So I know I’ve mentioned this previously, but – GASP – I am a gamer (It’s just been a minute since I’ve babbled about that). This has actually been a rather large part of my life, and an incredible source of inspiration. It didn’t occur to me until recently that I haven’t actually written much about that.
So I’m going to start throwing out some gaming anecdotes!
Names will be changed to protect the geeks, but I’m pretty sure that those in my gaming group will be able to recognize themselves or others they’ve played with. If nothing else, they’ll recognize overall situations (we’ve all been there).
So there’s not exactly alot of female tabletop gamers. Yeah, there’s been more in recent years, but by and large, not a whole heck of a lot of us. In the vast majority of my groups, there may be one other chick in the game, maybe two, but that’s been even more rare. For many of my groups, I’ve been the only regular female player.
For certain definitions of “regular.”
As such, I’ve had more than my share of mansplaining. No, the geek world is not devoid of such things.
Hell, back when my boy was a freshman in high school, he had one of his pals over – Let’s call him ‘W’, shall we? They were playing a Bleach fighting game on the Wii, and I gave them their space to do as they would (and be comfortable with all the smack-talking they cared for). At one point, I wandered out to check on something (unrelated to what the boys were doing). I was passing through, and paused to see how the game was proceeding.
Dev gave me a brief update of how the game had been going. Aizen somehow came up – fair considering what they were playing.
W then paused the game to turn around to explain to me just who Aizen was in relation to what they were doing in excruciating detail. No biggie – he had no way of knowing I was a fan of the series much less knew anything about it.
But he continued to then explain what a fighting game was and what all went into it.
As I was staring at this little boy, I numbly realized he was doing it. He was mansplaining. They started this young?? I looked at Dev who was barely controlling his laughter.
Finally Dev tapped his friend’s shoulder, shaking his head, letting his mirth bubble forth. “Dude… she can kick my ass at this stuff. And she has a chibi Aizen in her room and a Bayakuya pillow on her bed.”
Let’s pretend you didn’t hear the second part.
W didn’t believe my boy, so I was forced to produce the swag in question before politely pointing out that I’ve been playing fighting games since before either one of them were born.
But I can still (kinda) see where he was coming from You don’t expect a lot of chicks to be playing these games, and he had no idea. I was a Mom – why would I possibly know this stuff? My next example, however… this is one of the best examples I’ve yet to have to deal with.
So I’ve played with a number of different gaming groups over the past twenty some odd years. A lot have been one-offs – me testing the waters to see if I get along with the group or peeps being bored and wanting to try something knew.
My regular group was hanging out together with some other geek types. We’re sitting about, talking about gamer stuff. It rolls over to talking about new WoD (new World of Darkness) and their Vampire game. As a group, we’re discussing the changes from old to new, what they did with it, and how they corrupted the history.
(….. this may or may not be something I feel rather passionate about)
(…. this also may or may not have happened a good 10 years ago, but the system “update” is still something I fuss about to this day…)
So one of the people present – let’s call him Y – suddenly pipes up going “Hey, I have a regular old Vampire game going with Mr. I” one of the regulars in my group…. we all happen to moonlight in other groups as well “and some other people, but we’re looking for new players.”
How can I not?? This was my old Masquerade, and oh, how I missed the game! I’ve also been playing regularly for Mr. I for a couple of years, so I know I get along with at least one of the players – why not? Two of the folks in my regular game bowed out for various reasons, so that leaves a total of 4 of us who decide to give a go at Y’s game.
We toddle over, en masse, and he produces all of his books so we can start working on our characters.
I settle in to begin work, already having a couple of ideas based on what he had said of the storyline as well as the existing 2 other characters. These are things I can work with.
But Y stopped me. He starts explaining what Vampire is, how character generation works, and the history of it all. Mr. I starts cracking up as I sloooooowly look up at the man.
We had just been talking for two hours about old WoD. In detail. As a group. And here this fellow is, explaining to me what each of the attributes means.
I just blink at him.
Mr. I is all but falling out of his seat at this point. Finally, my good friend and fellow gamer catches his breath to explain. “She’s got this, Y.”
“But I was just explaining…”
“Yeah, she’s already almost done,” Mr. I said, pointing at the bubbles on my sheet. “She knows the system.”
The other new players all craned their necks, and I had to explain – again – how I’ve been gaming for a hot minute, and I’m extremely familiar with the WoD system.
You know, everything we had just been talking about.
Another small point of validation? About ten minutes later, one of the other new players leaned over and asked me to help him finish up his character.
Point to Bug!
The moral of these stories, my friends?
If a chick says she’s got this and understands? You don’t have to keep explaining. Please.