As a girl, video games are not things that are advertised to me. They were something that boys did. I used to play a little bit of them when I was about 7, but they were more girly games. When I started to play again years later, when I turned 15, I was introduced to so many new and cool games. Some of my favorites were Grand Theft Auto 5, Rainbow 6 Siege, Fortnite, and of course, Minecraft. Since I have been grounded with no other communication with my friends, this has been one of my favorite past times.
Before I started to play video games, I didn’t find them super interesting. My step-dad and brother were attached to their consoles playing all these games with quests and interesting objectives, from protecting bombs to being the last one standing. They all seemed so exhilarating. My step-dad had an Xbox One that he never used anymore. My friends encouraged me to play with them, so I took that two-year-old Xbox and began to play.
Unfortunately, I immediately noticed a backlash because of my gender. Xbox has a party feature where other people playing Xbox can invite you to chat. The way people tend to treat me varies. Twenty-five percent of the people I have met have been nice to me. They never took my gender into consideration. The other 25% weren’t as welcoming. These were the people who were rude to me just because I’m a girl. I could write a book with names and phrases that have been said to me.
The other half of the people I have met in the online gaming world are the “simps.” Simps are people who treat you differently or have an attraction to you. I join a party and they don’t expect me to be female, but as soon as I speak, I hear, “Are you a gamer girl?” It goes from there. They treat me differently and tend to be overly nice looking to get stuff out of me. This made me try to not reach out to new people because I’m scared of harassment. I usually try to joke with them, but sometimes people take it way too far. I’ve been asked out so many times on Xbox before people even know what I look like or who I am. It’s crazy the type of people you’ll meet online.
There is always a worry of being catfished. When people get catfished, the person on the opposite side will say, for example, that they are female when in fact, they are male. It seems like any online platform is a breeding ground for predators. It’s very hard to tell how old someone is. People tend to sound different over a microphone. I’ve been mistaken for a 12-year-old boy multiple times. Quite often people tend to sound much younger or older than they actually are. Another risk is voice changers. People can hook-up devices to make themselves sound younger or a completely other gender. Luckily, I’ve never come into contact with a predator that I know of. I am very careful about who I talk to and the information I give them about myself.
In the beginning of my gaming phase, I never played any games that had to do with guns. It wasn’t because I couldn’t, no one ever stopped me, they just never interested me. I played building games, like Minecraft and Roblox, with little to no violence. I didn’t even think about playing violent games until I started to play again on the Xbox One. My friends basically forced me to play Rainbow Six Siege, my first shooter game, and I fell in love. The games just kept expanding from there. I’ve probably spent over $1,000 on video games alone since then. Uniforms, skins, and emotes I want them all.
Video games should be something that are explored by more people. Girls should not have to be limited to what society says is okay for them to play. Everyone should have a chance to try something new and explore something they might really enjoy. Not only has Xbox become my main source of entertainment, it has also made me more willing to try new things. There are positives and negatives in regards to everything, so those getting into the gaming world need to proceed with caution, but as long as you do, the options are endless.