A Girl in the Game: PC Gaming
I grew up a console gamer, playing on whatever my bother had at the time. We had a computer, sure, and even some games for it, but I could never get into them, really. It wasn’t until high school that I was introduced to the world of PC games, starting with Left 4 Dead 2 and the world of emulators which included Harvest Moon and Pokemon. I was awful at L4D2. Seriously, doors were the worst and I couldn’t hit things to save my life. I wasn’t used to interacting with a world without a controller. Since then I have gained skill and broadened my gaming experience quite a bit, a lot of which is due to my husband.
I’m a solitary gamer, so I don’t see a lot of the prejudice of being a girl gamer online. When I do play online it’s with my husband and his friends or my brother; a safe environment. I play games for their stories, mostly. I think this is why I have trouble with open world games like Skyrim or Fallout 3. I don’t have any experience with any other Fallout games. I need structure to tell me where to go and what to do. One game I really enjoyed was Mass Effect and what I got to play of Mass Effect 2. I got pneumonia half way through the second game and was too exhausted to even play a video game in bed. Plus I messed up some of the relationships and lost the respect of one of the characters and I wanted to keep them all so I gave up for a while and now I think I should start over, probably. But the thought of starting over is so tedious because I remember all the crap I had to go through to get where I was and I don’t know if I want to go through all that again. But it’s been like a year and a half, so I should probably do that. Then again, I’m starting on a new computer so I should probably start with Mass Effect so I can port my save to Mass Effect 2. Maybe romance a new character. We’ll see. And now I’ve spun off on a tangent. Anyway.
Mass Effect was my husband’s fault. It was one of our very first conversations, in fact. He was writing a paper on the game for one of his classes. My brother was also a big influence and supplier of games for me. He’s been supporting my gaming habit as long as I’ve been alive. He got me into Portal and Sam and Max. He’ll supply me occasionally with new games he thinks are fun or that we can play together. Most recently we played Orcs Must Die 2 in a “let’s play” attempt, which we may try again someday. We even tried League of Legions early in college. I was not very good at it. I’m really bad at thinking strategically. This is why I need structure to a game that directs me where to go. Or at least points me in a general plot-ish direction.
I have a bad habit of getting half way through a game and then getting distracted. Mass Effect 2 wasn’t exactly my fault. But then again, I didn’t get back to it, either, so it was kind of my fault. I’m currently also half way through BioShock Infinite, as well. I don’t even know how many console games I’ve started and haven’t completed. I’m just really bad at finishing things, apparently. I’m too easily distracted. To be fair, some of them I’ve been playing with my husband, so I have to wait for him to finish them. Like Borderlands 2. I’m not actually sure how far in we are, but we haven’t played in a long time, either. Maybe we’ll get back to it someday. I have a whole list of games I need to finish and I need to play. I got Dishonored at some point and I would really like to play that one. Though I’m a little be nervous about the whole crazy ending thing that happens if you kill everyone. I mean, I don’t want to kill everyone, but I’m also not great at the whole sneaky thing. So we’ll see how that goes.
When my husband’s friends found out I was a gamer at least one of them thought I was the coolest. I’m not going to lie, the approval felt really good. Do I think I’m cool because I’m a gamer? Not particularly. But I like that shock value, I think. That moment when I say something that indicates my understanding of video games and my experience playing them and see the eyebrows raise on a guy, just a little, as if he wasn’t expecting it. It’s a fun reaction to get. Up there with the night after a play in college when I was sitting on Logan’s couch and his roommate discovered my last name was Farkas, and then discovered that I was familiar with Skyrim, and then discovered that Farkas means wolf in Hungarian. That made total sense to some of you. It was a great moment.
I haven’t done any gaming in a while outside of playing with my husband some evenings. I think it’s because it takes so much time. In theory I could sit down and play for an hour and then do something else. Clean, or write, or maybe read something, but the truth is, I’m not going to stop after an hour. I’m going to find myself in the middle of a mission, or a quest, or a chapter, and I’m going to think, “Well, I’ll just finish this up and then I’ll be done.” but the next section will start before I know it and then I’ll be sucked in to what’s happen and next time I think I know, my husband’s walking through the door and wondering why all the lights are off. Games have a way of sucking you in, man. Just like anything with a good story, they’re compelling. They make you want to just get that next item, just one more fight, one more small quest. You’re halfway done already, might as well finish it up. It’s awful, in a good way. I’ve become resistant. I know I won’t come back if I go into the computer room. I have to be sure that’s how I want to spend my entire day. Perhaps this winter I’ll return to it. I’ll snuggle up in my fuzzy blankets, in my giant sweater and I’ll just game until spring. We shall see.