My Love and Hate of the Gaming Industry
I've been a gamer for 30+ years, so I've seen it grow into the marvel it is today. I fell in love with the idea of controller/console and PC/mouse/keyboard. The whole concept of playing a game on a screen where I could become my character and escape from the real world was genius to me. I played with my family, friends and by myself, it didn't matter, gaming was awesome.
Being around gamers my entire life, I've learned and seen a lot. You have your console gamers, PC gamers, different genres, single-players, multiplayers and everything in between. Yet it's always been formerly dominated by and known as a "Boys Club". To be a girl gamer was odd when I was younger and now that I'm older, only little has changed in that "idea" of a female gamer.
The Frag Dolls
Everyone has their own definition of what a "gamer girl" is and isn't but who decides? Who gets to determine whether or not a girl/woman is a gamer or not? Geek, gamer, nerd... all once were names of shame but now it's as if it's an elite status, some form of royalty. This is what I HATE the most.
I read/love comics, I'm a writer, love science, love playing video games on my consoles and PC, love superheroes (I have a Top 5), love watching anime, love computers... did I say I love video games? I can easily spend hours and hours on playing video games completely forgetting what time it is. I have certain types of games I really love and others that I'll just play. Does this not qualify me as a gamer?
I can't stand when I'm online on my Xbox and I'll get hammered by immature boys on being a female. The very idea of "me" either provokes an onslaught of insults towards my gender or sexual comments/questions that can be so deplorable that I need to clean my ears with Clorox. On top of this, it's immediately assumed I'm on my boyfriend's console, I don't know how to play, girls shouldn't play or I'm told I'm not a real gamer.
What is it that gets people so wound up on those two words... girl gamer?
I can't tell you how many times I've been questioned on my "authenticity" of being a gamer. I've never been on a job interview that was more grueling. Why do they do this? What's so hard to understand about female gamers? What makes the pervert come out when you hear a female voice on the other side of the mic?
Yet, with those who are level headed, I love being part of a community. The gaming community has some wonderful people out there who are accepting and giving. I love being around people that I can be my dorky self with and not be judged for playing games. Where I can talk about cosplay, anime and not be thought of as weird. I met my fiancé through gaming and I feel lucky for it. Having positives in an industry that saved my life during my darkest period is a privilege and I'm truly grateful. Gaming was so vital to my recovery in a way that no amount of money to the best therapist could've helped.
Going to a con is like going to a family reunion (in a sense). You're so happy to see your loved ones, talk about everything that's new and exciting and then you have the other family member or two that you wish couldn't make it. Yes this is the gaming industry, with its good and its bad but one that I love.
Originally Published Feb. 14th 2014