Reasons for being a Chick Gamer

July 29, 2003

Snowcone Foreword: I know we got Slashdotted this morning and I know there was a whirlwind of discussion about the article and I felt that some clarification was needed. This article, while it contains much truth, is intended as a satire. Take what you will from it and enjoy it.

I grew up playing video games, as many of you already know. To me, the “chick gamer,” it is perfectly normal and acceptable for a woman to play video games, but to many out there, it isn’t. After attending the Austin Gaming Expo and seeing that my sex was outnumbered I began to wonder why. Gaming is reserved for those with the different chromosomes. Which made me think, in a world dominated by the male sex, why do women choose to put themselves in the position of the minority?

I would like to consider myself a half-way decent gamer. I can play a game all the way through with no help from a cheat book or codes. I can hold my own in a Halo tournament. I know that I am not as good as a lot of people I know, but still, overall I do all right. My little sister is the same way. And, oh wait, so is my other sister. We have embarrassed boyfriends by kicking their butt in a James Bond multi-player game; we have beaten games before them that they have had longer. We have impressed people with our Halo abilities, especially my 12 year old sister. To us, it is the norm. We can play video games with the best of them. But why are our skills impressive or is it embarrassing to be beaten by a girl?

Society tells us that gaming is a hobby reserved for boys. Like so many other things that have stood in the way of gender rules, gaming is one of those things that I think sits in the grey area. A Barbie is for a little girl to play with and a Hot Wheel car is for a little boy. That is a gender rule that is standard in our society, one that most people are comfortable with and understand. (This is not to say that there are not boys who play with Barbie and girls who own Hot Wheels; for there are always exceptions to these gender rules.) But what does society tell us about playing video games? They are for boys and girls until the girls hit puberty and are too concerned with boys and make up to play video games anymore. At this point it isn’t a normal social activity for the female. There are a lot of activities that are shared by both sexes when we are children that become predominantly for one sex as we grow older. I know that a lot of this is changing as gaming becomes recognized as more of a healthy activity to engage in, but I have come up with five reasons why all girls should play in the minority as they grow into young women and eventually adults.

  1. Your social life and Self-Esteem. I talked to the mom of the boy who won the Xbox raffle we had at the AGE and she talked about how good it was when they all got together and system linked their Xboxes for a little crazy massive multiplayer slayer. (So she didn’t word it quite like that, but that is what she meant.) Girls should be able to do the same thing. It would keep them from stressing about which boy dumped them or how they got a D in Chemistry. If there was a positive activity that was practiced when they were together, they would think positively about themselves. Not everyone wins all of the time, but when you do win; you can’t help but be proud of yourself. And playing video games helps you to learn how to work as a team. Not only tha
    t, but your gaming gals would form a close bond that would carry you through the years.

  2. Dating. One thing that is a common complaint about dating is that there was nothing to talk about. So he plays soccer and you are on dance team. You don’t know what an offside is and he couldn’t care less about your new kick routine. The date is a dud. He tells all of his friends that you are boring and you tell yours that he has the personality of a wet mop. Next week, despite your warnings, one of the other girls on the dance team goes out with him. They hit it off. You are baffled. She HATES soccer and she has the same interests as you. You ask her what happened. She tells you that they date was going horribly until she mentioned how excited she was for Halo 2 to come out. They are going out next Friday to pre-order it at their local EB. Most guys play video games, most girls don’t. If you play video games and he plays video games then you have something to talk about. Not to mention something to do together that you both enjoy.
  3. Your Grades. There has been a study that shows that playing video games actually helps you out in the mental department, so why not just play and make better grades. I am in no way saying that by playing video games will make you smarter. What I am saying is that studies have shown that it helps with cognitive recognition or remembering things. So, if playing video games helps me to remember the dates of the battles in the civil war, sign me up for a Halo tournament.
  4. Marriage. Dating will eventually lead to marriage. If you avoided the issue that your man loved to play video games with the guys all of the time, now that you are married you will have to deal with that issue now. If you are a non gamer you spend every Friday night sitting at home watching Lifetime movies fuming that it is almost midnight and he isn’t home yet. Not to mention that his friends resent you for making him come home at midnight. So when you all go out to dinner the next time you could cut the tension with a knife. Now, if you play video games too, you both go over to the guys’ place and play to all hours of the morning and you have a blast. Not only does it save you the trouble of being angry and fighting about your husband’s friends and activities all of the time, his friends love you and are intensely jealous that they can’t find a girl more like you.
  5. The Workplace. It is a well known fact that working in an office is still sometimes a hard task for a woman to conquer. This one applies more for the women of the future then the women now (but it could still be true today). If all boys grew up playing video games and many of them still do in their adult life, wouldn’t it benefit the woman to do the same? There is an X-box in the break room. Your boss goes in there when he gets really stressed about something to play a good game of Halo. You go in there and ask if you can join him. You play a round of Halo with his and voila! Instant respect. (Unless of course you kick his butt and he feels intimidated by you… which is where your own judgment comes in.) He then starts relying on you to do more around the office and before you know it you have a promotion and a fat raise. This of course is a hypothetical situation, so don’t get all pissy if it doesn’t work.

I am not going to say that these are backed by a 100% guarantee to work. All people are different and not all girls (or guys for that matter) will ever be interested in video games. I am in that minority and I love it. I wouldn’t be married if it weren’t for the fact that I played video games. I spent the first summer we were dating staying up all night playing Halo with my boyfriend and his friends. I don’t think he would have put up with me, nor I with him, if I hadn’t been a “chick gamer.” Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying if you play video games you
will find a mate, but what I am trying to say is that it might just be worth it for more of girls out there to join the minority. You might find that you genuinely enjoy yourself.