Penny Arcade Expo '08: how to get your girlfriend into gaming

Posted at 10:06 AM Sep 01, 2008

By Bonnie Ruberg

It's Monday, and the 2008 Penny Arcade Expo is officially over. That means I've lived through dozens on video game demos, swarms of unbathed fanboys, and, as of yesterday morning, a panel on "How to get your girlfriend into gaming." As a girl who's obviously already into games, that last one left me with more mixed feelings than hanging out in a room of funky-smelling tabletop roleplayers.

While the idea of getting more women into video games -- a field that's definitely male-dominated and comes with a lot of stigmas for girls -- is a good one, there's something so condescending about plotting how to bring a female into the fold as if she had no will of her own. The conversation tends to go, "What kind of game can I innocently introduce to my girlfriend so that she'll get instantly addicted?"

Also, girl gamers en masse tend to acquire a "You go, sister!" attitude. Sure, it's nice to see women playing together, but the number of men at yesterday's panel who were recommended to send their girlfriends to a female gaming clan so they could "join the sisterhood"... It makes me shudder. But what do you think, Heartless Doll readers? Are you interested in gaming but just too scared you'll look like a dork to try?


Kirst said:

I frickin' love gaming and am proud to say it!!

And even if I wasn't, if my boyfriend tried to 'trick me' into gaming just because I wasn't showing an interest in his obsession, I'd kick his ass ;)

Andrea said:

I've had intermittent periods of vague gaming interest. I liked Tony Hawk and GTA Vice City when I was in college, because they were nice distractions from school and--also--my boyfriend at the time was really into them. So it was kind of a fun, silly thing to do together. He was a recreational gamer, not at all a serious gamer, so we could kind of dick around (harrr) together.

Mainly, I find that there are too many other things I already like to have gaming be interesting. The Wii looks pretty cool, and i like to play it when it's around because it's highly interactive. Pushing a bunch of buttons around on a screen doesn't appeal to me just now. I did like to play games as a kid/adolescent, but I feel like I grew into things that appeal to me more. Which is not to say that that has anything to do with me as a female; it's merely to do with my personal tastes as a human. So, a better panel for the convention might be "How do we interest people who might like this, but don't know they do?" Rather than making it gender-centric.

Rhiannon said:

I really like me some RPGs and was into Counter Strike for a while before the rampant sexism and objectification really started to get to me. I had many a sexist comment written about me in the online gaming when they found out I was a girl and was often kicked off teams because of it.

Other games I'm not into because of what the females of the game look like and the complete improbability of their clothing. Physics doesn't work like that!

dksp said:

Personally, I think guys shouldn't have to "trick" women into gaming, and it's sad that they think they do. As a guy, I can understand why the idea of a female gamer is so appealing. For one thing, traditionally, women are supposed to find your gaming unappealing. The idea that times are changing and a woman could be into your spasming-in-the-dark-at-5-AM-after-finally-killing-that-dragon-ass and even share your enthusiasm tug right at the heartstrings. Let's face it, you're obsessed with raiding, and you want to find somebody you can marry in a MMO world rather than ignore for said world. But, the idea of feeding a woman Wii so she gets into the hard stuff just feels to me like Bobby Brown offering Whitney a first joint...

Ted | Gaming Mouse said:

@Rhiannon kicked off teams for being a girl? Are you frickin' kiddin' me? Geez, makes me glad I never got into Counter Strike...

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