On Women and Gaming (Spoiler: Hell yes!)
Let me tell you something about the role of women in gaming.
When I was a kid I never had a gaming platform. No Nintendo, no Atari, no Colecovision, no Intellivision. I think back in the day we had a multi-game version of Pong. However, I did save up my money for a PC — or what passed for one at the time. I had a Radio Shack TRS80 Color Computer. My parents thought it would be a good thing because I could actually use it to learn something. While I did teach myself programming, I loved playing games on it. Most of them were knock offs of popular coinop games, and I had acquired them through a friend of my step-father’s (we had to buy the tapes or, later, disks) who got all this freeware via BBS. I wasn’t lacking for the cool games either. I had friends with Commodore-64s, so I never missed out on games like “The Bard’s Tale” or “Pool of Radiance.”
My step-sister, Megan, on the other hand, had a Nintendo. Some of you reading this may never have experienced the early days (youngins), but back then platforms like Nintendo and Sega could do things PCs just couldn’t. Thus games like “Super Mario Brothers” and “The Legend of Zelda” were all kinds of awesome. However, my access to the Nintendo was under the following conditions whenever I visited:
- Is my homework done?
- Are we done working in the shop? (My Dad made and painted minis, so my addiction is generational)
- Is the Nintendo and the TV available?
If the answer to all those questions were yes, I’d check with my Megan and then play. If a movie or show was on or if Megan was playing something and I couldn’t join in, I sat back and watched. Or I got a book to read. Or I did something else. It never bothered me if I couldn’t play on Megan’s Nintendo because it was her Nintendo, they were her games, not mine. As far as I was concerned, it was up to me to be courteous about the matter.
Somewhere between then and now, a small but very angry and vocal group of mutants forgot what courtesy and manners are. These are people who have no qualms about sending death threats to people like Anita Sarkeesian and Zoe Quinn because they have opinions on games or are taking strides to mold games into something more than killing pixels. As a gamer with 30 years invested in both the digital and analog sides to the hobby, I am more than happy to try stepping between the Anitas/Zoes and those who would dox, threaten, bully or otherwise seek to cause them harm.
You see, Megan doesn’t play much these days — she’s too busy being successful in her line of work, being married to a genuinely good man (whose day job is trying to save people with cancer from death), and being Mom to two beautiful baby girls. No matter how thin the family line is due to distance or relation, I am their Uncle. I am that crazy cool geeky Uncle who gives them tigers to help ward off the monsters that cause nightmares, dioramas that show the Princess can save herself from the Evil Wizard, and can’t wait to read them “The Hobbit.”
Do you think I’m going to sit back and let this veritable gene-pool of sewage fester and nurture its strength to attack these two lovely girls just because they may happen to like something?
Fuck. That. Noise.
If these fedora vaping MRAs and game-stooges want a fight, I’ll give them one. Hell, I’ll let them take the first swing if it ever gets into the Real World (which is as unlikely as them landing the first hit). What are they gonna do, call me a Social Justice Warrior? That’s only an insult in their heads. A White Knight? I’ve got news for them: I’m a goddam Paladin to these motherfuckers, and I’ve got Smite Evils to go around. I see a Dudebro bullying a woman, a POC, or a GLBT, trying to use terror to get them to be quiet or quit gaming, I am stepping straight the fuck up.
And if any of you Dudebros are reading this, if you think I’m doing this in the hopes of getting rewardsex, stop projecting your deprivations onto me. I’m in your face because you refuse to be a decent human being. Full fucking stop. I’m engaging because it’s the right thing to do, because trying to be the strong silent example gets overwhelmed and obscured by your shit, and because I want my two darling nieces to not livein fear of jackasses like you.
My name is Mike Brendan: Reader, Writer, Gamer, Geek, Feminist, Paladin. Check yourselves.