If it sounds like IĎm bragging thatís because I kinda am. You would too. Not because getting laid is particularly brag worthy (lots of people do it) and not because I subscribe to the ridiculous stereotype that all gamers are socially backwards virgins (which is as untrue as it is over used.) No, Iím bragging about it because itís weird. Itís a bizarre and kinda cool thing that happened to me. This is not how things are supposed to work. The universe should not reward me with sex because I spent too much time as a kid playing Super Nintendo. Thatís just not right, and it gives me the wrong idea about how I should live my life.
See back when I was one of those stereotypical socially backwards virgin gamers, the idea that somewhere out there was a girl I could possibly have sex with was what got me to put down the controller in the first place. As exciting as my first Tomb Raider-induced erection was was, I was well aware that Lara Croft would never actually be able to touch it.
Even though I could tell she totally wanted to.
If I wanted my erection to go anywhere I needed to leave the house. So I did. I did what any horny teenager with half a brain does, I made friends with girls, I attended parties with girls, I spent every moment I could attempting to touch girls. I started writing and got involved with theatre (because the hottest girls at my school were all into drama.) Eventually it worked.
The point is that usually sex is the reward you get for being an active healthy human being. Sex is what happens when you do things like clean yourself, dress nicely, go outside, socialise, lead an interesting and productive lifeÖ those sorts of things. When I wanted to get laid I had to be interesting, funny, charming, and hygienic. Playing videogames, reading comics, and watching stupidly large amounts of late night infomercials, these were purely selfish pursuits.
Iím not claiming that I stopped these hobbies. Of course not. In all honesty I still probably spend far too much of my time and money on these things. Just that the only reward I got from doing them was entertainment, and several great deals on steak knives.
Iíve probably spent more nights staring into this manís eyes than any womanís.
Wow, Tim Shaw jokes? Man that is one dated reference. At any rate my point is that being a gamer doesnít mean I shouldnít be able to get laid, but it certainly shouldnít help me. Charm, wit, intelligence, and art, these were the skills you have to use to get girls.
Being good at videogames once got me laid.
It always irritates me that the media always seems to portray gamers as lonely virgins, but to an extent I understand why. The hobby is not sexy, itís not active, and (online communities aside) it can be quite anti-social. Every time I replay Mass Effect 2, I am not improving my life (although I am however improving my gamerscore which currently stands at 21150. What? I like my Gamerscore!)
Of course in reality a person can have many hobbies, both social and anti-social and keep these parts of their life in balance. Itís not tricky. However, expecting the media to have a clear and balanced view of the world is pointless, particularly when most of us geeky types seem to delight in trying to force these stereotypes onto each other.
ďHey did you check out those Xbox fans? Those guys are total virgins!ĒĖ Lord Nintendofanloves69s the 3rd.
So as I got older my priorities changed. I still loved my geeky pursuits but more and more of my time was being spent working on my non-gaming skills because these were the skills that would bring me money, friends, and blowjobs. So when one day I managed to get laid due to my ability to efficiently navigate fire pits, it terrified me.
Not the sex, that was great, nor the girl, she was lovely. What terrified me was the idea that maybe if I was even better at videogames would I get more sex out of it? What if I had made a terrible mistake? What if instead of deciding to become more charming, Iíd simply put my head down and trained my thumbs harder than before? If I hadnít wasted all that time grooming, Iíd be like a million times better at games right? I could go from door to door, beating difficult games for grateful girls and having them invite me into their beds afterwards to receive my just reward.
Ok, so probably not.
I havenít actually told the story yet. You may not even want to hear it. Itís not a terribly sexy story. There was a girl. I thought she was cute. I tried to chat her up a few times but failed miserably. One day she mentions that she has a Super Nintendo set up next to her bed and plays it all the time. Obviously I suggest that we should play said Super Nintendo together. Fast forward. Weíre sitting on her bed, sheís just kicked my arse at Street Fighter 2, I have just discovered a previously unknown fetish I have for getting my arse kicked in Street Fighter 2 by a cute girl.
Now beat me again, but this time play as Chun LiÖ
Eventually she asks if Iím any good at Mario. I say that Iíve beaten every Mario game (which I haveÖ except for The Lost Levels but that doesnít count right? That game was waaaay too hard.) She asks if Iíll help her beat Mario, as itís the only game she has that she canít beat. I agree to help, and get ready to show her just how well I handle my plumber.
She puts in Mario All-Stars, and of course loads up The Lost Levels.
Now at this point Iím not thinking straight, for the first time ever a girl seems genuinely impressed by my gaming ability. On the other hand every sitcom episode Iíve ever seen where a guy lies to a girl to impress her has ended up with the guy looking like a complete dickhead by the end.
