I’ve wondered, from time to time, what it means to be a gamer and why, for some reason, there’s a pissing contest about it. Too many times I’ve seen people devalue the way others game. Or the games that others like. As though by picking up a certain character or a certain game a person has marked them as “good enough” or “not good enough” for the subculture. I have found myself rejected from certain groups because I’m the wrong gamer.
When I was about twenty-two I met a boy who I thought was a good guy. We were friends. He noticed me playing a Sonic the Hedgehog emulator in a lab and we bonded. Then we talked about other games, mostly Nintendo and the old school variety. We geeked about Samus and then I mentioned that I always wanted to try tabletop gaming. Excited, he agreed to ask me along with his friends that weekend. Said that they’d help me make a character, ease me into it and that a few of their group were also pretty new.
Then he saw me wear my letters and everything changed. No longer was I a “geek” girl. I was a “Greek” girl and that meant all the difference. Being in a sorority was a blast for me. I met lifelong friends, I really found myself. I learned more in those three years about myself than I ever had before and I ever had since. Was there drama? Of course, did I like everyone in my house? No. But did I enjoy the experience? Absolutely. Being in the Greek system meant something to me. It was a facet of my life like gaming was.
But all he saw was a bitch. He avoided me for the rest of the semester and didn’t speak to me after. I was hurt by this; young and still pretty unsure of myself it did a number on my self confidence. What was wrong with me, really? Was I too close to the line or was I not far enough to the line? What about seeing letters alone made me not be “geek” enough for him?
I had a close friend relate a story to me about a colleague who felt she had to one up a boy in a study by saying “I could kick your butt in Halo”. We both wondered why she felt the need to go along with the idea that some games were “girly” and thus “bad”. She could have easily said that “what does it matter what kind of games I play?” or “Just because I like one doesn’t mean the others are bad.” Instead of that, however, she chose to cement the idea that what a girl in makeup and Greek letters would do is lesser than a girl in a 1up shirt and bare faced would.
Protip? Many still expect the 1up shirted girl to put out. In fact they expect her -while she is renouncing all other female traits- to still give them blowjobs. It’s as though I “belonged” to a different set of men and thus he couldn’t have me and didn’t want me. It blows my mind that most of these people adore characters that are assholes for the sake of being assholes. Glorifying them for being good at something violent and nothing more. I’m not going to purport to know why this is, but it fuels a lot of things.
Like telling me that I’m a bad gamer because I like Eternal Sonata. Or because I play Final Fantasy games that I’m only going along with popular culture. So what if I am? What are my likes to you? Why does the fact that I like something have any impact on someone else at all? I hate to be the barer of bad news, fellow geeks, but other people’s opinions don’t usually matter to me. In fact, if they’re dictated to me, I’m far less likely to give a damn what you think about the fact that I’m a former sorority girl. Or the fact that I think Breath of Fire Four is the greatest game story ever.
What I play doesn’t mean that I don’t play. I’m a gamer. Someone who games. Your games are just as valid as mine are. Not more so, not less. This is no pissing contest; there is no winner or loser, just different types of games. What you like or do not like doesn’t matter to me. What I like or do not like should not matter to you. Your opinion matters just as much to me as mine does to you. Maybe everyone would do well to remember that.