29 April 2014

Gadabout Gamers Link-up: Biggest Gaming Regret

Mariko of Gamerwife has a link up dedicated to gamers and gaming culture, Gadabout Gamers, and April's theme is all about our biggest gaming regrets. Perhaps it was that bargain bin game, a potential missed connection on WoW, or something entirely different. We all have our "Do'h!" moments in gaming. Mine? Well...

My biggest gaming regret is not standing up for myself as a girl in gaming sooner.

There has been a lot of real talk going on about the representation of women in games, girls who game, and overall gender equality in the gaming community. It's great we are able to have these discussions now, but when I was younger, they were near unheard of.

Instead of celebrating everybody who games, it was "You're a girl...who likes games? What's wrong with you?"

Instead of just being able to play one another without gender being a problem, it was boys only LAN parties because girls only "ruin games."

While there is still that us vs. them mentality (see the Fake Geek Girl issue), I certainly feel better about my love for video-games today. But as a wee little nerdette back in the 1990s, I didn't have a voice for myself. There was a time I would actually pretend to not be into video-games or other "boy things" because for the longest time I was a vocal tomboy and friends were infrequent. I thought if I tried to fit in by faking what I was, then everything would work out. Kid logic, eh?

Then high school happened. I would wear this Final Fantasy 7 t-shirt all the time. It was my favorite shirt but I had low self-esteem on top of people generally ignoring me because I was a big time goth kid. But an amazing group of people at school noticed my shirt and didn't say things like "I bet you've never played that game!" (Which I have heard a variation of when I was wearing a Trigun shirt one day) and instead we had something in common to talk about and we became great friends. I felt like I fit in and didn't have to pretend to be something else. Something had clicked.

It'd take a few more years before I fully embrace my geeky tendencies while also acknowledging my love for fashion, make-up, and other girly things. Now there are amazing communities like the Female Geek Bloggers and International Geek Girls Pen Pal Club where we can talk about gaming 'till the sun goes down.

We've all had the fortune of growing up when the Internet exploded and have been able to connect with fellow geeky girls into games, to really find somewhere to belong and don't have to act a certain way. We all have the power to make this a much more tolerant community. Yet I still regret not being able to have the confidence I have today when I was a young, awkward little girl who was watching G4TV 24/7 and hoping to one day make my own video-games.

Well, I just make up for it by beating boys in Soul Calibur and Mass Effect online. ;)
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  1. From one high school outcast to another, I can relate. Except for that one time that I was in a Nintendo tournament with people in my class, and I came in second. Only because when it was my turn to choose, I decided to challenge myself instead of play to my strengths.

    Now let's go kick the boys butts!

  2. Amazing post, Steph! I also feel I should mention that I am reading it while wearing my "gaming's feminist illuminati" t-shirt.

  3. Hi :) Great post! I know how it's like. I've loved games since I started school. I was always excited about some game like Zelda and could not stop talking about the next console. I remember one time when had a project at school and we could choose what we wanted to write about. Most people chose a famous soccer player, an artist or a band, I choose Nintendo. I had other girl friends who were interested in games and we used to play Nintendo and Playstation. But as we grew older most of them lost the interest for games, except for me. That's when I noticed that a lot of people looked at games as a boy thing. It got worse when I started playing World of Warcraft and most people I got to know were guys and some were really surprised when I told them I was a girl. Some people would treat me different and not in a good way :(

    Don't be afraid to be yourself and be proud :D


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