A few weeks back, I read Next_Jen‘s post Just call me a gamer on the reasons for not wanting to be called a girl gamer.
I’ve spent some time thinking about why I play, and how I play recently – and that I agree with many of her reasons, but come to a different conclusion:
I AM a GIRL GAMER. Similar to how I am human first, female second, I am gamer first, and girl gamer second. Just as I do many everyday things the female way, I believe I also play in a feminine way. And there’s nothing wrong with that! It doesn’t mean I only play The Sims and own a pink PlayStation.
To set the record straight: I don’t do pink (The only person I know to have a pink PS is a guy). I don’t do chick flicks. I build my computers from scratch. I am not addicted to chocolate. 😉 I am certainly not your cliché blonde. On the other hand, I can’t deny that I’m also quite girly: I love shoes. I love Johnny Depp. I love clothes, jewelry and make-up. I totally go awwwww at cute kittens. (I posted some details on my inner dilemma in Girl vs. Geek Part One. Let me know if I should see a shrink yet).
So, how does me being a woman affect how I play? Or does it affect what I play in the first place? Some of my all-time favorites are: Baldur’s Gate I+II, Fallout I-III, TES: Morrowind, Dune, Planescape Torment, The Dark Eye Trilogy, Colonization, SpellForce II, Mass Effect I+II, Dragon Age, The Witcher and Tropico II. Are those per se girly games? (Oh, I also loved Rollercoaster Tycoon III, but it was way too easy to beat. That one is definitely girly. Perhaps they thought that girls wouldn’t dig a harder game – which is part of the problem Next_Jen’s been discussing…)
I don’t think my choice of games is too girly. But let’s look at how I play. Say I’m faced with a quest that I can solve with brute force or with diplomacy, a special skill, trade-off, or some such. I’m well aware that this is a cliché, but isn’t there a bit of truth in that women tend to try to solve problems through talking and compromising rather than direct confrontation? I’m not saying that all guys will pick the fight, nor will all girls play nice. But I certainly would like to see statistics or a survey on that! It’d be nice if you commented on your playing behavior! I’m really curious!!!
I think all that dialog and relationship-building in the Mass Effect or Dragon Age series appeals to women more than to men. I totally loved it. Not just the romance part, but all that banter and teasing. Awww, Wynne taunting Alistair about being enraptured with “me” was so endearing (watch on YouTube). And one of the funniest romance dialogs of all times in Mass Effect 2, which I won’t go into because it has early-game plot spoilers (I can reveal more if you’re too lazy to search, just contact me). So there definitely are girly parts in those games. I don’t care for relationship-building and romancing as the sole purpose of a game, like in Japanese otome games or in “Singles”. But I love how you can win a battle and then discuss it with your companions especially in BioWare’s games, it adds so much to your character’s progress that can’t be shown in XP and talent points. And I will admit that I was really touched when Kaidan Alenko grabbed my depressed Shepard’s hand and pulled her up in Mass Effect I. (Literally speaking, you’d have to be “up” first in order to “get laid”, right? But that pun could quickly get way out of control… ahem.)
I would never want the label “girl gamer” to mean ridicule or not being taken seriously. Or being not equal in any way to a “guy gamer”. But if it means “girl that loves games”, I’m, well…. I’m game!
Speaking of equality… *sigh*. Regarding that, I have a bigger question in mind… which I will ponder in my next post.
9 thoughts on “Call me Lady Gama”
I’m a guy and I play(ed) shooters (of course) ;-).
The some strategy games like C&C, hack and slay like Diablo II and World of Warcraft.
I think I am the typical heman-gamer but I really don’t care as long as I have fun.
I also played my share of C&C-like games, and hack’n’slay, though I somehow did miss the Diablo craze! Never tried WoW either, but that happened on purpose! 🙂
And hey, of course, FUN IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF GAMING! 🙂
Kudos! I think the “girl gamer” hater is reactionary. In an attempt to separate themselves from girls who aren’t gamers, some eschew the title entirely. But I think your approach is far more balanced and honest. Being a “girl gamer” doesn’t mean you’re bad at games, but it does recognize that you may approach certain games from a different perspective than males. That’s not a good or bad thing, and we shouldn’t be scared to acknowledge it.
Thanks for your awesome comment!
“I think the “girl gamer” hater is reactionary. In an attempt to separate themselves from girls who aren’t gamers, some eschew the title entirely.” I couldn’t have said this better myself – in fact, I tried but I wasn’t sure how to get it across!
I have to admit I’m curious if you’ve ever fallen for pen & paper games. Sounds like you’re a bit the type for it. The girl-geek that enjoys communication ;).
Markus / Lemming
Yeah that would be awesome. I don’t know if I could keep up with a regular pen&paper schedule though. I have read the whole DSA manual when I was a kid, but never played until the Nordlandtrilogie hit the PC. Probably my most-played game ever was Part 2, Sternenschweif. Last time I played was 2009 or so. 🙂 I’m probably not well enough in the know about the rules for a pen & paper game though…
My apologies, but I doubt that you need rules to play. It’s not that different from boardgames, unless you’re starting a whole new gaming table, you will learn by doing with the others together. If you’re interested I’m pretty sure you’ll find something for trying. (If we ever meet, I’m pretty sure I’m simply give you a spoken invitation as soon as I’m back into playing).
It’s something you should try – if my instincts don’t fool me I sincerely bet you would fall for it ;).
That’s what I’m afraid of – FALLING for another time-consuming hobby! 😉
I’ll keep that in mind! I always got the impression that the PC ports did most of the “rule-work” for you…