On Girl Gamers and Mythical Unicorns

I’ve been getting really frustrated lately because I can’t seem to turn around without reading something someone has said about how girls don’t play “hard” or “real” games so shouldn’t be catered to (though it is of course nothing new).

I decided to look at the positive and say thank you to you and everyone you work with. Your games have never made it seem weird that a chick or any other minority can be an awesome hero, and you have never made it seem like you were making it easier because you didn’t think we could handle the game play. <snip> — fan message

On behalf of the people with whom I work, you’re welcome. BioWare doesn’t do everything perfectly, and our games can’t be everything to everyone, but we do what we can and we appreciate your support.

I will say that, from a personal standpoint, I just will never get the attitude that some have about girls not being “real” gamers.

I suppose it’s because I’ve been fortunate in that regard. I helmed a D&D club in high school that consisted of mostly girl players. As an adult, I’m blessed with a large group of gamer friends—many of whom are also girls. Or, rather, women.

If I’ve learned anything from them over the years, it’s that one cannot sum up what type of players they are with a simple generalization. Some dislike “rules” (I use quotes because that’s the way they say the word, with air quotes implied) and roll their eyes every time combat occurs. Some are avid rule-crunchers, and will dissect a game’s mechanics until they figure out how to bend them to their merciless whims. Some make support characters only, while others make bloodthirsty combat tanks.

If you want a player who will jump into a plot with both feet, reveling in how the resulting chaos destroys their character utterly (and offers great roleplay opportunities), I know women who’ll do that. If you want a player who will obsess about a game, talking about it with other players even when it’s not running—to the point of having side-scenes with other characters—I know women who’ll do that, too. Some of them are definitely casual players, others are so hardcore it would make a reddit nerd weep with envy.

When it comes to videogames, some mostly play MMO’s, some mostly play action games (the more violent the better), some mostly play CRPG’s… and others have little to no interest in videogames at all. Some of these women play videogames more than I do, with the skillz to show for it.

Here’s the thing: these facts are all true for my male friends as well. There is absolutely no difference.

Maybe I’m just fortunate, and throughout my life have stumbled across fabulous unicorns who exist nowhere else in the world. I think it’s more likely that, when there are guys out there who dismiss girl gamers, they just don’t know any.

Perhaps they need to get out more.