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Women were a rarity, A Guest Post

Magic: The Gathering

Hi there, everyone!  I was asked by my friend Crymson Pleasure to write up a guest post about women in gaming. A little about myself first.  I have been playing tabletop RPG’s since around 1985-86, Magic: The Gathering from 1993, and MMORPG’s since 1999 with Everquest being the one I have played the longest.  

What are my feelings on women in gaming?  There aren’t enough!  Gaming of all types is lacking in female representation, and it shouldn’t be as it’s something that anyone can do no matter their sex, age, color, or any other factor.  There is no reason for women to feel excluded from gaming or made to feel like it’s for boys only.  If more guys would put an effort into welcoming women or getting them to try the games it would expand the amount of available players, and bring more creativity to them.  A great example is my friend Kate.  I met her through my friend Justin, and have introduced them both to Pathfinder and the wonderful world of tabletop RPG’s.  We ended 4 books into a 6-book module set, and they were both enjoying it greatly.  It was first time either one of them have ever played anything like it and she is having as much fun as he and I are.  She asked just as many good questions as he did, and got just as mad as any other player when the dice won’t fall in her favor.    

While I was growing up and playing Magic and early D&D games, women were a rarity, and I think that was at least partially the fault of gamers, and also of the companies making the games.  It wasn’t that we were purposely excluding them, but more that it wasn’t “accepted” as much for them to ask about, and join games.  The advent of online MMORPG’s helped break that mold as – unless you asked – you never knew if the persons you were playing with were guys or girls.  More women started playing games and taking their love of them to the outside world and into tabletop/LARP games.  

Pathfinder Table Top Game

When you look around today you can find women playing and running D&D games, and competing at magic tournaments.  Feline Longmore, and Jadine Klomparens are both women who play Magic at the competitive level and consistently get high placings at the tournaments they go to.  I hope to be that good myself one day.  I am sure there are many more that show up at the individual tournaments and Friday Night Magic in their local area, but there is still not enough.

All in all, we as gamers need to take it upon ourselves to bring more women into the games we play, as they are made to be fun and enjoyed by everyone.  We need to share our love of the games with our friends and loved ones.  Maybe they haven’t joined you in playing because they haven’t felt that rush of a critical hit rolled at just the perfect time, or pulling off the perfect play to a win a game of Magic.  All it takes is that one moment and boom you have them hooked.  


Be your own block button

Hi, I’m Mike Knapp. Some of you know me as KarlDark or Hida Kenshiro. Crymson Pleasure asked me to write a guest piece for the Real Women of Gaming… and i forgot about it after two weeks of trying to figure out what i could write that hasn’t already been written. She recently pressed me again to finish the piece. She asked me, “Do you think women are treated equally when it comes to gaming in general?” My answer was, “No. Not very often. When they are main characters, they are all too often unrealistic boobtacular badasses that never evoke emotions other than lust or envy. Then, when they aren’t the protagonist, they are plot devices. True, every story needs a plot device and, while i dislike the ‘woman in refrigerator’ syndrome, it would be nice to see women simply exist in a game.”

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A Feminist Review of Fable III

The reason why I love Fable III so much may be fairly obvious already. While I appreciate the comedic themes throughout the story and the allusions to the previous two Fable games, the thing I like the most about Fable III is the fact that you can choose to be a strong, independent woman. The female Hero can be dainty and elegant (a spell caster who prefers dresses, maybe) or strong and aggressive (a melee fighter who likes armor). Either way, she’s exactly the way you make her, which I think is a revolutionary concept. The level of customization in this game is absolutely superb.

While Microsoft Game Studios gives you an introductory story of a girl who’s under the control of her brother and almost forced into a hetero-normative relationship with Eliot, she has the chance to break away from the oppression and become a true Hero. She’s the leader that Albion has been waiting for; the Queen that can rule better and far more justly than her evil brother. So, after she comes to her senses, when her brother forces her to choose between Eliot’s life and the life of innocent townspeople, she escapes her own prison and sets out to overthrow King Logan.

While I know this is the same storyline for the male Hero, it is important that the female Hero’s storyline was not altered simply because she’s female. She’s a complete badass who is totally capable of overthrowing Logan and becoming the Hero of Albion. She has all the same choices as the male Hero and it totally fits. And the best part is that she’s not exactly the same as the male Hero, but with breasts. You see too much of the media trying to push the feminist ideal as women who act like men, when it’s not. The female Hero in Fable III can act like a man, sure, but that’s completely up to you, which is what feminism is really about. It’s okay to act really feminine. It’s okay to act masculine. It’s okay to act however you want to, as long as it’s your choice.

While I usually always choose to be with Eliot once I’m in the castle, I like the fact that you can choose to break that hetero-normative cycle. If I want my Hero to be a lesbian, she totally can be! I think it’s important to have that option. It teaches the people playing the game that this lifestyle is not a bad thing, and thus promotes love. I think it’s awesome that one of my best friends always plays as a gay man, every single time. Well… except for the one time that he had his character marry mine for the Xbox Live Achievement. He cheated on me with Eliot, though…

My point is that this video game doesn’t force you to play in one constrictive male-dominated storyline. Sure, we’re all completing the same tasks and dealing with a lot of the same people, but we’re all making different choices and ending up with different outcomes. While playing any other video game over and over may seem repetitive, I could play Fable III a million times and continue to be amused and delighted by it. Until I find another game with this much customization and freedom with my female character, I think it’s safe to say that Fable III is and will remain my favorite video game.

-Vanri the Rogue