Confessions of a Girl Gamer

I’m a girl gamer. Four words that I swore I would never say, but now I say them with a wee bit of smugness. Let me explain a little; I married a man, who among other things is a gamer, so now, thanks to him, I currently enjoy a wide variety of games of the geeky kind. However, I am quite pleased that the influence goes both ways, and my husband now plays some traditional games, such as Bananagrams.
I grew up in a family that adored word games like Boggle and Scrabble, and card games like Hand and Foot. Every family get-together with Grandma meant we’d break out the Scrabble board and see if anyone could beat the reigning champion (Grandma). Holidays meant it was time for Hand and Foot, and we were pretty competitive!

But I was totally turned off to RPGs, trading card games, and video games because I thought they were weird, violent, and for lonely, greasy young adults who couldn’t get jobs. Being a teacher, I also didn’t like the fact that I could tell which of my students were gamers and which were readers just by the effort in class and quality of work turned in.

Now, however, after playing Magic the Gathering (trading card game), running an RPG (role playing game), and playing over halfway through Guild Wars (a massively multiplayer online role playing game), my husband proudly refers to me as a geek. He also gets a kick out of watching me play video games, but I must confess, I only play casual games-nothing with blood or swearing or killing. A point in my favor, however, is that I do have my own Xbox controller and headset.

Why the switch? What changed my mind? Aside from learning that some of these geeky games are actually really fun and complex, I learned that many of these games rely on the elements of story, strategy, and critical thinking. Being a geek is more sophisticated than it sounds! I’ll dive into each category of game in subsequent articles, but in this overview, let me say that while I’m still a light gamer, I’m quite enjoying this new subculture.

As with any subculture, too much of anything is harmful. A word to the wise [parents] here: games of any kind, especially video games, should never ever take the place of good, honest reading, school work, or social interaction. Even for boys! This recent article was particularly convincing.

And since many games do lean a little heavy on the visceral, parents need discretion to know what their children are playing. Many games do contain violence, sexual elements, and bad language. Even for adult gamers, moderation and balance should be important.

So to the gamer and non-gamer alike, get out in the sunshine, enjoy the company of friends, read a good book, and try a game! You might be pleasantly surprised.