Date of Award

December 2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)



Committee Member

Eric K. Patterson

Committee Member

Insun Kwon

Committee Member

David Donar

Committee Member

Victor B. Zordan


This thesis document details the design for an original action-adventure role-playing game (AARPG) specifically targeted towards the preteen female audience, ages 10-12, as well as the production of a promotional trailer to communicate the design. This thesis aims to bring this untapped market to an already established video game genre in order to communicate to this young female audience that these games are not “just for boys” by providing a clear example of an empowering and inclusive game that is designed to appeal to their demographic. Given that there are currently no AAA action-adventure RPGs targeted towards this group as well as limited research into the relationship between video games and female youths, a broad net of research is cast in order to design a game that would celebrate this demographic without relying on stereotypes or being too narrow in defining what it means for a girl to be “strong.” Through this work I investigate female gender representation, the current gender biases in the video game medium, and what prevents young females from playing games in order to create a solution that inspires and engages this audience.The complexities of gender development in youths is considered, focusing on how media and other gendered products are marketed towards young audiences and how they can potentially influence their perceived identities. Television shows such as My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and She-Ra and the Princesses of Power are considered as examples of popular media aimed at the young female market acclaimed for their strong storytelling, themes, diversity, and female characters. It also examines games like Kingdom Hearts, well-known exemplars from this genre aimed at boys of the same age demographic. After breaking down the core components of the AARPG genre itself, this thesis presents a game design following this structure with original characters, story elements, and gameplay features that would especially appeal to the target market. From this design, it develops key moments in an animatic for a trailer designed to excite and capture the feeling of empowerment the game would hope to achieve for this audience if it were fully realized as a production.



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