Friday, December 3

Women talking about games

If you also follow my main blog, you will have realized by now that I do post in a couple of forums. Mostly it used to be the MangaSzene forum (which isn’t used a lot these days, so I’ve stopped checking daily), I also post at the forum of Big Fish Games, but I spent most time at the Diving Bell Adventure Pub at the moment. Not much of a surprise – I’m a moderator there.

The Pub, as it is known to its members, is a nice place, but sometimes also a strange one. All five administrative people in the Pub (owner, two administrators, two moderators) are women. And all people in the Pub have one thing in common: they like computer games. And quite a lot of them are women…

What does that tell us? Well, if you’re buying that ‘women and technology don’t go together’ prejudice, you’re in deep trouble here, from both sides. Five women manage a forum about gaming and most of the members are women, too. Technology on both sides, even though the games in many cases are restricted to what the casual games market offers. But here’s the catch: by hanging out at the forum, some women who have only played casual games before discovered the joy of other types of games like adventures and RPGs (Role Playing Games).

We’re not just discussing casual games and we’re not just discussing games from one portal (like they do it at the forum over at Big Fish Games). We’re discussing computer games. That includes ‘serious’ RPGs like “Dragon Age: Origins” or “Diablo,” classic and new adventure games (like the “Monkey Island” series or “Lost Horizon” – the first very old, the second pretty new), sometimes even FPS (First Person Shooters, in this case mostly “Serious Sam HD”). Sure, action games aren’t discussed there a lot, but given the rather unimaginative background of most modern FPS games (modern war, modern war and … modern war), that’s not much of a loss. (Although I would have liked to share some experiences I’ve had lately with “Burnout Paradise,” an arcade racing game, and “Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II,” an action-adventure, with some of the other Pubsters.)

And one more thing has become clear since the pub was founded (about 6 months ago, we have a bit over 200 members by now): being around other mostly female gamers is good for one’s knowledge about games – and pretty bad for one’s bank account. By sharing our thoughts about games, by telling each other which portal carries which new game, by helping each other out when someone has a problem with a game (gameplay or technical side), we have all grown. People who have only discovered the joy of gaming recently (quite some of our members are 50+) and never thought they could master anything bigger than an average HOG or TM game have felt inspired to try their wits at adventures or their clicking speed at RPG games instead of TMs. People who weren’t even aware they were other portals than one (usually BFG) around, suddenly find portals and games they have never heard of before (and would never have discovered, had they stayed in the Pond – the BFG forum). We are in touch with some developers as well.

And, as all forums, it doesn’t stop with the games, the main topic of the forum. Of course there’s always some social space around as well. Jokes (sometimes quite hilarious and sometimes not suited for the underaged), book recommendations, family and pet stories, rants and raves, all have their place in the forum, too. That’s normal for a forum.

Still, mostly women, mostly older people, but from all walks of life. We have accountants and lawyers, workers and housewives. We have people from all over the world, too. That’s the good thing about the internet, after all: where you are doesn’t matter as long as you have a connection. People from different sides of the earth can discuss things online. (Or take over a job, I’m currently stepping in for one of the administrators who needed some time off, doing the daily list of new games at the portals – that’s quite a bit of work, believe me.)

Women talking about games is just as normal these days (or even more normal) as women talking about cooking, housework or handicrafts. And in the future, I hope, it will even be more normal than now.