Growing up as a Girl Gamer

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I’ve always had an interest in video games. When I was 10 years old my brother let me play Pokémon Blue on his Gameboy and I remember spending hours playing Pajama Sam on my family computer with the big, early 2000’s bulky keyboard.

It wasn’t until 2007, when I was in 7th grade, that I discovered perhaps the coolest game at that time; RuneScape. My brother had been playing it and told me about how you could create a character and then you would work on skills such as woodcutting and mining to level up. You could kill other players or do quests. The possibilities were endless. So, after begging my mother, she let me open an account and play.

At that age I was still playing on the family computer because laptops were expensive, and I was too young to have my own. That year I just barely convinced my mom to let me have  my own cell phone, so technology wasn’t big in my house unless if it was for work or doing homework. After figuring out how MMORPG’s (massively multiplayer online role-playing game) work, I was able to get the hang of playing RuneScape and eventually I fell in love with it. I felt like I was able to escape into a whole different world where I could be whoever I wanted to be. The only downside, even with the yearly updates, was that the graphics weren’t the best. The world was huge in the game, but I felt like doing tasks was taking forever and I started to get bored.

Source: Reddit

The Hunter skill came out 8 years ago today from runescape

 

In 2009 my brother introduced me to the next game that would change how I play video games for forever. I remember one day, after taking a 6-month hiatus from RuneScape and playing Club Penguin for a bit, my brother kept going on about this new(ish) game called “World of Warcraft.” He said it was a bit pricey, but the graphics were 100 times better. I decided to get the free trial for the newest expansion called “Wrath of the Lich King.”

I was automatically hooked.

My brother didn’t lie about the amazing graphics. They were breathtaking, the music was also so beautiful and the world itself was gigantic. The quests were a lot easier to do and you could do more in the game. If I wanted to spend all day sitting in a chair in the Lions Pride Inn in Goldshire talking to friends, I could. If I wanted to ride on my horse and explore all of Azeroth, I could. The amount of questing and in-depth storylines made this game my favorite, even to this day.

Source: Keen and Graev

Wrath of the Lich King was the Best WoW Expansion

 

In 2013, I discovered storyline games. I saw a YouTube video for this game called, “The Last of Us” appear on my recommended list, so I decided to watch it. I then realized I could download the game on my PC.

The game involved a storyline where you were trying to survive a zombie apocalypse, but you could make choices to change how the story goes. This was when I started to figure out that storyline games are just as amazing as MMORPG’s. The only downside is that you don’t get to chat or quest with millions of other people around the world, but the storylines of these games are often gut-wrenching and involve so many twists and turns that you want to keep replaying it.

Source: CMON

https://www.cmon.com/press/the-last-of-us-is-coming-to-tabletop

I thank my brother for introducing me to video games when he did, but I’ve had to deal with something that he has not while playing MMORPG’s; the number of times guys have either hit on me or bullied me online.

There’s been this stigma for years that girl gamers are somehow inferior to men. Whether it’s because some guys have a God complex, or they use video games as a way to rage and girls are their easy target, I’m not sure.

The first time I got bullied online by men was when I was playing World of Warcraft. I was standing in one of the busier areas of the game called Stormwind. Stormwind is the main hub for the Alliance, and the Alliance is considered the “good” side of the game. The “bad” side is called the Horde, but breaking down the classes and characters is for another story. I was in a queue waiting to start a duel and a random player privately messaged me, asking if I was a girl. I replied with a “yeah, why?” and he replied with “I bet you suck at playing… girls are weak.”

I don’t understand why he randomly chose me to ask, but afterwards he kept spam messaging me throughout the dual calling me names like, “b*tch,” “sl*t,” and “sk*nk,” as well as some other choice words. I immediately blocked him and reported him to game admins. Then I did what any teenager with insecurities did; went on YouTube to see if other girls had the same issue as me.

I found a plethora of videos of guys bullying girls online for no reason. It’s worse when you have a mic because then you can talk to them and during gameplay they’ll either be hitting on you and saying how “cute” you look, or how they would love to see how you are in bed, yet they haven’t even met you in real life. Since then, I have been afraid to even chat with people in games and my rule is. Unless I’m talking gameplay or strategy, I won’t reveal who I am out of fear of being judged or bullied, purely because I’m a girl who likes video games.

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My name is Mariah Olmstead and I'm a Senior at NEC. I transferred to NEC in fall of 2019 and I'm currently a communications major with a concentration in Journalism and Media/Production. Before coming to NEC, I worked for the Walt Disney Company and Universal Studios Orlando as a performer, and before that I was a student at Community College of Vermont. I want to be a travel writer or work for a production/media company once I graduate in the spring. I love Kpop, theatre, and dancing. Most of my editorials are personal stories or related to theme parks, and the Kpop industry. Once I graduate, I plan on teaching English abroad in Korea.
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