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Lent is Over! OR Suite Gamers

2009 April 13
by Alex M.

So I did not play any video games this weekend because…I gave them up for Lent. But I watched my friends play. My suite has an odd relationship with video games. Between the four of us, two of us (one dude, one lady) had never really played them before coming to college, while the other two (me and another guy) had. Yet because of the curiosity of the non-gaming pair, we have about 8 different consoles between us, ranging from the Atari to the Nintendo Wii with a LOT of games for each.

Suite Favorite

Suite Favorite

I will be honest: I am not all that good. I love fighting and racing games, but I don’t really take the time to actually get good at it (RPGs are more my thing, I think). Yet I enjoy watching the suite dynamics played out through video games. Often, the guys will play while the girls watch. For some reason, the guys seem to have a lot more invested in these games than we do. They play, talk trash, get happy, get angry and it all seems to be vital to their existence. They clearly love the competition and to some extent, part of their self-esteem is somehow tied to it. When I say they get angry, they really do. When Super Smash Brothers Brawl glitches and one gains an advantage over the other, they might stop playing while an argument ensues. When one repeatedly loses, they are visibly upset. “Dudes, it’s not that serious,” is like a mantra here.

I cannot say that it is that serious though. They are great friends, but it is really off-putting to see them get so worked up. My friend and I (along with other friends-usually other girls) often play Brawl and other video games to explore. We want to see how this move is executed or what would it look like if that character was really big or if this cheat code works. When we play, it seems like the atmosphere is more relaxed and friendly. Is this because we are girls or because we are not particularly skilled? We don’t know and we don’t really wonder.

Guy Pick

Guy Pick

This is not to say that men thrive on competition or that women like to hold hands as they skip through Second Life. We are just the small group that I interact with everyday. The guys are definitely more relaxed when they played Gunstar Heroes for Sega and I would advise your delicate sensibilities to leave if we girls were playing NARC for PS2. We have all the guns and infinite ammunition. Civilian killing sprees are not always accidental.
Girl Fave

Girl Fave

Ladies\' Love

Ladies' Love

Does anyone else notice a certain dynamic when playing with mixed groups or is everyone equally invested?

One Response
  1. Alexandra Funk permalink
    April 13, 2009

    Retrospectively, there definitely was a certain dynamic when I was growing up. I’ve mentioned to some people from class how I never got into playing WOW and I think part of the reason why is because of how I was introduced to the game. When I was nine years old my mother started dating my now stepdad and so all of us “kids from the first marriages” were thrown together. My youngest stepbrother (who is my age) would come over to our house and I would watch him play WOW for hours at a time. I really enjoyed watching him play (in fact I still love to watch people play all sorts of games), but I never once played. The women I knew (especially the women who secretly played video games) almost always filled the role of spectator.

    In recent years however, I feel like this dynamic has completely changed. In high school I was definitely an in-the-closet gamer. I only played alone or with close (for the most part female) friends. When I think about my friends from home who play now, it’s still a male majority, but the exciting part is that most of the womenfolk play WITH the men instead of the whole segregation bit. Part of the reason I played separately for so long is exactly what you talked about above: how seriously the guys take the game.

    It was really hard for me to come to terms with the fact that I enjoy video games after being told throughout my childhood that it was a decidedly unfeminine thing to like. But now that I have embraced my hobby, I can scream about dying one arrow away from killing the boss in Zelda with the best of them.

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