Did it ever come to mind that being a gamer is difficult enough? But being a girl gamer in a male-dominated industry? Even more difficult.
Having been raised on the whole ‘ARCADE’ and ‘CONSOLE’ generation, I’ve heard almost everything from, “You’re a girl! What are you doing playing video games?!” to “You’re such a B****!”
I’m telling you. Having a good majority of guy friends that are gamers, they will back me up when I say that they’ve heard it too when I played video games at the arcade. Other rude males who would talk crap to me while playing; could have been to psyche me out of my game but I highly doubt it. It could have been because I was beating them and they didn’t want to lose to a girl.. Me.
But the did and it irritated them to lose to a girl. Mind you, I may not have been the only female that would walk the floor of the arcades. There are those girls I call LURKERS; they walk around behind their guy friends, their boyfriends, or they walk in with their girl friends; do they play a game? Not all the time. Half the time they stand there, watch their boyfriend or their guy friend(s) play the game all while they stand there. Or if they’re there with girl friends, they giggle, prance around, find some game they think they can play and find out soon enough that they don’t know what they’re doing, which I am sure they don’t care.
For me it was always about being different. I loved the video games – I love the attention it gave you especially if you were good at one game.
I remember battle after battle, round after round of various fighting games and a puzzle game where I know I infuriated people and vice versa. (More of me infuriating others)!
Being a gamer girl is much harder. Guys can dish out the funk, talk crap to each other, and it won’t really be a big deal. Or on the other hand, you get these certain Type-A personality guys who just keep running their mouths about how good they are, how they’ll beat you down like there’s no tomorrow, but can’t back it up with the action. So they get angry… better yet angrier and it usually results in a fight of some sort. Being a gamer girl, I’ve had the run of the mouth syndrome shot at me so many times I learned to turn it into dealing out a smackdown on the video game and not in real life. (I’m a girl, I’m not willing to pound on someone because they’re running their mouths).
I don’t or rather, didn’t know too many girl gamers that would frequent the arcades. There was this other girl who played SFII really good but she never entered the tournaments. She would just play vs. her boyfriend and his friends.
There were random times where some guys didn’t know what the heck was going on because they would see me at a SFII game or a Killer Instinct machine playing.. and they would just stand there and watch me play. Then all I would here is, “Can I jump in?” YEAH SURE. JUMP IN! I have had some guys tell me to go easy on the them on the game. Well what fun is that if I go easy on them, and they’re just buttonmashing?!?!? NO FUN! NO FUN! So I just continued to play the way I normally did. They would lose and I would win. It didn’t do so much for my self esteem, but it felt pretty good to have my friends behind me supporting my every gamer move.
I know that being a girl gamer is difficult but I believe, in my experience, it opened new doors to other gaming opportunities and some really good friends. I’m not saying that the arcade was a breeding ground for dating, but being around these guys for a heck of a long time, they grow on you. And the next thing you know it feels like family. So if there was ever trouble around me, which there was, I had people to back me up because of the fact there were males out there who were… let’s just say, ready to be physical and hit me. And mind you that was just the half of it. I had racial slurs thrown at me, I’ve had people threaten to beat me up after I would leave the arcade. It got THAT bad. And that was just at the arcade. Console gaming was getting rough to as certain guy friends had other guy friends who would run their mouths as well about what a “girl” should really be doing.
So don’t just think that being a gamer girl is easy. There are other underlying issues that we, I know that I, have had to and will continue to contend with.