Thursday, June 21, 2012

This needs to end. Now.

So, I was recently handed an article. Reading it made me want to face palm, and then kind of slowly hide myself underneath my desk to get away from the rest of my gender.

You see, I am both male and a gamer. I play video games, roleplaying games, tabletop games...all kinds of games. And frankly, games are gender neutral. The enjoyment you get out of clearing a dungeon in Dungeons and Dragons, conquering the galaxy in Twilight Imperium, or shooting your friends in the face (recreationally) in Call of Duty Grenade: Grenade of Grenade is not predicated on gender. The idea that it is somehow is sexist bullshit.

Yes. Bullshit. Cow-hoody. Graboid droppings. Refuse.

Games appeal to personalities, not genders.

This is why I'm overjoyed that more and more women are becoming gamers! It means that games are moving beyond the shallow appeals of just a single demographic and into the comforting embrace of true depth.

...then I read things like THIS.

With stuff like this.

“Do you play PC games?” he asked, frowning.

One of the publications on my media badge was listed as PC PowerPlay. It shouldn’t have been necessary for him to ask such a question, but I answered. “Yes.”

“Well, OK.” I sensed a disbelief in the guy’s voice. “But do you play shooters?”
I remember the silence that filled this space beyond this question. I was horrified that anyone could even ask such a thing. Here I was, sitting with my fingers spread across

WASD, admiring a game world — and somehow, for some obtuse reason, being assumed to be someone who didn’t know anything about the world or how to interact with it.

“I think I better play it for you,” he said finally, prying my hands away and turning the keyboard towards himself.

And so there I was, hands twisted awkwardly and uselessly in my lap as a guy walked me through his game. In laboured detail, he explained to me simple mechanics that any shooter player would be well-acquainted with. He avoided the gameplay due to some apparent strange belief that I was not there to learn about shooting things in a shooter game, that perhaps my delicate girl senses might be offended by killing with guns and missiles. He pointed out rabbits in the grass with all the condescension of an adult trying to distract a noisy toddler, as if my interest in this simulation-grade shooter lay in some wildly misguided assumption that it would be full of adorable, fluffy animals.

And, frankly, it's time to stop. Gaming isn't an all boys club. It never should have been, and it shouldn't be now, and that's a good goddamn things. The more people are involved in something, the more outlooks, the healthier that "something" is. Cultures that stagnate, die. They die quickly, or they die slowly, but they die. The only way to stave off that kind of thing is by continual infusions of new ideas, new insights, new thought-patterns.

Imagine, if you will, that games only had boys again. Imagine how stale, how...bland things would become, if marketers, programmers, publishers, everyone JUST made games for "boys" (specifically the kind of "boys" who would threaten to rape female gamers, who would mock female gamers, who would demand that female gamers "show their tits, or GTFO.)

We'd have an endless parade of samey military shoo-




  1. I've seen a bit of discussion of this 'phenomenon' - go to this blog and search for gaming. Never mind, the link includes the search: