There is always quite a bit of controversy around female gamers - some feeling like the odd one out, not part of the gaming community, hard done by, abused, threatened, sexualised and objectified. I feel such sympathy for those that are treated badly in the female gaming world, obviously, no one should be treated or feel that way.
I feel lucky in that sense because, in my personal experiences of a female gamer, I've never felt that way about being a female that plays video games, even now in 2017. 35 Years
35 Years Online Girl Gaming
I've been gaming or playing video games since I was a teenager when the first Atari and the old arcade games were about. However, I got really hooked when my brother got a Sinclair ZS Spectrum in 1982. 35 years ago! So I'm rather too old to be your typical Girl Gamer but a female anyway.
Over the years I have owned many games consoles - first being the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), (which my mother used to play The Legend of Zelda), the first Gameboy, Sega Megadrive, PlayStation and Xbox, all various different versions. However, it was when I switched to PC gaming that I was introduced to the world of online multiplayer games.
Of course, no one knows you are a female gamer for sure until you speak during a game or tell someone.
When playing online multiplayer games years ago, you were never sure who was a girl or a boy, as all genders play both types of character and you didn't really care. You might get some abuse for various reasons but they didn't know what sex you were, and you'd just report them -
if they were abusive to enough people, they would be banned.
Let's look at research
SuperDatas research in 2014 MMO market report said that 50.2 percent of women are gamers; it seems they include Facebook games such as Candy Crush in this which to me isn't gaming at all! However, I do believe there is a high percentage of females that play video games but I'm not sure it's 50/50.
This research showed that fewer women play First Person Shooter games and Online Multiplayer Games and that 66% of players are men (because allegedly women are not comfortable playing these games with men as they are aggressive towards them). As I've said I do play these type games and not put any problems down to me being a woman. Maybe I'm just lucky, maybe MMO console gaming is different?
During my time playing Online Multiplayer Games, I have met many females of varied ages whilst gaming and never had any complaints within the community! We have played the games using voice chat like Skype, TeamSpeak and Discord. I have found most communities of gamers to be very friendly. Through games like Runescape, World of Warcraft and other MMORPGs (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games) I have made some very good friends, of all genders some of whom I am still in touch with after 20 years.
I wonder if my attitude to gaming is because I was older when I started playing multiplayer games online, I don't get involved with arguments, who said what on Reddit or the forums etc. I just like to have fun and relax after a hard day's work on the internet.
If I'm not helping a game during its beta stage by giving feedback, I just find a game I like and play it - finding likeminded people to play with who just want to enjoy the gaming experience like me. Of course, you do get the odd idiot trying to spoil it for you, but report, and move on.
It's true that some games are marketed towards men in the way women are underrepresented and hyper-sexualised but some are not, as in anything in life.
Experiences of a Female Gamer
I've found more bullies, sexism and threats on social media, not necessarily to do with gaming but more about being able to hide behind a mask of anonymity. Of course, I'm not an expert on the subject, but I have been targeted and stalked online by a "troll" or "bully" but not when gaming. So, I'm just sharing the experiences of a female gamer from a not so often publicised point of view and wanted to do so because gaming and gamers get such a bad press.
My son is an avid gamer, and now an adult has always known it as normal that females play video games and what's more, can play as well as men. He has just got his Computer Games Development degree and has always been amused that his mum plays video games, not because of age or gender, he says, but because I'm still better at some games than him and he's played all of his life. I'm hoping this new generation of game developers will make the difference.
Author Michelle D Harris a self-confessed gamer who runs the Digital and Social Media Management Agency
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