Game on!

video-gamesVideo games have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. My uncle bought us our first gaming console when I was seven or eight. It was an Atari and my brothers and I thought we were the luckiest kids in the world. We played astroids and centipede and pac-man all summer long. We fought over the controllers and who’s turn it was and who was the best player.

A few years later the NES came out and my dad made sure we upgraded. Then it was all Super Mario, Donkey Kong, Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter. Each new addition to our console collection was like adding a new member to the family: Sega, Play Station, N64, Xbox, Gameboy, DS lite, PSP. Oh the joy! The more games we collected the more I loved video games. It was more than entertainment; it was social activity, problem solving and healthy competition.

When computers became more accessible I added educational staples like Carmen San Diego and Oregon Trail, and adventure favorites like Tomb Raider and Dark Tower to my list. As long as I was playing video games I was happy. It never felt weird to be a girl gamer. It was just what I did for fun.

I’m always shocked by the assumption that girls aren’t gammers. Of course we are gammers. And not just the online games like Diner Dash or Bejeweled. I love those games but not  as much as I love kicking butt and jacking cars!

The recent attention placed on girl gammers has me encouraged. I spent Memorial Day playing WII with my nieces. I watched them do virtual damage to each other in Super Smash Bros. Brawl and laughed as they talked trash during battle. It reminded me of my childhood. They love video games as much as I do. Both have DS Lites, play games online and choose more “aggressive” games on their Wii and PS2. It helps that their dad (my big brother) is a hard core gammer. In addition to the typical “boy” games they own We Cheer, Hannah Montana and Petz. They get to have the best of both worlds.

There is something to be said for game designers recognizing that girls play games and some want the cutesy types. The cute pink,  purple,  yellow and power blue colors don’t hurt either. We don’t have to sacrifice our feminine side to be serious gammers. I also appreciate that they keep the hard core games coming. Still, I have a little of advice to offer the game designers out there. Give us more femme fatales who kick butt and take names to match the ballerinas, babysitters, and cooks. That’s all I ask. Do that, and it’s game on!

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