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Nostalgia gets her nerd hat on.

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By admin in : Narcissism, Utopism // Apr 19 2011

And then there was a mail in my inbox, burning to be read. A request. A real one. From a real reader!
If I didn’t feel like writing a post about my memories and expectations as a (female) gamer through the years. Just a couple of anecdotes, or a beautiful memory.
Last time I ventured into feministic flavoured writing, I sat on the blisters after paraphrasing other people’s opinions. This would surely prove to be a challenge, writing on commission. But I DO have an opinion, and I sure do have a past as a gamer. So…

I carelessly fidgeted around in my desk chair, inspecting my newly applied purple nail polish and replied “Of course. I’ll fry something up for you tonight”.

Biggest. Mistake. Ever.

Compiling one third of your life in a web format text, is not something you just fry up in a couple of minutes.

For as long as I can remember, games were my one stop awesome shop from dusk till dawn. As a student, adolescent and as a young adult. Under the dazzling effects of artificial TL-lighting and lack of sunlight, I transformed from obnoxious  Miss Nonchalance into a semi intelligent human being. Hey, things could be worse all right, it could have been the other way around. My game time was a period of metamorphosis.

Yes, there was a lot to be written, which resulted in one of those Sunday mornings scraping myself off the sofa.

Back in the days when we were poor.

Firstly, you should be aware that I grew up in a world where it seemed like Napster would last forever. In a timeframe when everyone was checking fresh corpses on rotten.com on a weekly basis. Can you remember it? The time you spent sat in school or at work sending the first horribly animated e-cards on bluemountain.com. Without stamps! AND SO PAINFULLY SLOW! About the same time I was sat convincing my parents that sending an e-mail was REALLY for free. I remember browsing the internet through altavista.com and askjeeves.com. When Google was still Deja. Or when I made my very first and ugliest personal website on geocities. And checking up in Netscape to make sure it all worked as intended! Back in the days where the first thing to do was play my daily dose of Neopets. I actually still remember the squeeking sound of the modem logging in over the phone line. That’s where I come from 🙂

My first MMO

I vaguely remember this era of past glory, playing a browser-based mmo called Castle Quest. Way before I got addicted to Diablo II, way way before World of Warcraft. Castle Age was the preserve of three types of gamers: the Stone Age barbarian, the testosteron-infested teenager and the middle-aged gamer living with his mum. Oestrogen online was unheard of, uncalled for. A female gamer was just a gamer, anonymous and male. Standing out of the crowd as a female was for the brave crusader breaking loose from the kitchen chains, the avatar of martyrdom or the simple fool asking to be crucified in public. So we all shut our traps and played the game. Far from female stereotyping and even further away from indulging ourselves in outrageously flirtatious endeavours. Girls on the internet were for Pr0n and Cybers in mIrc, not for games.

And back then, people didn’t make light-hearted jokes about it either. Back then, things were really simple.

I was born a pacifist. Like most of the teenagers of that age, I was very much against killing animals, people and plants. It couldn’t possibly be any more simple. The media weren’t half as powerful as they are now and all my mental images about war and violence were classed in 3 categories: 1. black and white photographs of the World War, people in monochrome. A world without billboards and Coca Cola -and without sound. 2. The world of the Unicef Calendar. The kind of world my mother pointed at when she wanted me to finish the last bits on my plate. The world of little slit-eye children that we only knew here as ‘adopted children’. And 3. the journal media. Explosions on tv. Usually in Libanon. Far away from my protected little world, behind walls. Bombs didn’t explode in our faces. Never.

Somewhere in between being bullied in high school, being owned in Civilization on PC and standing my ground in Castle Quest, something happened. Upon being asked if I was a pacifist, I would yell in response that I was a realist. I had decided that it wasn’t smart to greet the conqueror, the spy or the plunderer while munching on a tuna sandwich. I got myself some soldiers, built a base, bought some weapons and acquired myself some leverage. I didn’t want to lose the war, did I? Self defence mechanism kicked in.

World of Warcraft anno 2005

When I bought my first subscription to World of Warcraft in 2005, I already started striving for equality in that male dominated gaming world. I made no progress what so ever. Many years later, contemplating and looking back upon past trials and tribulations, I realized I often rubbed elbows with certain archetypes commonly circulating these days. But back then, everything was new, a war was upon us and our femininity was at stake.

I’ve often felt like a general during a field siege, asking herself what on earth she was supposed to do next. The answer always integrally came down to: being better than your opponent. The competitive little animal in me was being catered to and heaven forbid I would’ve failed to get my point across. I often fell under harder scrutiny simply because I had boobs, and “boobs makes us noobs” after all. Even if that wasn’t necessarily true on the virtual battlefield, there had always been this aggressive mentality that girls didn’t perform as well as boys in raids. I didn’t only represent myself, I felt the need and I had the nerves to pretend I represented every woman out there fighting for the same cause, publically or silently, directly or indirectly.

Or course everything would have been all rainbows and puppies if I could have controlled my g-six with a dose of values and virtues – from solidarity to compassion. But if that was my plan of action, I should have become a third tier country development agent. No, I was a general, so I had to win. And if victory could only be achieved by causing collateral damage, unjustified verbal violence and by being an all-round asshole, then sod it. It had to be done.

