And that nothing, folks, is the enigma surrounding girl gamers.
What touched this off? Navigate over to the CyberEvolution website (here, allow me to assist with a link) and reference the second graphical ad from the top in the second column from the right. The headline reads: ‘Looks or Skillz? Melee on Female Gamers.’
Maybe that’s what the writers of these blog posts would like to do – melee all over them. They must feel like they’re obligated to now tear into these hapless gamers (that just happen to have a vagina) in order to bury their guilty thoughts under a pile of cynicism. Now that’s likely not the case and it’s just me being cynical in the face of the same. However I’ve seen it happen, firsthand -watching a new recruit to a clan hopping on voice comms for the first time, introducing herself, and then watching half the clan losing control of their minds, pants, and mouths. (As if they have a chance in hell with a chick 200+ miles away that already knows first hand they’re a HUGE dork.)
This primeval response to a gamer that is female – the same response found when a small group of hapless girlfriends walks into a giant sausage fest and turns the testosterone faucets on – this is where the ‘controversy’ over this topic resides and ends. The gaming world has primarily been a man’s one, one of grunting and shooting guns and cursing on comms and not showering for days! (Yes, let one stereotype meet another.) Apparently, anyone who calls themselves a ‘pro gamer’ and makes a point of looking pretty while doing it should promptly get bent.
Anna Kournikova. I’m sure if you’re reading this blog you’ve probably at the least heard this name, if not Googled it a few times for desktop fodder (I’ll go no further). Martina Navratilova. If you haven’t heard this name as well, I’ve already proved my point. If you’ve only heard of Anna, you know her as a hot chick. If you’ve heard of both, chances are you have followed women’s tennis to some degree at some point.
Both Anna and Martina played tennis as their primary means of existence. One of them was arguably the greatest player to grace the women’s side of the sport, with quite the list of accolades and titles. The other never won a single professional singles tournament, and made it to the final match in only four of them, mostly due to her explosion onto the scene, which put her in more photo and video shoots for advertisements than on a tennis court. I’m sure you can figure out which person fits which description. Anna did not become one of the most searched strings on Google for her tennis prowess, and that’s for damn sure.
If the bloggers behind this post (same as the one referenced at the top of this article) as well as this one (also linked by the previous) were instead concerned with the advancement of women’s tennis in the 1990s instead of the current video gaming scene, they would probably be calling for the crucifixion of Anna for the greater good of the sport and great players such as Navratilova. And yet, there are few others involved with women’s tennis at the same time as Kournikova that did more to increase spectatorship and overall interest and awareness of the game, and she sucked. That is not to detract from the accomplishments of Navratilova, but sometimes just plain being pro and kicking ass isn’t enough to make people take notice and care.
But to say that these groups of gamers that prefer to flaunt their looks and charisma over their skills should not be allowed to call themselves ‘pro gamers’ and should evacuate the scene is just backwards. Just as Navratilova didn’t inspire the masses to take notice and get people interested in her and the game, neither does the dominance of Complexity on the CS 1.6 scene get people fired up about the sport.
So leave them be and let them gain attention in any means they can. Hell, thank them for it. Because it will be similar figures like Anna Kournikova, golf’s Grace Park (links: (A) (B)), and swimming’s Amanda Beard (links: (A) (B) ) just to name a few, that will go further to bring the gaming scene closer to the consciousness of those otherwise disinterested than yet another tournament win (or loss) by Fatal1ty.
As for the rest of the gaming population that happens to be female and would rather not attract any attention to themselves and just game – much like the rest of us who just happen to have penises – well, that exactly the kind of clear-headedness that is lacking from those that want to make a big deal out of females gaming. They’re just like any other gamer. Testosterone or estrogen, a gamer is a gamer. Realize that and realize that the controversy and enigma just plain evaporates – because it was never really there at all.