It came to my attention recently that I had had a game for quite some time and still hadn't reviewed it. And as I pondered the reasons I had left this particular game so long, there was only one answer I could come up with...it's a game that relies on you playing with people online.
I used to play quite a bit online. The fella and I had a little group of people we would play CoD with. They were people we'd met playing the game and they were genuinely nice, friendly people. It was really great.
Unfortunately not everyone you meet online is nice, particularly not in the gaming world and even more so if you're a female. This isn't a woe is me piece about how people have ruined gaming for me, because that simply isn't the truth. But figuring out why I hadn't written up my review yet just got me thinking about it and I really wanted to just share with you what it can be like to be a 'girl gamer' online.
The first problem is the fact that I am 'othered' straight away. Again, not by everyone, but by enough that I don't feel comfortable. I'm not just a gamer like you and your friends are. I'm a 'girl gamer'. No one calls you a 'lad gamer' (do they?!) so why should it be different for me? Automatically I am set apart simply because of my gender, something that really shouldn't matter.
Now here my more rational side has to interject and state that for every person that has threatened to find me and rape me, called me fat without ever seeing a picture of me, or asked for 'proof' of my being a female (namely rude pictures) I have met some wonderful people too. Some have been through game lobbies, but for the most part these days I meet the nicest gamers ever on Twitter. It is through Twitter that I found the confidence to advertise my GamerTag, for the people I interact with on Twitter to see what I've been playing, and maybe even play something together.
But it is the more horrible people that are the loudest in your headset. They are the ones making sure they are heard. And whilst I've more often than not had support from other gamers, it can still get to you. It makes you incredibly conscious of how you are playing, because god forbid I die in game and get told to go back to the kitchen. It takes the fun out of it when you're so completely stressed at the thought of someone maybe watching you on kill cam and seeing you miss a shot.
And maybe it is my fault for the games that I have chosen to play online, we all know that CoD lobbies aren't the nicest lobbies to be in for anyone. But I shouldn't be made to feel like I have less of a right to be there than anyone else. I'm not the best player in the world, far from it. But I game to have fun. I don't want to get into slanging matches with anyone, I don't want to question your abilities. I just want us all to play nice.