Since joining up here and interacting with several other girl gamers, I have learnt that I’m not the only female who can sit and play a game for hours on end and enjoy that feeling of accomplishment when you finally finish a game. It’s common knowledge that the gaming industry and all things game related is a mans world. But what I’m writing about today is how being a girl gamer can sometimes cause problems when playing online. I’ll also be sharing afew of my experiences of being a girl gamer.
For me, I didn’t class myself as a real girl gamer until I got my Xbox 4 years ago. Now up until this point I had always played games (for 16 years to be precise) and owned nearly every console on the market, but it was never really a major hobby of mine until I delved into the world of Xbox Live. Here, I met a wide range of people, all of whom were shocked to discover that I was girl playing their games. I spent almost every evening playing games and took part in several marathons, all of which took a toll on me when I was in the work the next day. Blood shot eyes and twitchy thumbs – not a good look.
It wasn’t long before appearances became the topic of conversation. Everybody wanted to know what I looked like, and until they saw a picture of me, I found myself crying with laughter at how they imagined I would look. Apparently the stereotype girl gamer is about 200 pounds overweight, spotty, goofy, ginger, wears glasses and has no idea what the word ‘fashion’ means. I even came across one boy who said, and I quote, “Oh My God, what are you doing playing games? People that look like you don’t play games!” Speechless, I managed to reply with “What do you mean, people that look like you?” and he replied “You’re not ugly and fat! You should be out on the streets drinking and smoking and stuff and having a good time”. It took a while for him to understand that I didn’t particularly want to drink and smoke on the streets and I was perfectly happy playing video games on an evening.
The release of Halo 2 was an eye opener for me. For the first time since owning my Xbox I started to play with/against people all over the world, particularly in America. This game is where I received the most abuse but I must say I gave as good as I got and people from my friends list took it upon themselves to stick up for me too. Not to generalise, but most Americans thought that my voice was that of a 5 year old boy playing his Daddy’s Xbox, and I was constantly being asked “When are your balls going to drop?” When they realised I was actually a teenage girl, the friends requests came flying in much to my amusement. Infact, sometimes my gamertag, or the colour of my Spartan suit would give away my gender and without me even saying a word, I would receive a friends request. I’ve been accused of cheating on most online games I’ve played…mind you, who hasn’t been accused of cheating on any Halo game?
I started to find it more and more amusing when people started asking me to be their girlfriend, asking me to meet up with them to go to the cinema and I also got tired of people trying to hump my Spartan on Halo 2! I sometimes played games without saying a word so nobody would know I was female and it’s amazing how much my death rate would decrease so nobody could shout “I killed the girl! I’m going to teabag her body!” But it was also so satisfying when I got my own back. I also got annoyed when people used to t-bone me into the corners on Project Gotham Racing 3. If I was leading the pack I became the target and I’d hear “the girl can’t win again”. Then the cheating accusations came flying in…surely a girl didn’t just beat 7 men in a race?
I do believe that there are a lot of people who dislike being beaten by a girl on a video game. There is still that stigma attached to it that it somehow makes a man less masculine if he gets owned by the opposite sex, but times have changed now and the amount of girl gamers out there now is continuing to grow. In the beginning, when the gaming industry decided to include girl gamers in the gaming world, they got it wrong. Not all of us want to sit and play games like ‘Bejeweled’ or ‘The Sims’, even though those games are fun to a point, most of us love to play shooting, racing and strategy games. I also don’t believe that you can call yourself a girl gamer if all you do is play ‘Brain Training’ for afew hours a day…that’s education, not gaming.
With the introduction of more party games, it’s a stepping stone into the world of console gaming for new girl gamers. My cousin has a Nintendo DS Lite and she currently plays games that involve looking after an animal or dressing up a model. It won’t be long before I introduce her into the world of real gaming *evil laugh*.
Yes I’ve been called weird, a geek, a loser and a sad gamer, but it’s something I enjoy. Yes girl gamers do get grief when they play online, but take it with a pinch of salt, they don’t know what you’re capable of doing when you press that right trigger. This is not a male bashing article as I love the interaction when you play games with male gamers, this is just simply an article about what some male gamers do to annoy female gamers.
Ladies, if you have read the above and agreed, nodded, smiled or laughed at anything I have said, then you are a true girl gamer my friend. Fellas, if you have the read above and agreed, nodded, smiled or laughed at anything I have said, then you need girl gamers on your team.