Thursday, October 06, 2005
Girls and Videogames
Okay - here's the deal. I love videogames. I mean really - I could sit and waste obscene amounts of time playing videogames. It sure didn't help growing up with two older brothers - there are pictures of me in diapers playing Atari. As I got older I watched my brothers write game programs on the Commodore 64 (I pretty much had no chance of being a normal girl - I see that now). So I've always played videogames.
But as I got older and we got a Nintendo, then a Sega - something happened which I thought nothing about at the time. My friends and I would go to each others houses and play videogames. As in girl friends. All of them had some sort of gaming system and sleepovers weren't real sleepovers unless we made the trip to the video store and rented a game. This continued without any of us giving it a second thought until about 8th grade. Then all of us stopped. I don't know why. We probably wanted to feel older, we wanted to impress boys, we wanted to be normal and fit in, and above all we did not want to be embarrassed. It sounds silly now - but at that age anything that sets you apart is a strike against you - and being a girl kicking all the guys' asses at Street Fighter is definitely not the norm.
So - fast forward to college when every guy's dorm has a Nintendo 64 with a copy of GoldenEye. Having not picked up a controller in a while the controls on the 64 seem impossibly complex - but after a few rounds I get good, real good. So I go get my own 64 and rediscover how much I enjoy gaming. Later on when my husband (back then just my boyfriend) and I had a little extra money, he was trying to think of something fun to spend it on. I suggested we get a used Playstation (I realize now that moment probably pretty much sealed the deal on him proposing to me years later). From that moment on I have happily and proudly wasted hours playing tons of videogames on a plethora of consoles.
It makes me wonder though - why just me? All those other girls never started playing games again. And I still have yet to run across women my age who play videogames, but pretty much don't know a single guy who doesn't. Is it still the same old fear of being made fun of? Is there still societal pressure dictating what women should and should not be interested in? I don't know.