Unfortunately Your Princess is in Another Castle: The Elusive Female Gamer


Published: November 20, 2008

I am a “video gamer,” though for the record, I prefer to be labeled a nerd. My friends are nerds; we all enjoy a good game of “Rock Band” and “Super Smash Brothers Brawl.” While we’ve always had in-depth conversations about the best strategies for playing “Civilization IV,” we have also always had difficulties interacting with the opposite sex.

From what I’ve learned from an article on the gamer blog Kotaku.com, there are two different types of girls who play video games: the girl gamer and the female gamer. The girl gamer is not a true gamer, but someone who plays games to fit in with and to attract male friends who play games. The female gamers are the ones who play games because they actually enjoy them, regardless of what men think. Not all of these female gamers are hardcore gamers who play difficult, violent games such as “God of War” and “Halo.” Many play more casual games in their spare time like “Super Mario” or “Guitar Hero.”

The real distinction between the two is their interest in games. Many hardcore gamers don’t consider something like “Tetris” or “Brick Breaker” a real video game because they’re easy to play and don’t have excessive violence. In my opinion, a girl who has an unbeatable high score in “Brick Breaker” on her Blackberry and plays it for enjoyment is more of a female gamer than the girl playing a more difficult game like “Call of Duty” and shooting her own teammates.

I know that, in my circle of gamer friends, one of our top criteria for a potential girlfriend used to be that she was a gamer. I once had a girlfriend who played video games and who seemed to be a female gamer. When I first met her, we were at a friend’s party where everyone was playing video games, including her. I overlooked the fact that she wasn’t very good at games just because she was playing them. I know that it doesn’t make any sense for me to say that I went after a gamer who wasn’t actually a gamer, but it was my first relationship and I didn’t know any better.

As time went on, I realized that we weren’t really compatible, and there were a lot of things that I overlooked just because she owned a Nintendo Wii and played a few games. She turned out to really be a girl gamer. We only played video games when hanging out with mutual friends and never when it was just the two of us. It got rough after a while because we were such different people. When she asked for time apart (which ultimately led to our break up), I actually called two of my best friends, and we played “Super Smash Brothers Brawl” into the early morning.

What I learned from my relationship with her is that male gamers need to re-examine our priorities when it comes to girls. I think that many of us want to find a girl who not only shares our passion for games, but who is also a good girlfriend. While this seems to be a logical mindset, a lot of gamers forget that there is much more to a relationship than one’s Xbox Live Gamer Score. I learned this the hard way. Gamers are limiting themselves if they’re trying to go after the mythical gaming goddess.

I think we all need to be really honest with ourselves and the people we pursue. A girl shouldn’t feel the need to try to start gaming because she thinks it will make her like one of the guys. Not only will guys find her out, but she won’t have a good time around a bunch of competitive males who care more about decimating each other than paying attention to her. In return, male gamers need to stop looking for a girl who’s a level 60 warrior in “World of Warcraft,” but rather someone who has other qualities besides a second degree healing spell.

Really, I really don’t care whether a girl plays video games or not. It’s cool if she does, but I’m not going to hold it against her if she doesn’t. I want to find someone who’s smart and funny and whose interests can complement mine. Gaming is only one facet of my life. As much as people like to believe that gamers sit around playing games 20 hours a day, we don’t. Well, most of us don’t. Just remember, we gamers are a shy bunch and are more afraid of girls than girls should be of us.