I started playing PC games seriously about six years ago, with my baptism of fire being the now-classic Dungeons and Dragons-based Neverwinter Nights 1.
Some time after a freak system crash erased all my game data, I turned to MMORPGs for solace.
For the first MMORPG that I tried playing, I was lucky enough to join a guild / gaming group of people I actually knew in real life, a group that then included two other female players.
Eventually, though, the other two dropped out, and I was left the sole female player in the group.
Whenever I went out to play, whether on my own or with the guild, I was almost always the target of what I later discovered was called the “aquarium effect”: the other players – invariably male – would lean out of their cubicles to stare at me. They did a lot of watching over my shoulders; I clearly remember times when there were two or three guys standing nearly at my back.
It was kind of creepy to have guys watch my every move in that manner.
That wasn’t the only thing. Other players’ characters would talk to me in-game; after watching my (usually) female avatar kill stuff, the following question would nearly always pop up:
“Are you really a girl?”
I kind of find that rather annoying and strange at the same time. Annoying, because anyone who asked that question had necessarily made the assumption that I was, in reality, a guy playing a female character; and strange, because, hey, don’t girls want to play, too?
I’ve been playing for some time now and while it makes me feel happy some new games are ditching hack-‘n’-slash altogether in favor of, say, music and golf, such that more girls might be encouraged to start playing, I still feel somewhat strange about being a member of the minority gender in this field.
There’s a gamers’ myth that says no girls actually play MMO games.
Dudes. We are not a myth.
About the PTB Guest Blogger:
PJ is currently a Closed Beta Tester for the new MMORPG Granado Espada. No affiliations with publishers HanbitSoft, IAH Games, or even the local licensee e-Games Philippines. She’s just a fairly obsessed girl gamer. More about PJ on her Granado Espada blog.