While I know video games are not always a favorite subject for many people. They are a big part of my life. I have played them since the days of the Atari 2600. I currently play on the Playstation 4. For me, video games have surpassed the ability of our bloated film industry and still entertain with good characters and creative stories. As long as you stay away from the repetitive franchises.
When we wee younger it didn’t matter who you are. Anyone could pick up a controller and join a game. So when I tried to learn about the world of modern gaming and make friends I was shocked to see how things have changed. What was a fun and relaxing way to spend free time has become a segregated, elitist and circle driven genre.
What is even more bizarre is the belief that women don’t play video games. The numbers are probably five men to every one woman when counting the genders of those who game. It might even be higher, but to say women don’t game is completely invalid. So is it any surprise that LGBT video game players are even further down in the numbers. At least publicly.
I tried my hand at online gaming years ago when the start of the X-Box generation began. Halo 2 was a pretty solid online experience and often lots of fun. Though I played mostly with family and the ability to chat with other players wasn’t there at the time. It wasn’t till Left 4 Dead came out on the X Box 360 that I began to see the truth.Those who play online were often rude and judgmental. A lot of CIS women I knew were being told they sound like children and not women. They were treated as if they didn’t know how to game at all. Often subjected to the most inappropriate comments.
Knowing this was how people online were treating others made me really scared to even try it. My first attempt at Left 4 Dead on X Box 360 pretty much set the pace for most online interactions. I decided to just go for it. The game was new to me but a lot of fun. It took less than five minutes before I heard the rude comments begin. I left my microphone muted for fear of being judged. I could hear them saying things like stupid girl thinks she can game. It only went on for a few minutes before they decided to kick me out of the game itself.
After that I pretty much ignored the online gaming world. The mentality of most of them was far beyond sophomoric. I have tried the occasional game since and had mixed results. Destiny was often just those who want to flirt with the women players they come across. Titanfall was actually the best when it came to lack of abusive comments. It is to bad the game was so short and lost its appeal real fast.
I used to think it was me. I just didn’t fit in with what the modern video game culture had become. After dealing with it for a while I began to realize this was a really good thing. I preferred games with intricate characters and stories. No online experience ever gave this to me.
And then there was the fact I was stealth. No one I spoke to knew the secret I kept to myself. I was treated as any other woman in the gaming world. Which is what I wanted. After all that is who I am. This tend to make things worse though. I got to see how people were treated. I got to see how women and LGBT were treated and I can honestly say about 70% of the time it wasn’t pretty. Narcissism, over opinionated and judgmental people run rampant. Especially if you happen to beat them at a few rounds.
I love video games. I really do. But it can be really rough for anyone who doesn’t subscribe to the Stone Cold Steve Austin mentality on life. Finding like minded people is crucial. I have met some wonderful people as well as complete jerks.
What makes it harder is the idea of subsets of already segregated groups. In many ways I cant blame them, but I have seen lesbian groups kick any gay men or trans women out because they believe its wrong for them to be there. I have also seen this happen in straight groups as well. Being stealth in these situations has lead to me leaving groups because I cant believe how jaded and hypocritical they can be. I still look for good groups of friends to game with. Inclusive worlds are few and far between.
If I was to offer advice to those looking for friends in the video game world I would say this. Be picky. It is your right to only have those around who you feel are good people. The rest will pull you down. Then again this is a good thing to follow in life in general.