Gaming Diary – Confessions of a Female Gamer (Opinion)
The scenario is all too familiar: Getting home, kicking off the shoes, sitting down at the PC with an infinite Steam library and nothing to play. So I scroll incessantly through the list 4-5 times and settle on the same few MMO’s I’ve played before. Yet, I am still incredibly unfocused, and dare I say it? (Yes, I have to) I’m bored! World of Warcraft doesn’t do it for me anymore. Final Fantasy XIV was fun for a while, and Neverwinter was something I leaned on when I got bored of everything else. I’ve been told multiple times that when it comes to gaming I need to expand my horizons. I agree, and part of me really wants to but the other part of me stays with what I know or what’s comfortable to me. In other words, I’m afraid.
I’ve always felt like I’ve had something to prove to the gaming community because I’m a female. I always had to be so “1337”, so epic, because I would constantly get met with “you’re just a girl, and girls can’t play video games.” I would find what worked for me, and what wouldn’t. I steered clear of any type of first person shooters (FPS) because I’m quite terrible and when I do play (on the rare occasion) I am reminded that it is because of my gender that I am unable to compete. Sometimes I think it to be true, but then I remember ganking the same naysayers in Arathi Basin on my level 19 subtlety rogue, fully equipped in the highest level items, potions, scrolls and poisons. So that’s where I would stay, because I felt always like I had something to prove.
I can no longer count on both my hands and both my feet the amount of times I’ve been made to feel inferior for being a woman who happens to love video games and the fantasy worlds they bring me to. There was a time I had joined into a conversation (back in Burning Crusade times) discussing talent trees and which talents worked best for a combat rogue for max DPS (damage per second). I wasn’t even able to finish my thought before I was stopped in my tracks, and harshly at that. The young man before me scoffed, rolled his eyes and smirked as if he were satisfied with himself. I remember him saying “Jess, shut up. You know your boyfriend set you up with it, you’re just a girl.” Just a girl, huh? Sure, but we both knew that I ran circles around him and topped the DPS meters with a whopping 85k at LEAST. Of course this person had nothing to say, and still hasn’t spoken to me. It’s been more than 3 years.
Now, on the opposite end of the spectrum, there are those guys who feel the need to hit on me (and take it way too far) because of my gender. Because I am a “girl gamer” I am either hated or worshiped when in fact, I’m just a person trying to play a game to escape the realities of adulthood like anyone else out there. Many of the times when I deny the advances of my peers, it flips to the “well you’re just a girl, what do you know” mentality.
Needless to say, part of me is still terrified to have to deal with the same interaction that I have come to expect as a woman in a male dominated hobby. I contribute that to being the reasoning behind my fear of broadening my gaming pallet. I have a tendency to stick to what I know because I’m confident in knowing the dynamics of the game, and can easily handle myself against the naysayers. I just wish that gaming was even more of a connected community and that gender had nothing to do with the quality of one’s ability to play a type of video game.
I wish on my behalf and I’m sure on the behalf of many others that I could just play what I wanted and be as shitty and I was and just be able to enjoy myself. I wish that I didn’t have to face ridicule and discrimination on my game performance on anything but my that; my performance. I also wish that I didn’t have to worry about some guy getting too comfortable and coming on too strong. Gender shouldn’t play a role and I shouldn’t feel forced to play the same four games and get bored because I’d rather not hear the hate.
Picking up a controller for a console also seems scary to me. I have no truly played a game on a console since Sega Genesis (I realize I just dated myself, it’s all good). I’ve dabbled here and there with various consoles regardless of the manufacturer. However, PC is normally where I feel most at home. I recently attempted to play a console game and started with Dark Souls III , which was clearly a poor choice. Dying a million and one times in the tutorial was enough to stir enough nerd rage inside my soul that I rage quit and just said “screw it”. I’m hoping that there will be some game to really push me to using consoles, although with my latest set PC build, I doubt it’s likely.
Maybe, just maybe, I’ll woman up and grab the nearest in-game sniper rifle and collect head shots on the enemy team. Keep an eye out, you never know! Also, keep in mind, I can nerd rage like the rest of them.
(DFTG Note – this team is made up of wonderfully talented men and women and the co-owners are Chewy and LiLi. A lot of us are in our 30’s and grew up in a time where gaming culture wasn’t as “big” or accepted. Less so for women. When discussing if this piece should be written, all women team members unanimously felt this way at one point or another. Though the gaming community has grown exponentially from “back in the day”, this piece is an opinion piece based on personal experience. Please keep all commentary respectful, thank you.)