Thoughts from a (girl) Gamer

Tara Voelker's thoughts. A lot about video games, a little about life

Real Girls and Video Games

By Kat

Game: (geym)

Noun/Adjective (In this instance, a Noun)

A competitive activity involving skill, chance, or endurance on the part of two or more persons who play according to a set of rules, usually for their own amusement or for that of spectators.

Gamer: Gam·er (gā’mər)

Noun

One who plays a game, especially a role-playing or computer game.

There is little known reason why there is a separation between male and female gamers online and in the real world. Some deny it, and some say articles like this feed it. Some say, “It’s all in your head,” and some say, “Girls don’t play games” while others jump the gun to ask me on a date just because I have a little 360 controller keychain on my purse. I am a gamer and have been my whole life. I’ve had every end of it from being hit on to kicked from a lobby because I spoke and people realized I was a girl, even though I pwnd the previous round.

Instance #1 – Left 4 Dead

I was gaming with some friends from an online group called Roam. We had made our game public, for it was a survival, and we wanted fourth team member. My name at the time was “Katia”, which is my standard gaming name, derived obviously, from the common name “Katie”. While we were waiting, I went afk to fix myself a snack. While away, someone entered my team, who welcomed him as they always pleasantly do, and told him that the wait was going to be just a few minutes because I was away. He saw my name was Katia and immediately started throwing out sexist comments about how “women take forever to do everything” and about my gaming skills, or lack thereof since I was set to “away”. My team immediately kicked him, and when I returned, they were very angry. I then changed my name to one that did not determine gender. Another gamer joined and we began the survival. We all did really well, and I was the last to be taken down. I did not speak this entire time, and decided to type instead, to see how different it would make things. When I was comfortable, a few rounds later, I started speaking with the mic and he was surprised to see that I was female. He left the following round without word, even though we earned silver and had developed a working tactic.

Instance #2 – Soul Calibur 2

It was college and I was nearing the final courses necessary to graduate. I was taking a class that allowed us to bring in game systems and play them in an effort to “study” current titles. (We basically just played games and had tournaments, how much better could a class EVER get?!) I decided one day to bring in my Soul Calibur 2 game for GCN, which I had won tournaments with in the past. I was one of the first people in the class, so as far as everyone knew, there was a game on my desk, not that it was mine. A classmate swiped it, and put it in the GCN, not even asking me for permission. I was right there, so I just let them start it up. After a few rounds, I asked if I could have a go. They made me wait; I guess not thinking I was serious? I waited, and then the controller finally came to me. I won. They gave the looser so much crap for being beaten by me which he defended with “I’m not warmed up is all,” regardless of his win streak before me. Someone else grabbed his seat, and took up arms. I won again. He couldn’t believe it, and we had a rematch, which I won. I fought about 11 more matches before finally loosing, and was called “bitch” about 30 or so times. (This happened also in many a Super Smash Brothers Melee tourney.) After much screaming and cheering, some of my classmates told me that they could kill me at other games, and some of them asked me out.

Instance #3 – I’m either fat (which apparently every frowns upon?), or extremely hot and naked, holding game accessories.

This is my favorite one. I’ve read so many blogs about girl gamers online (Just Google it for yourself!) and have seen these classic cases. If you’re a female who plays games, you are one of the following: A naked girl with a moderate to smoking-hot bod sprawled out with controllers covering your flesh, or standing naked (or next to) with controllers, cords, and game boxes conveniently placed in prime locations to make it “classy.”

“Most gamer chicks are fat and lesbo. [I’m] not saying you are, but it’s the truth”

–anonymous

“She later admitted to me that she didn’t really like video games all that much and that she bought the system to impress guys.”

–anonymous

Fortunately, females of all ages are striking back with getting into games under no assumption of how most hardcore gamer girls are being treated.

According to the website http://www.bit-tech.net, ( *to see the full article, click the link at the bottom of this blog ) Nintendo has 9.36 million female fans, Xbox 360 has 1.29 million and Sony recently made it to 1.05 million girl gamers. That means that to the male population of gamers, which is about 33.3 million, female gamers have crept up to 11.7 million. I would find it hard to believe that this population entirely consists of females who are tousling with weight issues or who over expose themselves with an attempt to get the title of “Girl Gamer”. Every girl likes to feel sexy and beautiful, and that’s normal, but to females who take this hobby seriously, or even as a way of life, being judged in this way is sometimes difficult to deal with. So many times I have witnessed girls jumping aboard a conversation about a game, or bragging about how good they are in an attempt to get attention. My favorite part is when I ask them to play with me and they have an excuse in a desperate attempt to not get smoked in front of the crowd. I’m a part of Thoughts from a (girl) Gamer because I believe in the cause. I believe that girl gamers should be liberated, and those who use games to get attention should be called out. I’ve witnessed these types of images before, and when Tara told me about Raychul and I took a look for myself. Is she getting funded for doing what she is doing? What does she do? Does she just dress up as the most scantily clad women in video games, show up to comic cons, and get renown points for it? (lol Fable) Does she game for money? How come I’ve never heard of her name in tournaments before? Does she do what we do on TGG, except she’s more provocative, which equals higher status? I’m sure she’s a very nice gal, and she’s having fun doing what she’s doing. She may even be a really awesome gamer. I have bills to pay, and have dreams lying in the game industry. If I did what she does, is that all it takes to make it in on your own? Not competing or a legit interest in gaming? Or having your writing ability critiqued by professionals on game reviewing websites? I’m not sure, but I’d really like to know. I have a game design degree and big dreams of working for a game company and making them very proud. I will continue doing what I do, and hopefully, it will pay off. I will do it the old fashioned way, with hard work, not showing off my body. I will go on; encouraging girl gamers to stand up for themselves in a mature way when that one sexist person logs on, and ruins their fun. Girl Gamers are real people. The cashier at your grocery store, your home economics teacher, your best friend’s lawyer, the soccer mom that cut you off on your way home from work. I should know! I help them choose new titles to play at my job!

Here are some pictures of me actually playing a game. Not posing with a controller to look like I do something. See if you find anything like this in your “Girl Gamer” Google search…

“Hey, I’m going to take a picture of you!” – Cory

“Huh?” -Me (and my awesome music blanket b/c my apt was FREEZING!!)

And here I am playing and evaluating Fable 2 for my friend in the picture below, fully clothed. Just and average girl, sitting at home, playing games with her friends…

See? Girl Gamers can be normal people 🙂

* http://www.bit-tech.net/news/gaming/2009/11/27/nintendo-we-have-80-percent-of-girl-gamer-m/1

GAME ON!

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4 responses to “Real Girls and Video Games

  1. Kristen January 20, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    This was a brilliant article! I cannot wait to read more of them!

  2. ladieaupair January 20, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    It feels so good to have other women like myself, who kick ass being here with me to write for this site. God, I love you. If you weren’t already married I’d propose.

  3. Kristianna January 23, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    Fantastic article. love love love it.

  4. Rachel March 4, 2010 at 10:41 pm

    Ahh I totally agree with you! I’m not even super amazing at games, but I looove playing CS:S and I do have a girl ish name I guess, but I have gotten “oh wow are you really a girl?” and what not. Same with some other games too. Got to love it 🙂

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