Geek in Gear: Why ladies play video games

Every once in a while, I see some confusion about why some humans of the female type play video games. I’m not sure why this is even a thing, but hey, who am I to judge? I am going to spend a moment talking about it, though, because it’s kind of a legit concern of mine that some people really are clueless as to why ladies play video games. Like, these things are some of the biggest time-sinks in the world. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve shirked on homework this semester because I couldn’t resist the urge to perfect the double-assassination technique (I’m about as stealthy as an elephant on the prairie) or upgrade the Jackdaw (hooray, I can blow up higher-level enemy ships and steal all their stuff).

Yes, “Assassin’s Creed IV,” which I lovingly call “Pirate Assassins,” has maybe consumed my life.

But anyway, enough about my obsessions. Let’s talk about why ladies, at least in my experience, play video games, because while we all do it for as varying reasons as guys, there are just some things that I do like to see in my games that might shed some light on the situation for some poor, uninformed soul out there.

They’re pretty.

OK, this is totally likely a personal preference, but seriously, who doesn’t like a good-looking game? There’s just something about watching the way individual hairs on a character’s head react to the wind or the way the rain darkens fabric. Although I realize that might entirely be the graphic designer in me.

I know the level of awesomeness of a game should mostly be about how great the plot and gameplay is, but if I’m going to be staring at it for hundreds of hours over the course of its life, then it certainly doesn’t hurt to stare at something that just looks good. Besides, I may as well get my money’s worth out of my graphics card.

Sometimes, the characters are hot.

We had a nice discussion at one of my jobs the other day about video game crushes. It was a fairly energized discussion, because it is a fairly hot topic (you may shoot me in game for that). We did find out that one of the guys has a thing for a certain lady character with a whip, while another was perfectly fine admitting his first crush was Princess Peach, and the lady participants, me included, were more than happy to gush about our own video game likes.

Yeah, it’s sort of silly, but hey, lots of people find fictional characters attractive. In fact, designers consciously make characters certain levels of attractiveness based on current social standards. Again, it’s the whole “you’re going to be staring at this person’s face and butt for a LONG time (unless it’s an FPS, but even still — cutscenes), so they better either be interesting or good-looking.” And dang, do those designers do their job right.

Our friends/family play them.

Most of us got into gaming because someone we know introduced it to us. I remember my introduction to the gaming console. I was a wee little child, maybe halfway through elementary school, and when the boy next door came over with his Nintendo to hang with my little cousins, he told me I couldn’t play his copy of “Zelda” because I was a girl.

Yeah, he was kind of a sexist jerk.

One can only wonder how many excellent and fun gamers the world is currently lacking because of all the other jerks out there who like to think they’re somehow more elite than half the human race. Don’t be one of them.

Eventually, one of my good (female) friends introduced me to the PlayStation, and I eventually found my own group of gaming friends who only cared about gender as far as their game avatars and which gender looks better moving. And it’s been uphill ever since.

They’re fun.

And here you have it. The primary reason why girls play video games. I know, I know, it’s a shocker for some of you out there that we ladies might actually be playing these things because we enjoy them as much as boys do.

Video games are meant to be played. Sure, men may have monopolized the industry and tried to keep women out as much and as long as possible, but that hasn’t — and won’t — stop us from playing. If a lady wants to play a video game, then for goodness’ sake, sit back, shut up and hand her the game controller. Unless, you know, it’s not time to switch off. Or it’s one of those single-player things. In which case I totally understand if you say no, because there be no way I’m letting anyone mess with my save files.


Posted by on April 1, 2014. Filed under Columns, Geek in Gear, Opinion, Video Games. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>