I’ve always loved video games. When I was little I played the Wii like crazy and now I’m torn between consoles – I can’t decide if I love my PS3 or Xbox more! Even my iPad is loaded with awesome games. It’s so much fun to jump into another world and go on quests, be a hero, battle monsters, or build a community. The only thing I don’t like about gaming is the notion that I shouldn’t be playing at all.
There are a few guys at school who raise their eyebrows at me when they hear I love to play. They seem to think that girls don’t game. Or shouldn’t. The truth is that almost half of all gamers are girls! And believe it or not, there are more women playing video games than there are teenage boys playing. You’d never know it by looking at the advertising – it’s all about boys in the ads. It’s all about guys in the games too.
Most main characters are male and when you do see girl characters, too often they hardly have any clothes on and are built like Barbie dolls. The content caters to boys too. A lot of games focus on the first-person shooter, sports and action games that guys like best. Many girls like those games too, but you’d probably find me playing The Sims or Legend of Zelda or even Super Mario Brothers over the shoot-‘em-up violent games.
But things in the gaming industry are changing. Slowly, very slowly, but they are changing. Games are starting to cater a bit more to girl gamers like me and the characters in the games are becoming more representative of the people actually playing them.
Experts are even encouraging girls to game more. It helps us develop important skills and can lead to good jobs in computers and technology-related fields when we grow up. And as more girls grow up and become game designers, there will be more female protagonists and heroes in the games and more games that invite girls to play. Maybe that’ll be me one day. Designing awesome games that everyone – boys and girls, young and old—would want to play. So now when my mom tells me to shut off my consoles and get ready for bed, I’ll just tell her I’m not ‘playing’, I’m training for my future. And that requires one more quest, one more lap, one more round before this gamer girl calls it a night.