GameSkinny discusses gender in gaming a lot. We talk about the strong female characters in games. We talk about how there aren’t enough women playing games. We even talk about whether it’s a problem that gaming is a boy’s club. I’ve thought about these topics a lot, but a professor I had in a history class made me think about women in gaming in a whole new way this week.
“Are men responsible for war?”
My teacher asked the class, “Are men responsible for war?” My gut reaction to this was yes. They have more testosterone. They’re more aggressive. They have muscles and they want to use those to dominate others. After thinking about it some more, though, I decided that maybe that’s not all war is anymore. I mean, surely Call of Duty, Battlefield, Assasin’s Creed, Halo, Final Fantasy, Metal Gear, and more have shown that strategy and fast-twitch muscles are almost as important in a fight as muscles and sinew. We have drones that can be remotely deployed now so it’s possible that thinking is becoming as important in war as a good fist used to be. I still wouldn’t want to go to war, but I’d feel better about it if I was doing it behind a computer screen.
My War Game
I don’t have experience with all war games, but I have experience with MMOs. My particular favorite is Guild Wars 2 and I can confirm that GW2 is a war game. Every Sunday and Thursday my guild gets together with two other guilds and we go to battle. My guild leader, Owl, coordinates a dozen of us. He’s good. I kneel to him. I salute him. He’s a fantastic leader. The alliance leader, though, who looks after a hundred players at once is phenomenal. We call her Des. I would go to actual, life-threatening war if that lady was calling the shots.
I would go to actual, life-threatening war if that lady was calling the shots.
What Des Does
- I think Des’ magic is that she is the most patient person I’ve ever had the pleasure of listening to. Maybe not all women could be as calm talking about animals as in the heat of battle saying, “Please regroup quickly so we don’t fail,” but my guess is that on average women can stay slightly calmer than men.
- Des is a master of multitasking. I’ve seen studies that prove women are better at thinking multiple things at once and Des is my real-life example. She can keep track of one hundred soldiers while simultaneously listening to two voice chat channels, fighting herself, and typing to her underlings. Her multitasking skill is mind-blowing. Sometimes she calls to others that I’m dead before I’ve noticed that I’m down.
- Des’ last magical power is that she plans for all contingencies. I know men can do this as well, but planning comes natural to Des and a lot of other women I know. When we start to become overrun by enemies on the battlefield there is always a back-up plan. Des always finds someone to cover our retreat or reinforce our weak point. I don’t know how she can store dozens of possible solutions to any problem in her mind, but she can. It’s amazing.
We Can All Fight
I’m not saying men aren’t good at war or that guys couldn’t multitask, plan, and be patient. What I’m saying is that modern warfare isn’t always sticks and stones. Sometimes fighting is mostly GPS coordinates and tactical strikes. Women can read maps, process information, and manage multiple lines of inquiry just as well as men. Even if men can punch better that doesn’t mean we can’t all fight. Des is better than Owl because she practices her battlefield command every day.