Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Pay to Play (with Girls) - A Vitriolic Rant

Okay, normally I try to keep a level head and an open mind about most issues and news when it comes to gaming. However, there are points that just force me to say "Come on, what the fuck people?"

This is one of those points.

To basically sum up the issue here: recently a couple of porn stars decided. "Hey, we like to play video games, and we like money too. So why don't we start a service where gamers pay us fees to play against us and watch us game topless?"

Where the fuck do I even begin?

I've got nothing against the women that started this website and service; they saw the potential for a lucrative market and decided "why not?", I can't fault them for that. The thing is though, that I can and will fault a service like this for even existing in the first place, let alone actually doing well.

For years and even now, people that play games have struggled against the stereotypes that society has placed on them: from being violent, isolated loners, to nerds that contribute nothing back to society, to people that need to "grow up" and get out of the phase in their lives when they get enjoyment out of playing games. When some people think of gamers, they think of the people that will jump at this kind of thing, the people that need this service when in reality most people that play video games are -- shockingly -- average people living average lives that just enjoy playing video games.

Something like this I feel is not only offensive to all the women that play video games -- which, by the way, happen to be "Forty-two percent of all game players" according to the ESA -- but also to the majority of the game playing population, which again according to the ESA has an average age of "37 years old and has been playing games for 12 years". In other words, something like this hurts everyone.

Why? Why isn't it just pointless cheesecake that should be dismissed as such? Because to everyone out there that sees gaming as a childish hobby for childish people, this is exactly what they need. It's the fodder that "proves" that gamers are all just 18 to 2X year old basement dwellers covered in a fine layer of Cheeto dust, that think that girls are magical creatures that they can never attain, let alone girls that actually play video games. It's the kind of pandering that doesn't just put back the efforts of a few individuals, but openly harms the group as a whole.

There are plenty of women out there that play video games not because they want attention and a quick buck, but because they, you know, enjoy playing video games as a hobby. When clans of women gamers band together and actually proceed to kick ass and prove themselves, how disheartening do you think it must be for them when the inevitable comparisons -- mostly coming from sour grapes gamers they beat -- to these video game escort services come down the pipe. To be accused of winning due to being "distracting" or "eye candy", even in games where people's voices and faces are never even seen. Likewise the people that get told "you only got beaten because you were thinking with your 'joystick'" when nothing of the sort was going on.

Maybe I am blowing this issue out of proportion and making a mountain out of a couple of molehills. But seeing something like this just forces me to ask: aren't we past this by now? And if were aren't then can we get past it soon? Like, tomorrow would be nice, or yesterday would be even better.

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