Last week, I started to tell you guys my story of how I started out as a gamer. I realized almost immediately that I shouldn’t have been too vocal about telling my friends I liked video games and I was going to try to actually play more. I guess I was too naive and thought that it was a good idea to be open about it.
Anyway, when I “came out” as a gamer at the age of 13, a lot of my friends were suspicious of my motivations. For my girl friends, it was almost like a betrayal of their trust. How could a girl like games? I guess that was because we all subscribe to the same “only boys play video games” stereotype at that age. Sure, it was okay to play casual games like Farmville, Tetris or Bejeweled. But totally make the swing over to video game consoles was out of the question!
I had the opposite reaction from a lot of my male friends. The instant that I told them I asked them that I was going to try to play video games, they started to question my gaming cred… which I didn’t have then! I just mentioned that I liked video games and they immediately jumped at my throat, saying I was just seeking attention and I was a fake gamer girl!
Anyway, I tried to recover by mentioning I did play some games like The Sims and even tried out PlayStation Home. The boys’ reaction? Derision, of course! I think I remember one of them saying that those weren’t real games or something to that effect (you know who you are)! In order to be a gamer, they said I had to play some really “hardcore” games like Call of Duty, Resident Evil, Silent Hill or the other myriad of rated Mature games that were popular at the time.
I remember feeling dejected at the time. Here I was, actually trying to get into gaming but I didn’t have the support of my friends just because of my gender! I’m not sure if it’s like this in other countries but the prevailing attitude in the Philippines 5 years ago was, if I didn’t play the bloody and violent games, I couldn’t be considered a gamer.
Thankfully, I did get the support of my older brother. When I told him about my friends’ reactions to my choice to try to play more video games, he sat me down and told me that it didn’t matter what they thought of me. If I wanted to play video games, then I should play video games. It shouldn’t matter if they thought it wasn’t uncouth and unladylike to play video games. Not should it matter if they thought I wasn’t any good at video games. It even shouldn’t matter how Mature the game is; I should just play whatever I wanted to play!
Thinking back, I know he was just trying to make me feel better at the time. But the words did have some special meaning for me. I started picking up the PlayStation 3 controller more often. I logged in a lot more hours in PlayStation Home and, after a few weeks, the controller felt really comfortable in my hand. I then branched out to play actual games, like Street Fighter IV. I have to say I’ve become pretty good at the game, especially with Vega/Claw. I can go online and actually beat some people!
Still, even then, I know I was just getting started with my journey to become an actual gamer. And I’ll conclude the story next week!
What was your experience like when you started playing video games? If you can, please recount the experience by filling out the comments field below!