Friday, 4 May 2012

Girls who Game


Happy Friday!  Before you think someone has hijacked the site I figured I should introduce myself.  My name is Alana and I run http://retrogamergirl.com. OldAssGamer asked me if I would like to do a weekly article on his page and I jumped at the opportunity, so I'll be seeing you every Friday!  Make sure you leave comments and check out my site!

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What’s the difference between a “girl gamer” and a “gamer girl”?  I’ve been doing some research on this recently and all the other articles I have seen focused on current generation games and playing multiplayer online.  I don’t think it’s fair for me to comment on this part since I don’t really play any online games so I’ll be looking at this more from a retro game perspective. 

Figuring out the difference between the types of female gamers has the same problem as when you try to classify casual gamers and hardcore gamers; it’s really hard to pinpoint an exact definition.  In my mind girls like the ones that I know who play older games, tend to stick with a particular series and they are usually the more cutesy ones like Kirby, Tiny Toons or Mario.  They usually won’t go out of their way toplay a game on their own time.  If youwere to ask them, they may play a few rounds, especially if there were guys around to get some extra attention.  Theyare girls first and gamers second, it’s more of a social event for them.  You aren’t going to find them staying up allnight trying to level up their characters in Final Fantasy 6, or spending moneyon games to play.  So I would classify them as “girl gamers.”

Now a “gamer girl” is someone who loves playing games and won’t pass up the chance to do so whether they are playing with other girls, guys or by themselves, it doesn’t matter as long as they get to play games.  The games don’t have to be easy or cutesy.  They can love difficult games like Ninja Gaiden or Mega Man, sports games like Ice Hockey and games like Kirby.  From my experience they tend to enjoy a larger range of games, whether they are on North American systems likethe NES or Japanese systems like the Famicom.  In the end they are gamers who just happen to be female. 

I think there is also an extreme version of the gamer girl.  This is where I fit in the spectrum.  I love all retro Nintendo games; I have a huge collection of NES, SNES, Famicom, Super Famicom etc. games.  I have tons of Nintendo memorabilia, from t-shirts to toys, and DVD’s.  I spend all of my free time thinking about games, playing games, looking up information on games,buying games, writing about games etc. Plus if that wasn’t enough I have tattoos, both Nintendo themed. 

Nostalgia plays a huge part in gaming for me.  The first thing I did when I got my NES wasto collect all the games I had when I was a kid.  It brought back memories of hanging out with my dad and brother when I was young and things were easier.  Back then I didn’t have to work or worry about bills, we could just sit and game all day if we wanted.  Now it has become a way to escape the crazy stress filled lives that we live every day and just sit down and have fun. 

Why does it seem so hard to find gamer girls?  I’ve often wondered this myself, when I was a kid everyone played Nintendo games. Didn’t matter if you were a girl or a boy it’s just what everyone did.  Then as I got older the amount of girls I knew that played games kept getting smaller and smaller until it was just me.  What changed that caused this to happen?  I personally think that asyou get older, games are seen more as a guy thing and that people who play games are more immature.  Whenever someone I know finds out I’m a huge gamer, if they are older than me and particularly a woman, instantly start judging and make comments about how gamesare for kids or for guys.  Women seem tobe expected to be cooking, taking care of the kids, shopping for clothes andall that fun stuff, not spending money on games and spending time sitting infront of the TV playing games.  I think a lot of girls who do like playing games may not say anything in fear of being judged. 

I don’t think gaming should be viewed any differently than someone who reads, watches TV or has any other kind of hobby.  I’ve finally gotten over this and I don’t care what other people think anymore, I think being a gamer makes me a better mom and I’m sure my little guy will appreciate the huge collection of games he will be able to play when he gets a bit older. I have a Mega Man tattoo on my forearm for everyone to see and to remind myself that I am who am I because of my gaming history.  If I wasn’t a gamer I never would have went to the symphony, I never would have met such awesome people on sites likeTwitter or Famicom World and I wouldn’t have the desire to learn Japanese and go to Japan.  Gaming does not make me immature; it keeps me young at heart. 

Let me know what you think. Come visit my site at http://retrogamergirl.comor follow me on twitter at @retrogamergirls