Reverb Gamers 2012 Post #4

Atlas Games is hosting “Reverb Gamers 2012“ with 31 question prompts about gaming and gamers and games.  I’m going to answer all 31 questions for good or for ill.  You can do it, too!  And check out @ReverbGamers on Twitter or Facebook.

REVERB GAMERS 2012, #4: Are you a “closet gamer?” Have you ever hidden the fact that you’re a gamer from your co-workers, friends, family, or significant other? Why or why not? How did they react if they found out?

I’m a serious geekgrrl nrrd.  I’m a chick with multiple engineering degrees from a school that bills itself as “the public ivy league” who is a huge booster for girls to get their geek on.  I am not a closet geek.  

I’ve had some pretty weird and uncomfortable experiences with gaming and gender — are there any questions in this list on gaming and gender? I do have some horror stories coming up. But anyway. My parents knew I had a major video game and comics addiction. Later when the sourcebooks showed up it was “stuff I liked.” I met Eric through gaming. Most of my friends (although not all) game in some way — RPGs, board games, video games.  Mostly video games.  I work in a pretty deep geek industry so video gaming conversations are normal watercooler/hallway daily convos every day.  

I’ve walked around with a big old “you weirdo” Mark of Cain on my forehead many times for many, many different reasons for most of my life, the least of which is: “You play D&D?  NERD.”  You like math?  NERD.  You like literature?  NERD.  You like computers?  RICH NERD.  Etc. etc. etc.  We need to dig to discover I also enjoy rolling dice and by time we get there, we have so much ammo it’s small fry.  We are who we are, man, and live it or lose it. Be a geek grrl and be proud or go home.  No closet nonsense.  No need to proselytize to other people.  Just be who you are.

I don’t like this question much. I’ve rewritten this post three times and not come up with a satisfying answer.  It’s annoying me because writing this post on the Internet in public where it shall be stored in the WayBack machine and in search engines evermore and can be trivially found with a google search sort of belays the answer.  As it’s starting to work me into a “pro girls in science/engineering” froth which, to my mind, is a much tougher issue with larger social implications than “someone said something mean once about my game” I’m moving on to the next question.  

Next!

  • It’s not meant to say that anyone *should* be a closet gamer, or embarrassed about gaming, least of all on the basis of gender. It’s about the fact that it is a serious professional liability (and occasionally a social one) to be known as a gamer, even casually. I can think of at least two people I know who love gaming, and do not want a word of it breathed about them outside the confines of their homes, for fear it would inhibit their career aspirations. Whether or not this is true is irrelevant, but I don’t think they’re wrong; in their fields, it would be problematic. It’s great how far the hobby (especially video gaming) has come in terms of legitimacy, but there’s still a cost for some people in some places. That’s what the question is meant to evoke.