I’ve been wanting to post a rant about this whole gaming industry thing for a while. Especially with the stuff going on online about this. I’m a girl. I play video games…
…and it’s not easy.
I’ve been playing video games since I had the dexterity to hold a controller in my hands. I would play the first stage of the Super Mario NES game and have my dad do all the complicated stuff. As I got older, I would have my dad do less and I’d play more.
When I was a kid, my parents would buy me my games. I wouldn’t have to worry about anything in the world. But as I got older and started to pick out my games, things got a little funnier. Though the former EB Games(now Gamestop) that I used to frequent with watched me grow up and understood that I liked games, a lot of people around me didn’t see it that way though.
I was made fun of for liking games in high school. I used to carry my Game Boy in my backpack to play with it in my free periods. Especially after Pokémon’s 3rd Gen came out. When I hit college, I managed to meet a lot of people who shared my habit. Guys and girls. But, I liked games more seriously than the casual female gamers I was friends with. We’d discuss P3, Tales of the Abyss among other consoles and games. Guys would tear me one when I failed at beating them in a game. I would visit Gamestops that wasn’t the one I would normally go to for rare finds and the guys at the counter would compliment me on supporting my ‘boyfriend’s’ gaming habit. I was usually single when this happened.
Not very pleasant when you have little self confidence either.
It pissed me off that I couldn’t happen to buy a game because I wanted it. I had to be buying that game for a guy. That’s horrible to hear when you’re in your early 20’s, single, and dealing with appearance issues because I was having a hard time comparing myself to girls that were radically different from me.
I did date a guy at some point who liked video games. I learned how to play Guitar Hero while going out with him. As soon as I beat him in one of our VS games, things changed. The first time, it was among a few friends, I was so happy I won for once. I celebrated it and when I sat down on the couch after passing the control over, he wouldn’t touch me. He wouldn’t even look at me. When I asked what was wrong he just screamed at me ‘You know what you did!’ and left the room. I couldn’t believe it. I thought it was because I celebrated it a little bit too much so the next time I won, I didn’t make a fuss. Some of his friends did but I, the girlfriend, didn’t. He still got mad at me. I never played a game against him after that.
So a few years later when I got my Xbox 360 finally after years of pining for one, I had to deal with the harshest part of the gaming community. The one online.
I learned fairly quickly that I couldn’t speak in an Xbox Live lobby, especially in an FPS one. First, the matchmaking tended to set me up in lobbies full of guys from Puerto Rico, (you can tell when you’re in that type of lobby when practically everyone’s gamer tag has a combo of ‘Boricua’, ‘PR’, ‘Puerto Rican’, ‘coqui’ or a combination of all four), on top of people from the US. The fact that I spoke Spanish pissed every US player off and made them call me a ‘Beaner’ or a ‘Wetback’; then the local guys would just fill up my inbox with friend requests. When I would tell the US players off that I’m a Puerto Rican, they’d then send me requests too!
That’s not what I want! I just want to play the game dammit! Leave me alone! If I wanted to play a game with someone, I already have friends who I plan my gaming and co-op sessions with. I don’t need strangers adding me because I’m a girl. I especially don’t need you to call me a ‘hot piece of ass’ through a message just because you like the sound of my voice.
I love gaming, I love losing myself in all sorts of video games. I enjoy immersing myself into these worlds. Some are good, some are bad…and some are just downright terrible. The community is something I could sometimes do without. It’s frustrating to walk into a gaming store, eager to up the version of my Batman reservation (my love of Batman deserves a separate post) to find the guy at the counter questioning me about the game like I don’t know it’s part of a franchise. I’m the one with the love of Batman…I’ve already played the rest of the games and the reservation is under my name. What do you think?!
I can understand that every fandom, every community, has its bad apples. It’s something that I have accepted and come to terms with. But the gaming community has the biggest bunch of bad apples I’ve ever had to deal with. While I haven’t had some of the far out, extreme scenarios as I’ve heard/read by other females online and in person, I’ve still had to deal with the bad side of it. All because I’m a girl. That’s not right. How are we moving up on the equality in other parts of the world but we’re still lesser beings in the entire gaming industry?
This entire rant is namely about the community, something that I’ve been meaning to get off my chest for the longest time. While I experience stranger stuff due to my love of comics, particularly Batman and Nightwing, the gaming community is just really cruel at times.
To finish this gaming rant off on a different note, I do hate the fact that there aren’t many female protagonists in games but it’s not just about the women. There are so many different character archetypes that could be used in gaming but it’s like they’re using the same rinse and repeat formula shounen manga writers are doing. That’s also something about the gaming industry/community that needs to be worked on. The entire issues goes far beyond treating girls like garbage in this community, it’s also about the writing…
…and that’s it. My two cents. It’s off my chest. I’ll go back to my P3P now.