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Posts Tagged ‘girl gamers’


Sunday, July 18th, 2010

The world of online gaming (and particularly in-game chat) is perhaps not the most mature of places you’ll find in this world. At best it resembles a school playground, at worst, a lynching. I don’t know if it’s because you have a group of people there for light-hearted fun, and accordingly they don’t take it too seriously and therefore tend to ham it up a bit, or whether they’re genuinely just adopting keyboard courage and trying to antagonize for fun. Whatever the reasoning, it’s something we all have to deal with. There are jerks everywhere in this world, and the online gaming world is no different. Whether you have an accent, can’t speak great England, or are one of those allusive “girls” on the internet (OMGHAI2U), there are times where you’re going to be picked on through in-game chat. Obviously you can shop around for a server with a better awesomefolk:douchebag ratio, but it is inevitable that while trying different servers on to find the right fit you’ll come across immaturity, racism, sexism, homophobia and explicit language.

I’ve been asked a few times if my gaming experience is different online because of my gender, and to be honest I think it’s different for everyone that isn’t your everyday white dude. If there’s something that makes you different, certain people will hone in on that and kick the can a bit. For those like me with a thick enough skin to be completely at peace with telling someone to go fuck themselves, I don’t mind so much. It’s par for the course really. But not everyone is built that way, and even then there are some days when I just can’t be bothered with the “OMG ARE YOU A GURL!!!1 Buttsecks?” and just want to play games. Which brings about my confession. Sometimes I play incognito. I don’t think I’m the only one either, I’ve seen many girls playing online with masculine names or no hints towards their gender at all. I turn off my mic, change my avatar and adopt a non-gender-specific display name sometimes. Usually I game as “Coz”, and find this supplies me with sufficient camouflage while “HelloKittyTeeHee” and “SweetiePie1990” are being set upon.

However things might change. Soon I might not get the option to play incognito. This month we’ve seen a bit of controversy over Blizzard’s RealID scandal. For those that don’t know, the Blizzard Real ID system was going to instill a measure that meant everyone could see your real name if you posted on the forums. This was planned to be a way to tackle the problem of forum trolls and general nuisance accounts (instead of, I don’t know, actually moderating) with the hopes that everyone knowing everyone’s first and second names would bring about some accountability and make people think twice about their actions. Great in theory, but not so great when you think of the real world applications. Thankfully due to the backlash Blizzard have changed their minds, saying they will not release people’s real names on RealID. It was never going to be an in-game thing, it was restricted to just the official forum, but it could have opened the floodgates for other games to follow, and for the eventual integration into game play. I’m hoping that never happens.

So while I can still play as whoever I wish, there will be days where I just can’t be bothered with the crap and will be quiet and just keep my eyes on the prize. But I think my days of needing the cloak of invisibility are coming to a close. That which makes me different is becoming less of a rarity. Soon I won’t have to bother, and that pleases me. Let’s all focus on what makes us similar instead of what makes us different. We all love games, so let’s focus on that and get on with it. You think? Awesome. Good talk. Let’s go kill some zombies.

Help! I’m in a nutshell!

Friday, June 25th, 2010


Why am I in a nutshell?! How did I get in a nutshell? Who put me in this nutshell?! I’ll tell ya who. The dullard who wrote this, on wiki.media-culture.org:

“Whilst there are some video games that appeal to women there is a greater need for games to be designed by women for women. The video game industry must recognise the growing need for more female friendly games. Most women want to play games that encourage interaction between users and help foster friendships and relationships.”

I’m sorry what?

I don’t need my games made by women for me to find them interesting and relatable. Define a “female friendly game” exactly, you condescending prick. Are we supposed to only enjoy point-and-clicks that contain an abundant amount of pink and glitter and rainbows? That sucks, I freaking hate pink.

There are some issues with equality in games, some big ones, and I’ll write about exactly what’s wrong with it in-depth one day, but you know what? I signed up for it when I started pursuing a male-dominated past time. There are things the industry could do to make it nicer for women, but I don’t think it involves pandering and changing industry policies and actively trying to make women like games. There’s no push for the sewing industry to include more men for the sake of gender equality. Why do we need to do that in games? Gamers come in all different shapes and sizes, I don’t want to be categorised as a “girl gamer”, I’m happy with just “gamer” thanks. It’s reminiscent of the Actor/Actress debate. I get annoyed when people feel the need to put people in boxes like that. Can’t I just be under the “gamer” umbrella? Why do I need special games just for me? Why do I need to be pandered to and condescended because a game might make me feel sad about my self-image. Puh-lease. Give me what everyone else is playing, if I don’t like it, I’ll put it down and try something else. I’m a big girl.

Mentoring women designers in the games industry purely because they’re women is dumb. You shouldn’t get a job purely because of the genitals you were born with. We’re not all precious, timid, unique little butterflies that need to be taken care of. If a girl wants to work in games she should work her butt off to get there, just like anyone else.

Yes, a lot of women video game characters are hypersexualised and overdone. But how many Average Joe’s do you see playing male video game characters? Does Kratos make boys skip lunch and feel bad about themselves? It’s a caricature. A larger than life depiction. It’s par for the course. You don’t see a call for male characters in video games being dulled down because it makes the men feel inadequate. Suck it up girls! We’re stronger than this. You don’t need your character to resemble you in any way in order to enjoy it. Relate to their mission, their objective.

Stop treating girl gamers as different. We’re not, we like games, just like guys. We don’t need a special “section” in development houses populated entirely by women, making games for women. What gamers look for in a game is exactly the same no matter who they are: entertainment and escapism and FUN. Stop trying to suck the fun out of it by making sure no one is offended or upset. They’ll vote with their wallets if they don’t like it.

It feels good to get that out. Breeeeathe…. Rant over. I gotta zip!

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