As a female gamer, I’m used to hearing the usual ridicule and slander guys seem to throw at me whenever I say, “Hey I’m a gamer”. This usually results in finger pointing and laughter quickly followed by the typical sly comments they attack me with such as: “But are you good?” or “Yeah okay but you will never be good as a boy gamer”. My normal answer is: “Actions speak louder then words,” before I challenge them to a contest, at which point most of them usually fall silent.
As gaming enters a new age, the stereotype of players as young nerdy boys has gone out of the window. Instead, modern gamers can be any age, and any gender. In fact a study by Statista into computer and video gamers in the UK showed that by 2011 the ratio of men to women already stood at 51% to 49%. And by 2014, a 3% increase in female gamers meant the ratio was 48% to 52%! A similar study in the US showed that between 2006 and the present, the percentage of women gamers only increased by 4%, proving that female gamers over here are getting way more connected than their American cousins.
As for my own experience, I’ve had both men and women challenge me not only about how good I am at gaming, but also about why I even want to game at all. So I thought I would explain:
I grew up with my brothers, male cousins and uncles, which meant I was in a predominately male environment. From as young as I can remember I used to watch my older brother and cousins play and desperately tried to reach for the controller as the screen enticed me. But if I ever got hold of that sweet controller their reaction was always to push my head away and snatch it back so as not to ruin their gaming moment. This usually ended up with me wailing in despair until they gave me an unplugged controller to play with instead. As I grew older that trick began to wear thin and so when I was five my mother brought me and my brothers our very first PlayStation, so this is when my calling as a gamer truly began.
As a rookie gamer I obviously lost a lot, but with my ego sorely bruised I would simply try again, until I eventually began winning. Soon I was better than your “average girl” – partly because I could practice with different consoles, and partly because I could play on the same team as my brothers. Starting out with the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES), I progressed on to Nintendo 64, Gameboy, Dreamcast, Xbox 360, Game Cube, and every generation of PlayStation I could get my hands on. Now 22 years down the line I am one of those women who has proved that girls can play just as well as boys. My gaming vice knows no limits. I love fighting games, role play games, lone shooter games – all of it – and I challenge anyone who dares to face me in a competition.
Have a look at my gaming channel on YouTube, called Black Girl Gamer (BBG). I have only just started, so there is not a lot there yet. But once I get my equipment set up better I will be posting a lot more content. Please check it out, subscribe and share.