Apparently, I let life get to me again, and I haven’t posted for oh, three months. But I’m not dead yet, and I am feeling better. So why don’t we have a little chat about women and gaming, or more broadly, women and geekery.
If you’ve been alive on the internet, you’ll heard the debate about what constitutes a “True Geek”. And any time trots out the argument about what “true nerds” and “honest-to-goodness geeks” are or do, all I really want to say is this:
Fuck what defines a geek, a nerd, a true believer or whatever.
I’m not going to get into the specifics (see John Scalzi’s blog for info about the Joe Peacock article and controversy surrounding it), but here’s what bothers me.
I spend so much fucking time trying to convince people I’m a nerd.
I do this in the hopes that someday, I won’t have to listen to patronizing crap about how to play my goddamn list. I do this because I want men to stop ignoring me and only talking to my boyfriend about the new awesome video game they played. I do this because I want to be included.
Here’s the thing: I am social awkward. I don’t like situations that involve small talk. I don’t do it well. I want to talk deeply about things that excite me, and one of those areas is games. But even among what I assume are a bunch of other social awkward people who share the same interest, I’m still subtly excluded, told through small actions, tones, and body language that I don’t belong. Granted, it’s not everybody, and some people do notice this and go out of their way to make me feel included, which I appreciate. But it keeps telling me that I am not nerdy enough, not geeky enough, not whatever enough because of something I can’t change. Because real nerds aren’t women.
Granted, this is not what the people on the interwebs have been saying. They only want to exclude the women phoneys, as if they are having Holden-Caulfield-like angst about gaming. But why? Why exclude anyone from a movement that is supposed to be a haven for all those who really have a hard time relating to the normal world? Why say there are rules to being a nerd?
I have to say, if someone plays Farmville and wants to call themselves a gamer, fine by me. Video games used to only be that complex, and yet no one calls Steve Wozniak out for his love of Tetris, which isn’t exactly a Dragon Age or Halo. And that’s the thing: people who play those last two games are both gamers, but may not be able to relate at all because they are interested in totally different games. It’s almost like saying you’re into games is about as helpful as saying you really like movies. Just in general. No genres. Just movies. “I am a movie-goer. I truly appreciate movies, not like those people who watch sucky movies.”
I think that’s what’s odd. Gaming is becoming more widespread as more people start realizing “hey, this is entertaining”. And that’s awesome. I want there to be games for everybody. And that, I hope, will help women not have to defend their interest in a hobby. Because, when you think about it, if you’re not making money playing your game, there are a lot of people more hardcore than you out there. So spread the love of gaming, whether they be video games, table top games, or card games. Because the more people we include in our world, the richer our world becomes.