Lifestyle

Too hot to be outdoors? New software just for girls

Her Interactive, Inc., a Bellevue-based gaming company, proves once again that video games are not just for boys.

The designer, developer and distributor behind the award-winning Nancy Drew PC game series is set to release the second title in its hit Nancy Drew Dossier series on Aug. 25. Available for online download and retail purchase, Resorting to Danger is geared toward young and teenage girls, integrating accessible story-driven gameplay and fun with captivating mystery and visually appealing graphics.

In 1995, Her Interactive, a division of American Laser Games at the time, created one of the first girl-oriented games developed in the United States called McKenzie & Co. A year later, Barbie created a video game for girls, proving the market with 600,000 units sold.

Her Interactive created the first Nancy Drew video game in 1998 and brought it before publishers. They were quickly turned away.

“The publishers told us no. They said the quality was good, but girls will never play video games because they are computer-phobic,” President and CEO Megan Gaiser explained. “We knew they were wrong because since 1943, books, games and music have been targeted to females with huge success. I mean, my gosh, females are 51 percent of the population. We weren’t about to give up.”

Her Interactive turned to Amazon to sell its first in a series of girl-targeted video games. Game sales took off, and since then, the company has sold well over 7 million units. The last four games produced by Her Interactive have ranked as number one and number two for PC games in North America for several weeks. The company has also been awarded 18 consecutive Parents’ Choice Awards and the New York Times called Her Interactive the ‘Un-Barbie of computer games.’

“When we first started, people were asking us, ‘Why are you making games for girls?’ Now they are asking, ‘How do you make games for girls?’,” Gaiser said with a smile. “The tables have definitely turned.”

Gaiser joined Her Interactive in 1997 as the Creative Director and quickly moved into the role of CEO. Over the past two years, Her Interactive has expanded to DS and Wii gaming systems. The company has doubled in size and increased distribution to France, Russia, the United Kingdom and Australia, and will soon expand to Germany.

“I have been such a big fan of Nancy Drew ever since I was a little girl, and I think a lot of women relate to that,” said Gaiser, who jumped at the chance to take Nancy Drew off the pages of a book and onto a computer screen.

Gaiser was named one of the “Game Industry’s 100 Most Influential Women” by Next Generation.

“Nancy Drew is such an idol for women. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Judge Sonia Sotomayor, along with former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, were all fans of Nancy Drew growing up,” Gaiser explained. “Nancy Drew has inspired four generations of women because her character is smart, gutsy, resourceful, and in the end, she always wins.”

For more information on Her Interactive and the Nancy Drew games, visit www.herinteractive.com.

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