Members of Geek Girl Brunch’s Reno chapter met up at Napa Sonoma South to have a lively conversation about being girls who love to game. There seemed to be a common theme running through the discussion – many of us felt uncomfortable labeling ourselves as “gamers,” despite the slew of games that most of us play and the amount of time we have spent playing them. This seemed to have more to do with the social pressure of girl gamers fighting to be perceived as “legitimate” (a term used by multiple brunch attendees), even to the point of questioning ourselves, than with our actual abilities or dedication to the hobby.
This theme emerged immediately as co-officer Erin started things off by introducing herself as “not a huge gamer,” even though she has played more than enough to be considered one! She was introduced to games (and much of the geek-o-sphere) by her older brother and she used to watch him play games as a kid. She loved Bushido Blade and Mortal Combat, and is an unabashed button basher! Other loves are American McGee’s Alice, multiple Star Wars games such as KOTOR. She loves story-based games, and often watches her husband play just for cut scenes.
First time brunchette Stephanie grew up with Nintendo. She’s not as much of a fan of PC gaming, too many buttons. She loves story-based games as well, mentioning Horizon Zero Dawn, and game series such as Ratchet & Clank, and Sly Cooper as some of her favorites. As a first timer, she also discussed her various geeky interests such as anime, board games, TV shows such as Black Mirror and the Marvel shows, and comic books.
Julie considers herself a fairly new gamer, as video games were banned in her home growing up! She first fell in love with games with Diablo 2. She loves to play with her husband, and specifically enjoys puzzle and adventure games. She also watches her husband play some of his games like Assassin’s Creed just for the storyline. She gave us all a laugh when she told the story of why she stopped playing KOTOR – her character destroyed an entire PLANET! She also mentioned the Sailor Moon game which she plays on her phone.
Co-officer Kayla was in her element, as, in her words, her “entire WORLD is games.” She had a unique introduction to gaming – as a home-schooled kid, in her early teens she was in need of a PE credit, and somehow Dance Dance Revolution was her answer! She loves the Resident Evil and Final Fantasy series, and other RPGs such as Dragon Age, BioShock, and Mass Effect (although the last one was a sore spot…). She and her “Halo-worshipping” husband game together all the time, so it’s a huge part of her life. She currently wants to start Tales of Zestiria and the Persona games.
Co-officer Vanessa admits to having spent WAY too many hours of her life on games, but also felt awkward with the “gamer” title since she likes mostly games that are more associated with kids, such as her all time favorite game obssession, The Legend of Zelda series. She even has a triforce tattoo! She grew up playing old PC games on her green-and-black monitor, but eventually fell in love with Nintendo thanks to her NES and Game Boy. She loves other “cutesy” games such as the Super Mario games, nearly all the Lego games, Katamari Damacy, and Little Big Planet, but also loves adventure, story-based games such as the Uncharted series. She plays a ton of mobile games on her phone as well, and as much as she loves to read she’d usually rather be gaming! She also briefly discussed the whole “gamergate” ordeal and the uproar over the female lead in Battlefront II.
Jan came prepared with show and tell! She brought some of the old handheld games that her daughter (co-officer Vanessa!) grew up playing, and passed them around for us all to play with – amazingly they still work! She is a huge fan of WoW, and has logged many an hour playing it. She also has the interesting distinction of being the only brunchette who has actually taught courses in making video games! She is even currently a game producer, albeit of slot machines,and she used to teach various courses in video game creation at the Illinois Institute of Art.
Cheyenne considers herself a “casual gamer,” as a full time student and working a full time job, she doesn’t have much time for games nowadays, although her boyfriend did get her a Disney-themed 3DS and shes enjoying playing Pokemon Go! She grew up playing games such as Oregon Trail and Need for Speed, and lost years of her life to WoW. She enjoys games she can play for a few minutes then put down. She started us off on a tangent about how people who never played games (such as many of our parents and grandparents) now play games on their phones and tablets, games such as Ingress.
Clara grew up as “quite the gamer,” getting her start on her parents’ Commodore 64. She remembers getting magazines with game codes, and games such as Canyon Cruiser and Dragon Warrior, Oregon and Amazon Trails, and Carmen Sandiego (to which everyone on the table had a heartily nostalgic “oh YEAH!” reaction). She used to kick the boys’ butts at GoldenEye, much to their dismay. She prefers PC gaming, but doesn’t enjoy multiplayer. The group was pretty split down the middle about that, which some of us preferring single-player and others prefer to play with other people. She also plays mobile games, specifically mentioning Fallout Shelter. She admits to never having gotten into WoW, for fear that her “life would disappear!”
We handed out a Minecraft nightlight and LoZ water bottle as prizes and the brunch came to a close, with us all agreeing that it’s unfair to think of certain games as more or less legitimate or worthy than others. This brunch, more than most, highlighted the need for organizations like Geek Girl Brunch. Most of us are extremely knowledgeable geeks, who can hold our own with (or show up) the geekiest of geek guys, however so many of us still felt the need to qualify our “gamer” cred. The domain of video games is still very much a prejudiced and non-female-friendly realm. The fact is, that we can be gamers playing Lego Dimensions or gamers playing Call of Duty, it’s no different, we just enjoy different types of games that best suit our interests, skill sets, and personalities. We also discussed how video games, despite all the fearmongering about how they supposedly prevent social interaction, the exact opposite seems to be true. Our brunch is the perfect example of that!
Stay tuned for next month’s GGB Reno “Ani-May” Brunch!!!