92: Strangers in a Strange Land

"Non-gamers will stand, mouths agape, demanding to know how we can sleep at night spending 'so much money on games.' Upon overhearing Lou P Lou's description of her gaming weekend, a coworker asked her how she could justify the cost of videogames. 'I asked her if she had any hobby that she spends money on, scrapbooking, reading, computers... anything. She admitted that she did. So, I explained to her that gaming is my hobby, an escape from the stress of working in ICU with critically ill patients all day. That I work for my money and if I decide to spend that money on gaming so be it. [But] no matter how I 'plead my case' they seem to think that I waste my money. Guess you have to be a gamer to understand.'"

Susan Arendt speaks with women who game.

Strangers in a Strange Land

Susan Arendt:
xSkx Nightstar's son is just 5 months old, but her family is already doubting her ability to raise him "properly" if she keeps on gaming

It's a shame there's no way to expose her to any kids who've grown up with gaming parents. My wife and I are both gamers and our kids have gained all sorts of benefits from early exposure to gaming. More encouraging still, the mainstream culture they're growing up in values gaming as a positive trait. The Nintendo DS is the most sought after toy in the playground and my daughter had a very positive response the day she took some of my polyhedral dice in to "show and tell".

I'm wondering whether adult male gamers would have the same sort of pressure to "act like parents" as adult female gamers. It seems more acceptable for a guy in his 30s to be a gamer than for a woman in her 30s to be a gamer.

I'm wondering whether adult male gamers would have the same sort of pressure to "act like parents" as adult female gamers. It seems more acceptable for a guy in his 30s to be a gamer than for a woman in her 30s to be a gamer.

As a 35 year old gamer, I must admit it's somewhat easier on us guys than it is on our feminine counterparts. Yet, I still have to validate my status a thirty-something gamer when I meet strangers or the extended family. And being a new dad, makes it even harder to justify to "them" that I want to get a 360, or that I spend 10 to 15 hours on an MMORPG. I bet it wouldn't be the same response, if it was golf!

This pressure from non-gamers should slowly ease with time as new and younger gamers of both gender continue to play as they age.

Don't give-up ladies! At one point you're bound to meet a few others like yourselves.

I have to agree with crazykinux. Susan's article struck me particularly because of the dichotomy between how she (and gamer women like her) is treated and how men like myself are treated. Most of my family and friends think the fact that I'm a gamer - and get paid for it - is as cool as it gets.

I have gotten pressure over the years to settle down and/or raise a family but when you get to be a thirty-something male and still stubbornly refuse to conform most people decide to let it be. Whether it's because you're a gamer, or a treasure hunter or a spy, you're a bachelor - end of story.

Although I have known quite a few adult male gamers who get pressure from their spouses for their gaming, which is something I don't think is applicable the other way around. Most men involved with a gamer female will count their blessings. The other way around, however, can be a source of friction for many couples, especially if the woman doesn't play and/or understand games.

Susan says...
"It's a scenario I've become more and more accustomed to as the years have gone by. While I'd like to say these women are shrewish harpies, the truth is they're perfectly nice, normal folks. They, unlike me, got married at appropriate ages, saved their money to buy the appropriately-sized house and then proceeded to fill it with the appropriate number of children and appropriately-groomed pets. They want to relate to me, if for no other reason than to be civil, but there just isn't an entry in the Surburbia 101 Text Book for the 30-something Female Gamer. So they fall back on vacant smiles, polite nods and none-too-subtle changes of subject, hoping, perhaps, I'll follow their lead and change my ways. I am an aberration in their world - an outsider - and we all know it."

She protests too much. Ordinary people are often friendly. If anything, gamers too often conform to the gamer stereotype of antisocial misfits, and require that outsiders reject them.

In my town, we have many goths (out of fashion) and wiccans. And gamers. And lots and lots of people who are conventional antisocial types. As often as not, they reject other people first. Do unto others before they can do unto you, I guess is the motto.

Not all towns are alike - nor all gamers.

Fletcher, I'm sorry...you're way too polite to ScottyMayor, IMO.

Scotty, your generalization is a load of crap (can I say this on the board?). Even though I'm only in my late 20's, am a pretty "in" guy, with lots of friends (some of whom are gamers) and social activities I get raised eyebrows when work coleagues or others hear I'm a gamer.
The same is true for other gamers I know (whether video gamers, or P&P RPG-ers).

This is not about gaming, or the social capabilities of a person, but about being different to what's expected. I guess the same attitude would be coming to someone who doesn't own a TV
or won't buy a car on principle and walk an hour to wok every day.

Hell, if you think that's bad, try being a 30-ish gamer who goes out to raves/pubs/clubs and see what kind of response you get!

I have a very good quote for those who criticise me about acting my age:
"I'd rather stay a child and keep my self respect if being an adult means being like you"
- Dead Kennedys - Life Sentence


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