Once upon a time, when mud was fashionable and petrol was cheap there was a girl gamer. Nah, just kidding, petrol has never been cheap. Come to think of it, has there ever been a proper girl gamer? I don’t really know. By proper I don’t just mean someone who games occasionally, or is in the business due to other family members. I mean my wife has gamed and painted stuff but I would never call her a gamer. When I get excited about games she gives me a little patronizing ‘That’s nice dear’ and lets me get on with it. She’s even been into a few Games Workshop stores but that still doesn’t make her a gamer. A gamer is probably someone who actually has a big bunch of models strewn about the place and would combust (as the theory goes) if they ever actually got them all painted.
Now in the past I have seen some of these elusive girl gamers. I have even been in clubs who have female members. One of them was actually very good at gaming. If you go to any of the big tournaments you will always see the odd one or two in amongst the beer guts and sweaty neckbeards. It is still a massively male dominated hobby.
Now I have some ideas as to why that may be… Young boys often get given some military themed dolls as toys. Toy plastic soldiers, GI Joes, and Action Man (who could pwn all the GI Joes with his badass scars, buzzcut and one glance of his moving eagle eye stare). Naturally these toys lend themselves well to playing war. Get a stick, hide in some mud, put a headband on and spend the day pretending you are Rambo deep behind enemy lines. Avoiding your neighbours (the enemy) until you and your mates are in position to complete your dangerous mission of stuffing grass into the washing on the line in number 3’s garden without being seen or taken prisoner. Other popular toys for boys include model kits. No other toy has the anarchic possibilities of a Revell Mirage 2000 jet fighter. Firstly, there’s glue that makes you dizzy if you sniff it. You can stick things to other things, curtains, carpets, the dog. You can stick your fingers together and spend hours of fun peeling it off. Then theres the paint. Paint your jet, and your face, and your door. Practise your mad graffitti skills before you are old enough to buy spray paint. Once your model is complete you can spend hours running around going ‘Neeeeaaaaaaawwwwwwooooooooo’, jet in hand as you buzz your mum and practise strafing runs on your sister’s Barbie dolls.
Anyway, boys grow up, they get jobs and disposable income, but are too old to run around outside and too respectable to make machine gun noises while pointing a stick at next door’s cat. So they combine all of their childhood hobbies and begin gaming. Many people begin gaming in their childhood, but the difference I’ve found as an adult gamer is that when I get beaten by a twelve year old I can simply just buy an upgrade for my force, new model or whatever, and continue to do so until victory is mine. Take that, youngsters.
So how do girls get into gaming? Why do they do it and are there truly any hardcore girl gamers?