Smarsaurous: Girl Gamers

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As you all know by now, I am a girl gamer.  I have been playing games since I was very young, and have loved and appreciated all the hours, days, months and years of fun.  In fact, it was a very long time before I learned that girls who play games were judged and overall not respected for that.  This was most likely due to the fact that I learned what a video game was from my mom and did not have many friends who did not play video games.  Girls and boys both played some sort of games, though when I look back at it the type of games they played varied a lot.  I on the other hand, played both types of games all the time, not just when I was hanging out with a certain person.  I had never really experienced the type of discrimination I would later in my life just for being a girl.
The first time I did experience the type of discrimination between girl and boy gamers was when I was about 12 years old and wanted to play Tony Hawk Pro Skater.  I spent about two hours watching my guy friends play, practically begging to have a turn at playing, but once I finally did I realized I had no clue what I was doing.  When I asked my friends I got a very shocking answer at the time, “Just hit buttons.”.  I couldn’t believe it back then, that my friends who I had been playing games with for so long would just leave me hanging.  As we got older, it occurred more and more often.  Even with my own games, when I would invite people over they would hog the TV and not allow me to play at times.  Now, whether they were just bad friends, or felt that I didn’t care as much to play - I don’t know, but I began to notice it happening with my newer friends.

By this time, the online gaming craze had started with games like Halo.  My parents only ever allowed me to own one console at a time, and since my mom likes Zelda games, we always got Nintendo systems.  This led me to have HORRIFIC skills when it came to FPS and team gaming since Nintendo never really had those type of games.  Eventually I had my own computer, which I did not share with the family, and I started playing games with mouse and keyboard more than controllers.  Tribes and Halo 1 come back to mind and I still struggled with playing them since I was using dial-up and, quite frankly, it was impossible to play an online game with dial-up.  When my family finally got DSL, playing games on the computer wasn’t cool anymore, so I again had to learn how to use a controller, and was downright terrible all over again.

These sort of things have constantly given me a bad name when it comes to playing “popular” and current games.  I struggled so much with using a controller that most people thought I just sucked at gaming because I was a girl.  The feeling of needing to prove people wrong really drove me to try and get better, but eventually I gave up once again.  I decided that I just enjoyed playing the games of yester-year, partially because I was good at them, and partially because I think they are more challenging and fun.

Recently though, I have gotten back into online FPS games again, playing with my boyfriend and my best friend who also is female.  We play the Left 4 Dead series and Team Fortress 2 quite frequently, and my best friend is rather good at them - so much so that when she uses her headset most people will assume she is just a young boy instead of assuming she is a girl first.  In my opinion, she does not sound like a 12 year old boy, but perhaps she really does, I can’t say.  However, I feel that if she and I had less skill at the games we play that mistake would not be made.

With all these points made, it would seem that being a female and being a gamer sucks, or that being a male gamer means you’re a completely jerk; but that is not what I am trying to say.  I am just pointing out the things that I have seen in my long lifetime of being a gamer.  There are biases and people do have different skill sets.  Judging people based on any of these factors is, of course, rude - but it happens.  It is frustrating, mildly stupid, and just pointless in the end because there are girls and women out there that can kick any guys butt in games, and vice versa.  It is a fact that the amount of women who game competitively - or even frequently - is not growing as rapidly as men; therefore the common misconception of female gamers continues to grow instead.

Being able to break through these stereotypes is as much the male gamer’s as it is the female gamer’s responsibility.  Having an open mind to allow women to play games, know they can be good at them, and even expecting them to get good at them will help improve the image of girl gamers on the mens end.  The biggest hurdle for women gamers to get over is the need to “show off” or brag about their skills to men which only serves to alienate them further from the collective group of gamers.  I hope the concept of a more collective gaming community will begin to grow from this and we all will be able to game together better.

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  3. Smarsaurous: Video Game Rental
  4. Smarsaurous: PC versus Console
  5. Press Start 2 Continue: For Gamers by Gamers

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