July 19, 2013 by Vicki
I remember as a kid always creating my own worlds and stories while playing games like Age of Empires and Creatures. Then, I played my first role-playing game at about 18. My character, which I made for a World of Darkness game set in the city I currently live in, was a wolf-blooded, acrobatic, mute girl with amnesia of about 15. Right away I found I had a knack for, if not just a lot of enjoyment in, coming up with character concepts and creating their stories. Had I known about pen and paper role-playing earlier (and gotten to play earlier) I would have started gaming quite a bit earlier in my teen years.
This one session did not sate my hunger for adventure, it merely made me want to see more of the vast universes of imagination gaming had to offer. However, I didn’t really game again (or even really start gaming) until I was 20, when I met the friend and GM (game master, the person who tells the story), who is now my fiance. At first he GMed for our friend and I. Because our friend lived with us, Dungeons and Dragons became a series of adventures we looked forward to almost every night, drinking pop and energy drinks and consuming vast quantities of junk-food, as is custom. Our friend also became our story-teller, he was always coming up with new ideas, even creating his own games. Every adventure was (and still is) new and exciting.
Soon I was introduced to some more gaming friends, and a new gaming group. That would be the lovely lady who writes this blog, her now fiance, and our merry band of rapscallions. I couldn’t suggest a better way to get to know people. In fact I have found some of the most rewarding social interactions I have ever had through gaming. After all, nothing brings a group together like trying to survive a fight with several tons of angry monster.
Being a female gamer, I can’t say I have been treated much differently out of character. I have played both female and male characters of varying personality, yet I realize that I play the sexes very much the same as far as gender-roles and personality is concerned. Female characters are as heroic, reluctant, or mysterious and charismatic as the male characters I’ve played. The romantic interests, or sometimes lack thereof, of my characters is not decided by their being male or female. And I have admittedly played at least one foppish orc, pretty-boy, who had women falling at his feet.
Through this time I have to admit I have probably gamed with a few more males than females, but this by no means makes the world of pen and paper RPGs a man’s world. I’ve found every female gamer (and almost all of the male ones too) to be the sort of person I would want to call a friend. As with myself, I can’t say I’ve seen female gamers treated differently from the males, simply based on their sex. I am also proud to say that I have not seen anyone excluded or picked on for their sexuality or race either.
Though female gamers are still a bit rare for my liking, I think that has and will continue to change as more and more girls and women discover the worlds of role-playing, whether it be Dungeons and Dragons, or World of Darkness, or any of the other countless games out there. I know that my friends and I would have spent a lot less time bugging our parents for money to spend at the mall had we been introduced to gaming as kids (hint, hint, parents).
- Sex and Sexism in Gaming (artfourm.wordpress.com)
- Lady Gaming News Round-Up (slog.thestranger.com)
- Does Sex Sell Video Games? (gamingironically.wordpress.com)