Not Just for the Boys
By Joanna, age 20, South Wales, United Kingdom
Sweet Designs Featured Writer
I was first introduced to gaming with the now-primitive Play Station One, and my favourite games included Spyro, which is essentially a platform game for kids where you play a cute purple dragon and your success is measured by progressing through different worlds. I enjoyed the sense of achievement you get when you eventually beat that boss at the end of a level, after tirelessly trying for what seems like, and sometimes is, hours!
Then I advanced my gaming with the Gameboy Advance, on which I completed Sabrina the Teenage Witch and played a good deal of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Rayman! I'd like to clarify that this was about seven years ago when I was thirteen, and although many readers may be thinking that all of those games sound girly, surely there's something to be said for the fact that they even exist in the first place.
If gaming were solely marketed at men, games like Sabrina wouldn't exist. When you wander into any game store now, it's pretty clear that some games may be designed more for a male audience, but there are a great deal of games out there for females too. I don't mean games that aren't actually games - things like fitness 'games' or karaoke 'games' that are really just interactive DVDs. The kind I'm talking about are proper games that you can really sink your teeth into and end up sat in front of the screen for many long hours, trying to find your way out of an area, beating bosses and levelling up.
The games that I personally enjoy perhaps aren't specifically targeted at a female audience, but I will admit that I prefer games where you can wander around, explore an area, and find out information as well as getting into some good fights and solving some epic mysteries. By this, I refer to games like Dragon Age, a medieval game which allows you to choose how you reply in your interactions, and maps out your storyline depending on these decisions, as opposed to games like Halo or Call of Duty, where your main activity seems to be shooting, despite that the storylines in those games are more in-depth than I would have imagined if I'd not played them a little bit.
Along the same lines, games like World Of Warcraft - which, for those of you who might not know of it, is an online game where you make your way around the world whilst levelling up and gaining new skills. There's a good mix of 'quests' which you get rewarded for completing, player vs. player fights, and areas that you can explore with a team of others, whose abilities all bring something new to the group. Games like these get slated quite a lot for being 'geeky' and being 'only played by those who have no other forms of social interaction', but that really isn't true. I can see the danger of getting so sucked into a game that you literally can do nothing else, but that takes a certain type of personality, and I feel it's more of an individual-case-scenario than something that all gamers experience. Playing games like these can be highly enjoyable, especially if you know the other people you are playing with in real life. Even if you don't it can still be fun and you can play alone to a large extent if that's the way you prefer your gaming experience!
So, my argument is this: why do people still view games as a predominantly male activity? Maybe this will change in the future, but for now it remains that the ignorant population will carry on their prejudices. That ignorant population can include females, who think they can't enjoy gaming because it's 'a male thing to do'. So for any girls reading this who enjoy gaming, good on you, and for those of you who haven't yet tried it, you should.