October 12, 2010

Femininty in Pistol Whipping

In Gamer Informer's October issue, they told a girl the only reason why she was being heckled by male players was because she was good at the game being played, and that anyone who outperforms assholes will be harassed by assholes. They completely bypassed the first 2/3 of the letter where the girl described that she was being jeered for being a girl, and then it worsens once the guys learned she could actually play. Since I'm so pleased as to how GI conveniently overlooked basically her entire letter, I thought it was due time to blog about the supposed conundrum of being a nerd and being a girl. Or, how nerds treat girl nerds.

Though, I'll come out and say it, FPSes are a special kind of brofestering pool since games such as Halo certainly aren't nerd exclusive. In fact, the intended audience is MALE MALE MALE MALE. It's only recently that I feel developers have realized that, oh yeah, girls like to play these testosterone driven experiences, too, and try to incorporate female characters for women to identify with. Metroid being an exception here, as Samus as a woman has become more prevalent over the years instead of Samus as a robot that, omg, flashes a bikini at the end.

There's a lot more I want to say about female characters in video games, a lot that I probably should say, but we're talking about how guys ask me to be their baby mama over XBOX Live, right?

I'll be honest, there have been times when my high pitched, girlish voice has caused several interesting experiences based solely on my gender. Yes, I have been asked to be a guy's baby mama. I received a torrent of messages from a user asking about boobies. However, being honest again, the percentage of this occurrence is low. I've spoken to, gamed with for long intervals, and friended for future gaming excursions several males who have been nothing but awesome. Conversely, it's my own friends that take potshots at my gender while gaming.

Am I saying this girl who wrote into GI is lying? Certainly not. I also believe the game being played creates an entire different atmosphere when it comes to interactions. Personally, I find it really hard to take anyone seriously while running around in giant purple armor fitted for a woman who has birthed an entire nation of children trying to shoot down terrified grunts billowing green gasses. Halo is just that kind of a game, intense, but laid back. Medal of Honor? Gears of War? Well, I find it funny how seriously those games and gamers take themselves, so perhaps I'm not the best person to pass judgment here.

Admittingly, I'm not very good at FPSes. I think I'm passable depending on the nature of the match. I'm not very good at platformers, either, and action platformers usually frustrate me endlessly. My friend told me I epitomized the reasons why gamers hate the new generation, and all I could think of was, "Gamers hate people who have fun?" I pick games I have the most fun, and usually these are types of games I find most playable for my abilities. I think it's a bit elitist and ignorant to assume that FPSes and action platformers are the only genres in which Real Games are produced, and that you're not a Real Gamer unless you play them, and often they like to cite my gender as reasons for my apparent deficiency.

Also, how did I miss the oldbie bus? I remember playing Super Mario and blowing on cartridges and that stupid laughing dog.

I want to note here that I find it interesting that I'm ridiculed for my playing habits while they completely cream themselves at the idea of their girlfriend even holding a controller with the intention of play and not trying to organize it with the rest of the living room they had just finished cleaning. That girlfriend will continued to be pampered and loved for rolling a Katamari into a wall while I'll be ridiculed for finishing the roses level because that should be time spent playing a Real Game.

I play tacticals and RPGs. My favorite series is Fire Emblem and my favorite RPGs are Tales of Symphonia, Chrono Trigger, and Earthbound. I love puzzle games (I'm currently beating people in the face with my level 16 in Tetris Battle over on Facebook), racing, and fighting as long as I don't have to string together complex button incantations. Why yes, I do play Smash Brothers, and yes, I do button mash the hell out of any Mortal Kombat type game. There's something about the intensity of a game that directly correlates with my ability to process anything more than KIIILL. And I mean more of an instant intensity, real time. Tacticals can create the biggest headache and strain known to man, but trying to remember how Ivy unlinks her sword into a chain while being beaten savagely in the face with Nightmare's nightmare sword? Uuugh.

Interestingly enough, this makes me exceptionally good at games like Hulk Ultimate Smash where you focus on one singular goal. My boyfriend at the time was so concerned about how to gain the most points that he was easily out smashed by me who decided everything was my enemy and it all equally deserved to be beaten into nothing.

I guess what I'm really trying to get at here is that gaming is supposed to be fun, not about winning or being the best. And while winning and being the best is certainly enjoyable, and that may be the only way YOU enjoy gaming, that shouldn't prevent others from enjoying video games in a different way. If you have fun creating complex love lives for your Sims, shooting people with bullets, or finding that last item to finish your collection; whatever it is that makes you happy, that makes this game fun and worth you time, that's all that matters. That isn't a weakness or a problem with gamers today, and that certainly isn't one that directly correlates to gender.

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