). CoG is much better about this, but I’m still in the habit of taking anything that feels like package/advert art with a few shakers full of salt.


It’s interesting to me how our art does and doesn’t match my expectations/imaginings for the world. “Illustrated title page” feels right, btw. <3


I personally don’t care whether or not the cover art has a specific gender if anything I look for quality art. That is how I choose a game. But if it does have a male on the cover art it does catch my eye a little more than a female or gender neutral. More relatable to me

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I find this question interesting for a lot of reasons, not least being that women represent a larger portion of mobile gamers than men, though it’s unclear what the exact gender distribution of COG customers is.


That is why i believe it’s best to use a symbol from the game and use that for the cover art because it broadens the demographic and appeals to every gender. Also, having cover art for a character in the game ruins the character that you had in your mind.


That’s a good point…on the other hand, I seem to remember there being some research about faces essentially selling art-related products better (one reason why so many classical musicians have some kind of portrait on their CDs, even though it’s not always of them), partly because eyes tend to be drawn to faces. I’d have to dig to find the research though, unfortunately, hmm.


I strove for gender-neutral icons for all my games, although I think Paradox Factor looks a little male, the Lost Heir people are wearing cloaks to keep it vague. :slight_smile:


Love a good cloak, yo

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I definitely consider the splash page in making my decision. Generally, I’ve found that if I like the ‘vibe’ of the cover, I like the ‘vibe’ of the story.

And yes, I think showing a character or characters is much more eye catching. Covers with items like swords or such don’t grab my attention nearly as well.

And I plan for CCH2’s cover to feature 4 or 5 characters. I’m going pretty much full ‘pseudo comic book cover’ mode.


What splashes vibed you?

Moreytown, Midsummer, Rebels, to name a few. I thought they all delivered on the tone: gritty/noir, playful romp, intense struggle. Deathless was simple but conveyed the story well.

CoG has a whole has done a hell of a lot better on covers in the past 2 years. It’s impossible to prove, but I would think those superior icons have helped boost purchases at least a little. People are so visual.


That brings up the question whether color pallet or characters effects a player choice more when buying a game. You could have a gender that the person likes, but the person doesn’t like the colour pallet so they pass up looking at the game. So, I guess gender does affect ones decision, but i also believe colour does play a role as well

I would hope that it helps sales. We seriously need to do an analysis of icons. But at the same time, it’s so hard to isolate factors with sales. For instance, Steam’s discoverability changed in the last two years, so how does that impact overall sales, etc.

Yes, agreed, colour, and probably very much art style too. (Western-cartoony? Realistic? Anime?) Art style and story genre expectations come into play too, then, I think.