I realised I had to keep the lie going, however I was pretty positive I was about to destroy any chance I had with this girl.
Nintendoís greatest boner killer.
Somehow, that day, we both managed to beat The Lost Levels for the first time. I was psyched, so psyched that I had almost completely forgotten about operation Ďget with cute girlí.
The girl was surprisingly grateful.
I got laid because I managed to beat Super Mario Bros: The Lost Levels.
For one beautiful and terrible day, the natural order of things was turned on its head and I was given far more than I deserved. It was awesome.
The next day she made me breakfast. Sex and food? Thank you gaming!
Also on my way home I stopped into my local store to discover a sales rep giving out free ice cream.
This whole 'GaymerCon' thing has come about at quite an opportune moment hasn't it? It has leapt into the public awareness while we're all still discussing the Chik-Fil-A controversy, and really it hasn't been that long since a lot of us were upset at Dragon Age 2 for having a gay male character hit on us while we were trying to simply kill some dragons and stuff. If the gay gaming issue is hot right now, then the 'females in gaming' issue is boiling. Numerous articles on Lara Croft's re-imagining, many more on feminine role-models, and umpteen discussions about how much skin characters in games show can all be found on any gaming site at the moment. Let's not even start on the uproar that Resident Evil 5 caught when it was revealed you play a white guy who mows down hundreds of African zombies with a machine gun.
It seems one can't look at a gaming blog or pick up a magazine these days without reading about something that gaming is doing wrong. When did this happen? Remember when games were just made for fun? When they made games way we liked them and nobody got upset and we all got to play awesome games all the time? Wasn't that sweet?
Why can't gaming go back to being just like that?
The reason is that those days were only sweet for us.
For every game that we loved because it was made with us in mind, someone else felt left out. For every commercial that showed us some sweet violence and cleavage, somebody else was turned off. I know every game can't please everyone, but there is a definite trend towards every game being made to please us.
So what's the problem with that? We're the most common market for video games? If they made games to appeal to other markets they would be excluding us! How dare they exclude us?
You probably see were I'm going with this.
The problem is when you're privileged enough to have be born a white straight male it's very easy to forget that you are privileged.
We're used to being that privileged, so we don't always feel it. It's like breathing, 99% of the time we don't notice it.
Sorry to everyone who is now uncomfortably aware of their breathing.
Every now and then, this makes us act like douche-bags to people who are not as privileged. Often we don't mean to, we don't get why it's such a big deal to be something that isn't a straight white male.
Why do gay people need a parade? Where's the straight parade?
What's with feminism? Where's manism?
Why should I give to charity? Nobody gives me anything.
Why should we be trying to make games that specifically appeal to people who aren't me? Nothing's stopping others from playing the games I play?
I can understand, you don't realise your being a bigot when you say things like this, you think you're actually championing the idea of everyone getting treated fairly. We are so used to the world being catered to us, that we get really put out when something happens that is not catered to us. Sometimes it's worth reminding yourself that every day is a straight white man parade and you have been given more than enough already you entitled dick-head.
Pictured above: being us.
I apologise, I shouldn't have called you a name. You probably didn't like that. I wouldn't. In fact you probably aren't too happy with me telling you off simply for being a straight white male. It's not your fault you were born privileged, and I really shouldn't make assumptions on who you are just based on where you come from. You are correct, I shouldn't, and it's not nice. Let's just remember that while it may be irritating when people lump us together in the way that I have above, it happens very rarely. To some people it happens daily.
I am a straight white male gamer, and I like to believe I am a sympathetic, open minded, and inclusive person. I am also aware that many people I can clearly see are not sympathetic, open minded, or inclusive think about themselves the same way I do.
You probably feel the same way about yourself. Well just for a moment stop feeling good about yourself and allow this hypothetical scenario some thought. What if you are not open minded at all? What if you only believe you are? What if your position in society and your life experiences thus far have not given you the perspective required to really view yourself accurately. What if your world view is too narrow, how would you know?
So the question is, how do we know if we actually are being open minded? It's tricky, I don't think there's an easy answer, but here's an easy first step...
If a person who is different to us, tells us that being different sometimes makes their life difficult, and that they would like to maybe have a place where they could go and be more comfortable so they can enjoy their hobby in peace, let's all agree to not tell them they are wrong for wanting what we take for granted.
Alright. Glad we got that sorted, now I'm gonna go donate some money to GaymerCon.
I don't live in the states, I'm not going to get to attend, but it might just go a little way to making a hobby I'm passionate about, a little more fun and accessible for someone other than me.