Confessions of a gamer girl

Published: August 3, 2011
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Clad in a conventional kameez-shalwar, hair pulled back in a tight braid, earphones in place and laptop sitting snugly in my lap – there I was, an ordinary young lady merely going about her daily computing routine.

However, one might easily overlook the bunched muscles in my tense shoulders, clenched teeth, taut jaw and furrowed brows. Or even miss the flaring emotion in my eyes. I would not hold it against anyone if they missed these details.

After all, it takes one to know one. And not everyone is a gamer.

I have honestly nothing to hide: I have a gaming fetish, one I cannot control. Looking back, I now realize that all it took for me to discover this passion of mine was a Pentium II, a series of Disney games and an off-hand knowledge of giving “commands” to the machine.

When a gamer girl shares her experience, rest assured – her confessions are not too different from the usual frivolities associated with us females.

Confession 1: We discriminate

I may not have some highfalutin facts and figures to back me up on this, but from all my years of gaming, I can safely conclude that female gamers have a strong preference for female characters. Be it role playing games or fighting games or even shoot ’em ups. A game is incomplete without a decent female character and if you happen to be a female, chances are you are more likely to have a soft corner for them. However this does NOT mean that we cannot handle male characters. Johnny Cage, Max Payne, Ryu even the oh-so-famous Mario we’ve got them all wrapped around our little fingers. Literally.

Confession 2: We can be softies at gaming

I am particularly guilty of this trait. Minute features do not escape me, whether it’s the details of an intricate storyline or the background music in certain levels or the voice and acting of the characters. Simply put, it is not too beyond us to notice the small aspects that make a game – publishers must love us. For example, my cousins always wondered why I had to listen to the entire theme music that played in the background of the TR Angel of Darkness main menu screen. That orchestral piece would make my heart twist with pain, while my cousins would yawn and wait for me to get over it.

Confession 3: Cheating

Gamer girls are not really different from other gamers after all. If we can cheat a little on our diet plans, we can use a couple of handy cheat codes when gaming too. However blatant cheating is just pathetic. Speaking for myself, I always make sure I finish the game with a medium difficulty setting before trying out any cheats. No idea if this makes me more noble than the other game-cheater down the block, but at least we have standards.

Confession 4: Gaming is therapy

If at any point in my almost 18-years of existence did I feel like I could kill someone, that is exactly what I did – only virtually. While I understand that ratings are important and children should not be exposed to certain gory games which glorify violence  making it socially unacceptable and generally a big no-no. But when you ask suppose me how I feel about the issue when I have a Law final the next day and simply cannot stuff anything in  my brain, I may offer to give you a taste of that violence first-hand. Unless, of course, if I have Mortal Kombat 4 installed on my laptop.

Final confession: Gaming can be very personal

For the longest time I pondered upon the high level of gender bias gaming carries in Pakistan.  Girls were not supposed to be gamers. And if by some twisted turn of nature that they did play video games, their activity was supposed to be limited to Barbie and MyScene.com. Based on this trend most men would constantly criticize gamer girls (while getting beaten by a girl became the biggest threat to the fragile male ego – especially in Street Fighter). Even girls would start criticizing other girls for being ultimate “geeks” if they continued to play video games. Some may still seem to miss their plastic tea sets – but I digress.

The fact is, gaming is extremely personal.

It could be an outlet for venting out frustration, or a way of killing time. For me, it inspired me to start writing – for that I will be eternally grateful. And that should be a lesson to everyone: never judge a gamer, or risk being slashed to smithereens by their laser sword.

FLAWLESS VICTORY!

Noor Fatima Iftikhar

Noor Fatima Iftikhar

An A level student at Lahore Grammar School.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.