Friday, June 28, 2013

Girls play video games?!

I remember my first gameboy that I had inherited from Aunt.
Ah, I loved that old brick and the games I inherited with it (Tetris and Pipedream). I loved it so much, that I nagged my parents to buy me the cutting edge technology that was the game boy printer (which I would primarily use to print off my pokédex with pokémon gold).

On my 9th birthday, I received my coveted gameboy color in lime green. This gameboy color saw me through some great times; it would ensure that I wouldn't have to look out of the car window when brought on road-trips through rural Ireland by my parents, it would give me hours of pleasure when I was hiding in the shed from socializing with kids my own age (true story, and it worked a treat!). I distinctly remember playing Zelda: Link's Awakening for hours upon hours. To this day, I would consider Zelda: Link's Awakening to be one of my favourite games and I still spend ridiculous amounts of times playing it on various ROMs. I skipped the Gameboy advance stage, favouring my beloved Gameboy Color.

 The first console I experienced was the Nintendo 64, which my cousins hooked up to my grandmother's small television which was used to play Mario 64. I also remember visiting my cousin's place and being completely fascinated (if not a bit intimidated) with the playstation 1. In terms of console ownership, the first console I owned came in the form the playstation 2. Although I did slip into a tendency of playing some very casual games on the ps2, (sims 2 anyone?), happiness came in the form of Bully (Canis Canem Edit). Bully was defiantly my favourite ps2 game. For a brief period, I left Sony and returned to Nintendo consoles, this time in the form of a Wii. Although, I had some great fun with games such as Mario Kart, Wii Sport and so forth, it was nothing more then a casual experience.


At present I'm mainly playing my playstation 3. Although I dabble in the world of first person shooters, I'm an RPG girl and I blatantly favour open world games. I am a complete Fallout fangirl, it's my favourite game series of all time.
I have dabbled in PC gaming, but at present I am operating OSX and Linux ubuntu, so I have very limited options.

But why you may ask, am I detailing my 'gaming CV'?
Well as you can see, from a young age, I have been very interested in gaming. I would even consider myself to be a part of the gaming community.

So, when I found a series of walkthroughs, weapon mods and so forth on gaming community websites, forums and youtube.. I was very excited. You can only imagine my disappointment, and my somewhat disheartened dispostion when I saw comments saying

"Girls can't play video games lol"
"girls need to get back to the kitchen and make my sammich"

Thinking this douchebagery was confined to certain sites, I began to play online (Halo 2 on my friend's xbox 360 was the first game where I used a headset and I went online), I was hit with more blatant sexism.
And it's never ceased. Although I am referring to a minority, the mirage of ridiculous comments have continued. Usually a comment about my female bodily parts. Or a gamer who is so curious, he's compelled to ask me "are you a tomboy, fat and ugly or playing to get d*ck".

I am not critizing our entire community. Plenty of male gamers treat their female counterparts with the same respect as they'd treat their male gaming friends. Also, this problem is not simply the fault of small minded individuals, but it is symptomatic of a larger problem within the gaming community.
 There are gamers out there who either nerd cred shame/sexually harass female players and it doesn't seem to be going away anytime soon.
An interesting hypothesis arises for said male gamers who have no problem shaming/harassing a female player and in the same breath asking "WHY are there no girls here?!".

Some food for thought comes from all of this...

1. If you play your games on a casual basis, you are a casual gamer. And hey, own that. I don't understand why people view casual gamers as some sort of outcasts. That said, whether you are 'casual' or not, does not have to do with your gender.
2. Think about what you say, before you say it. If you're not open enough to accept the fact that gaming in not a little boy's club, then you're not open enough to be playing online.
3. And at some point or another, you're gonna have to except that we have evolved into a society in which women are respected and treated as equal, again.. you really shouldn't be playing online.

This was a pretty short post, but it is only the 'jumping off' point for a larger post I am in the process of making in which I discuss the history of women in video games.

Here is one of my favourite youtubers, Albinwonderland, with an excellent video in which she discusses sexism within the realm of geekery.

Anyone experience any such sexism/hassle while playing video games? Leave them in the comments below!

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