I know, shocking, right? And I hate to break it to ya, but there really are girls on the interwebz. Yup. At least, I don't think I'm the only one…
The other day I read an interesting and entertaining post by Anna of Too Many Annas. You'll want to check it out to fully appreciate my commentary here. (I'll wait, I promise!)
Amusing, entertaining, and a bit sad, wasn't it? (Not Anna's post as sad, the video.)
While I don't really thing calling women gamers a new demographic is accurate. I think I can agree that it is an expanding customer base. More girls are seeming to find their way into the old gaming boys club, especially as gaming is becoming more mainstream. Or at least, geek coolness. I really think some of these companies may think women are a new market, but it's just that they are finally recognizing that they can sell us stuff. Problem is, the female gaming market is not as easy to pinpoint as say… marketing children's games. We like all sorts of games, just as men (and boys) do.
And not all women are recently converted to gaming. I've been gaming for years. I started with an Atari back in the day. I think I was 5ish when we got it. How I loved Keystone Kapers and Crystal Castles. Oooh and Pitfall. ET sucked though. Zomg and Circus… we had the special paddle controllers for this and it was sooo cool when we got the ginormous trackball controller! Anywho…
So, yeah. I gamed throughout my childhood. I had guy friends in elementary school and junior high that would want to come over to my house to hang and game. Of course, the first time they realized I might beat them was classic. NBA Jam on the Sega Genesis. My friend was boasting how good he was when he rented it. We put in our initials and the stats come up. That's right. Syrana had beaten all teams. /cackle
Oops, losing my focus here.
Of Stores and Such
Fast forward to more recent events. I am no stranger to getting looks when in a gaming store. Over the weekend Sideshow and I went to Best Buy. He was looking for a scanner for preserving family photos and his genealogy blog. The all-in-one printer/scanner/faxes were near some gaming mice and keyboards. For once, we were waiting for someone to ask if we needed help. Usually we are swarmed it seems.
So there I am, looking at the boards and mice with Sideshow not very far from me. A male employee approaches to ask if I need assistance almost as soon as I start touching stuff. Clearly, I'm in the wrong section or have no clue what I'm looking for. I had to direct him to Sideshow… after he and I had spent a good 10 minutes or so staring at the all-in-one's waiting to ask some questions.
Then again, at places like Target… it's like pulling teeth to get someone to ask if they can grab a game out of the locked cases for me… or the looks of shock and surprise when I go hunting for someone. (I should just take Sideshow, his lockpickin' skills are maxed!) I know I don't look like the typical gamer (whatever that means), but it's just odd sometimes the way you are looked at, talked to, and approached (or not). And I'm not usually in my business attire. I'm usually there in jeans and a metal tour shirt.
But you know what's really fun? The looks and questions of surprise when I'm at a resturant, gas station, or store non-specific to gaming. When I hand over my WoW credit card, I get some interesting reactions. The most priceless one was at Best Buy (again). A female cashier was ringing up my purchases. I was getting the battlechest for a second account and when I had to show my credit card she said, “Wow, you must really be a fan.” Yep. You could call me a fan. 😉
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You even won when you played games with me and dad. Now that you introduced me to WOW…it gives new meaning to “Momma has a brand new bag!” lol
Woot! Let’s hear it for girl gamers!!! It is crazy when you get in raids and on vent the guys (especially the ones playing girl characters) are SHOCKED that you are actually a girl!
Lol I HATE that about Best Buy.. “Can I help you find anything? No? Ok.. /walksaway” -10 seconds later- “Can I help you find anything? No? Ok.. /walksaway” – 5 seconds later- “Can I help you find anything? No? Ok.. /walksaway” HFJKSDHJDKS.
I don’t know what it is about RP servers but we run in to a ton of girl gamers on Sisters of Elune. Of our 10 man raid team, 4 are girls. Thats almost half the raid lol.