There was little left of that pacifist I once was, and I quickly burnt up in thirst for power. I became a class leader. And then an officer. But I never seized to be a rebel without a cause in the first place, who would disagree with newly imposed guild rules out of principle and always in a passionate manner that would drive any other officer to insanity- much more effectively than Yogg Saron ever could. For many years, I was the queen of ridiculous demands. I wasn’t not always right, but I surely felt strong enough about many things to convince myself I was. Crusades for righteousness, never taking no for an answer as a result.

Even though being competitive isn’t strictly negative and often leads to better performance, I usually ended up fighting wind mills. I often fought for the wrong reasons, at the wrong time and failed to pick the right battles. I’ve had my fair share of defeat. Trial and error.

I was blessed with an unfortunate amount of stubbornness. I always concluded that if you don’t want to win a war, it’s better to not start to fight for it. It’s too cruel to just sit and enjoy the ride. Assuming my opponent wasn’t exactly a mister nice guy, I was left with no other option than to be even more of a bitch. Everything for profit.

In quiet contemplation…

My carefully crafted virtual empire crashed and came to an end a couple of years later, when  I faced defeat in real life. And solving my issues wasn’t as simple as shutting down the computer. I lost my first restoration druid (and my relationship at that time, ftr)  to naivety and wrongly placed trust.

It hit me, like a brick in the face, painfully and undeniably: I was wrong. I had given out the coordinates of my weapon depot, gave away the strategy of my troops, announced where I would be setting down my frontline and what route my warriors would take. Game over, as Caesar would say in Civilisations for PC.

Several months later, I bought a new account,  saved the key codes in a bank secured treasure vault and leveled a new druid. With a different name, and a different approach to gaming.

Once I opened the blinds, I figured out pretty quickly that guilds, especially the hierarchic kinds, are not a democracy. That not everyone is entitled to have an opinion. And that it doesn’t matter how much of a stereotype you might be, if you don’t want to dangle at the bottom of the scoreboard, you need to be just a tad smarter than the people you play with.

Diplomacy, the key to all virtual success. I had none at that point but I had learned the hard way that there is no point in playing the game of diplomacy and trying to achieve a certain level of raiding if you are going to get yourself cornered like a rabid dog. Then you might as well play checkers and be a sour loser. Everyone who’s played strategy board games knows that you can never say out loud that you only need the longest trade route to win the game.

Over the years, I learned that opinionated women who speak their mind too passionately incur certain risks that outspoken guys do not. That women with an indiscrete usage of their sexuality as a weapon create a silent threat that is rarely being tolerated and that they will face the consequences of their actions without me needing to go public with their behaviour . That equivalents of online prostitution are frowned upon regardless of me pointing fingers at the sinners or not.  That lootwhores are quickly cast away. That attention seekers only achieve their goals if you give them what they look for: spotlight, and that they are best to be ignored. And finally, that sometimes, it’s better to turn your microphone off and bite off your fingertips to stop yourself from communicating.

Yes, I’ve gotten more careful  and my time online became a lot more enjoyable once I got rid of the female archetype I was stuck in. But I’ll gladly admit that I sometimes still miss being able to rage in blind passion, playing advocate of the devil in the name of lady Justitia and knocking some sense into certain people’s ugly pouts. And that I still occasionally struggle to not yell out loud how much I detest girls taking advantage of all those poor gullible male gamers! 😉

About the Author

admin has written 65 articles for Me and My Epic Wood.

5 Responses to "Nostalgia gets her nerd hat on."

  1. Olimpius April 20, 2011 3:33 pm Reply

    now this was interesting to read suma 🙂

    1. Sumanhi April 20, 2011 11:26 pm Reply

      Oh no, did I just blow my angel image 😉 But yeah you’re right Olli, Brabander chick is no match to me ! 😉

      1. Olimpius April 21, 2011 12:43 pm Reply

        Ow suma i wanne see you against here in a battle. And let the best girl win in an amazing chick fight :D. Ofc i’ll cheer for you!

        1. Sumanhi April 21, 2011 6:31 pm Reply

          You’d better 😉 Playing games is one thing, being good at it is something else 😉 Playing in a clan on CS… not much of a sweat really. Competitions in CS Source.. been there done that. Got the T-shirt. She didn’t even know what WoW was, poor little sod lol.

  2. Olimpius April 26, 2011 12:38 pm Reply

    She did know but they asked here about gold sellers and stuff. She didn’t have a big clue about that. Every wow player has had goldsellers bugging them from time to time. How can you be a real mmo gamer when you don’t know the bigest mmo game out there :p. She may be good with a gun in a game but i think it ends there. For the rest she’s just selling and using here looks.

    One other point that she said that she know wow but she can’t be asked to lvl a char to max. Like it takes a few weeks to explore the world get to know your char and lvling it to max while your doing it. Its like i’m too pro to lvl. Thats just sad!.

    Compairing that you you and your rock then suma! 🙂

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