Friday, April 25, 2008
It's a bit of a different culture now, but back when I was in college the general belief was that girls didn't play video games, especially not violent video games. Even when I was first on the Internet there was the suspicion that the "girl" in the chat session wasn't really a girl, no matter what the discussion was about. Once in IRC I mentioned that I played Doom and all hell broke loose about how I couldn't be a girl. One guy was really upset with me for faking the persona of a woman. His whole reason that I couldn't be a girl - "Girls don't play shooters."
I've always played video games, as far back as I can remember. We first had consoles and later a lovely Tandy PC Clone. And finally I had my own progression of PCs and consoles after college. And it's not just video games that have grabbed my attention over the years but board games and card games too.
Perhaps it's genetic. My father's never been a big fan of games. He also, heretic that he is in that sense, never liked sports. My brothers got involved in sports on their own, playing in school and later as spectators. My mom though, is a bigger fanatic than I am when it comes to games. I dare not introduce her to MMOs. She'll already stay up all night playing adventure, arcade, and puzzle games. I used to try to pry her away from the computer when she visited, but now I just leave her be. I know eventually she'll surface and we'll spend time together. It's her escape and that's part of what a vacation is about.
Most of the games I like fall into the god games, economic, strategy, and role-playing categories. For a while I gave up on shooters. Recently though I became addicted to Team Fortress 2. I'm not good at it, but it's still a lot of fun.
When I created my Steam account originally for registration of The Ship I didn't really think about online play. Most of my online game play is with a group of people I know, not strangers. So Ordinary Girl wasn't out of line. But it wasn't until I started playing Team Fortress 2 I realized that my name identifies me clearly as female.
I don't use the in-game chat. Matt and the other people we play with use Teamspeak to strategize separately. But every so often I hear someone comment on my name. I wonder if I'm just "that terrible female player." Fortunately the games are fast-paced enough that I doubt most people pay that much attention or really care.