I also agree that girl gaming isn’t a new phenomena or anything.. the girls that are my friends are all gamers and have played console games for years (as well as WoW, at some point and time). I just think the non-gaming community or the noob gamers are just now noticing them.
@Keli – I remember when you hated my footsweeps in Mortal Kombat. /cackle
@Zaralin – Vent has always been an interesting thing when you are a girl. Although, I’ve never been on vent as a boy, but you know what I mean! And I think it’s ridiculous that some try to claim it’s distracting to hear a girl. Pfft. L2play wif grrlz, I say!
@Fear – omg. Best Buy is crazy with the smothering. Insane. Yar, when I was on that RP-PvP server (not bein’ a skerrdy kat like someone I know >.>) I encountered a lot more girl gamers it seemed. I also encountered a lot of teenage boys. It was an … interesting mix.
I was 12 when I got my Atari 2600. Pitfall, Yar’s Revenge and Kaboom were my games. I remember taking photos of my TV screen and sending them away to Activision to get an achievement patch for Enduro. 🙂
And what *is* it with Best Buy and the smothering? I wonder if they have a similar training video to Gamestop’s. I get pounced on if I dare walk past the Friends DVDs toward the tech, but my guy can waste away to nothing before they talk to him.
@Kimberly – Yay for Atari! 😀 Hmm, I wonder what Best Buy’s training video looks like… or maybe we’re just that adorable! 😉
*Best Buy Training Video Session Recap by Abi @ Fear.Win*
Step 1 – Approach the Customer and inquire if they need your assistance in finding an item that we probably don’t have in stock.
Step 2 – Apologize
Step 3 – Target a new customer, even if they’ve been approached by another team member.
Step 4 – Repeat step 1 until your scheduled breaks, lunch and the end of your shift.
..so glad I don’t work retail anymore.
Amendment to Fear.Win’s recap – “And always remember, nothing says good job like a firm, open handed slap on the behind.
I know what you mean about not fitting a stereotype though. It’s not just with girls either. For instance, I’ve always been an avid gamer, and people who know me are not surprised. However, I’m also extremely athletic and competitive about it. I was a three sport athlete in high school (though I didn’t pursue a college career for various reasons). Now I coach football too. Football coach/Athlete and Engineer/Gamer are on two completely different ends of the spectrum. I can pretty much only talk about one thing with one group and another thing with another group of people, or I get some very strange responses. Top that with when I go into best buy, I have to steer clear of the electronics (like the whole store ya know), cuz 90% of the time the sales people don’t know what the hell they’re talking about and I feel the urge to correct them.
I guess the bottom line is, games aren’t just for “nerds” any more. Or maybe the face of nerddom has just changed from what it once was. I guess its just odd that I’ll play anyone 1on1, be it Halo or Horse, I just like challenges.
I had a guy at Best Buy make sure to tell me that I needed buy ink for my printer, when I bought it.
@Fear (and Fulg’s amendment) – Sounds about right! lol
@Fulg – Yeah, the stereotype doesn’t fit much at all. A lot of people don’t believe I’m a huge metal fan either. 😛
@Side – What? You mean, printers don’t have endless ink? And here I thought it was broken…
Speaking of…I think my printer is out of ink…
Best Buy is generally full of sales people that are in the wrong sections, selling things that they don’t have a clue on…usually. I knew a guy that worked there. He was put in the Stove area. He owned a microwave. He ate out a lot. He didn’t know how to turn on a stove…
I have a post that’s quite old about “origins” and my own gaming background.
In other news, I recently found out that McGee’s ALICE will be remade and re-released sometime in 2009. I can’t wait 🙂
Serious Sam should be remade for online play…like…old school serious sam in an endless environment…entirely online…
I was a counterstrike junkie for a while there too…halo…etc. Ack!
Ok enough rambling. Girl Gamers ftw!
@Cait – 😀 I’ll have to look through your archives for that piece! I’d be interested in reading it.
And yar, you best get yerself a new printer if you haz no ink. 😛