|Girl Gamer page|
(updated October 19, 2014)
I don't have birthdays . . . I level up!
Hey, welcome to my girl-gamer page! Note: by "girl", I'm including girls of all ages . . . because you're never too old to be a girl-gamer.
Here is a definition from the Urban Dictionary: "Female Gamer: A very rare phenomenon in which the woman begins puberty in a manner where she thinks for herself and realizes that video games are, in fact, very entertaining. Female gamers generally do not follow the social norm of how to dress, what make-up to wear, how to style their hair, so on and so forth."
Yes, girls (and even women) really do play computer (and video) games. Games are not exclusively for guys, although some guys seem to think so. Ok, so there aren't nearly as many female gamers, but we really do exist. The gaming forums might be full of guys, but there are actually some girls there too. We just aren't as visible. Trust me, it can be really intimidating to one of the few outspoken females on a forum full of males! To be fair, I have found that most of the guys on the forums are really nice, but I always have to deal with a few creeps who accuse me of not really being a female, because girls don't play games.
And some jerks have even posted that I must be ugly or fat, because "those are the only kinds of girls who actually play games." Some have even told me to post a photo . . . to prove that I'm not fat and ugly. Like that would actually prove anything - I mean a photo could be of anyone . . . give me a break! For other guys, I'm just some kind of a fantasy girl, so I get hit on all the time . . . by guys of all ages!
The truth is that most girl gamers are just average females . . . who happen to enjoy playing video games. I'm likely a bit quirkier than most female games. I'm not fat . . . I was a athlete in college (sailing and volleyball) . . . I Nordic ski for miles, and paddle my sea kayak over 500 miles each year. And I'm not ugly, but I don't look like a model either.
But I'm also very stubborn, so I have never let a few guys stop me from enjoying the forums, but most girls just don't find it worth all the hassles and either never post, or just post with some non-female nickname, so the guys won't bother them. I know there are a lot of us out there, because I get email from other girl gamers all the time.
Ok, you have to understand that I joined my first gaming forum back in 2002, and things have changed a bit since then. I've noticed that there are now a lot more females showing up on the forums. Ok, so we're still very much outnumbered, but we're no longer such a rarity . . . which makes being there much easier for females now.
Yes, some girls do play games. And some of us even have our own forums, like my Realm and our own gaming websites, like my Morrowind Journal (my first game journal), my Oblivion Journal, and my Fallout 3 Journal, my Fallout New Vegas Journal, and my Skyrim Journal (ok, so I have waaayyy too many gaming interests). And in the summer of 2009 I began making my first real mods . . . for Fallout 3 (and later for Fallout NV), which to my surprise, have actually been quite popular (although some of the guys really weren't expecting my Realism Tweaks to make the games so intensely challenging).
The truth is that there are a LOT of female gamers out there . . . and there would be a lot more of us if more developers would just start making games with us in mind too. This too is very slowly improving, but at a snail's pace. For instance the latest Call of Duty game, "COD: Ghost," actually allows you to play as a female soldier for the first time . . . but only in multiplayer. Here's a screenshot of the COD soldier, at the end of the Official Call of Duty: Ghosts Multiplayer Reveal Trailer:
Yes, we've come a long way, and our numbers are still growing . .
. but it's really important to remember that games
are made mostly by males . . . for males. So most computer (and
console) games are geared toward guys . . . and girls don't even think
like guys . . . being that we're from Venus and all. So it's
harder for us to find games that appeal to us and we're often not very
comfortable with the game play. (Which is why my more recent
gaming journals are mostly focused on adding mods that improve game play.)
Now for the techie part (which I have the most trouble with):
I ONLY play games on computers (which have always been Windows systems for me). I don't own any consoles. Since I lost my older brother (who understood the hardware part MUCH better than me) I've pretty much been on my own, as far as figuring out what to get for a PC . . . and I've made some MAJOR mistakes in my selections.
I was initially hoping to purchase my new computer in the summer of 2011, but my budget took a MAJOR hit that winter when I needed some totally unexpected medical treatment. This wiped me out financially until late in that summer, when I finally managed to pay off my doctor (and my best friend). Fortunately I had a CD (bank savings-type investment) that came up for renewal late in 2011 (the only time you can withdraw from them without having to pay a major penalty fee). So I decided that I would reward myself . . . after not being able to do hardly anything for like 9 months (other than filling up my car's gas tank) . . . I transferred enough from my CD to buy my new computer (along with enough to buy Christmas presents, and a bit to set aside in case of yet another unexpected medical expense).
I ordered my new Gaming PC on December 1, 2011. It was a custom built PC, so it took about a month to arrive. I had hoped that I did a better job with this build (and picked out a really good company to build it). I spent months trying to learn as much as I could about what I needed in a new PC . . . as in what to include, within my budget. My new PC arrived on January 7th, 2011, which should have been really good news. Unfortunately it was damaged during shipping (by a FedEx gorilla?), so I had to send it back for repairs. The damage was pretty extensive: the SSD, motherboard, and one of the GPUs all have to be replaced. My new gaming PC arrived again on March 1, 2012 (I had initially received it on January 7th, but had been damaged during shipping, so I sent it back to be repaired. Unfortunately it arrived damaged again! I cannot believe my incredibly bad luck with my attempts at getting a new PC! And the damage was even worse this time. The upper graphics card had been ripped out of its socket in the motherboard, and had bent the socket badly, nearly flattening the back side. This time I sent it back and asked for a full refund. I give up! A few months later my old computer's main hard drive died, which killed my gaming for a few more weeks (until I could get a new hard drive installed, and then I had to reinstall all the games and software that was installed on the old drive). I also had to deal with some unexpected medical issues that Spring, and those expenses depleted most of my savings. So I was not going to be getting a new computer any time soon.
Updated September 2, 2013: I continued using my old 2007computer through July 2013. It had been running fine (other than being too slow for many of the newer games), until this Spring, when it began to act up again. By mid July I was having trouble just getting it to boot up. I was planning on waiting until late Fall before I ordered a new computer, but it didn't look like my old computer was going to last that long. I had priced out a build that I felt would work well for me, and I figured that I could afford to order it by the end of the month (thanks to some extra income from a job that I had started in early June). My old computer finally died on July 27th, and I was able to order my new custom gaming computer on July 29th, and it arrived on August 15!
If you really want to know more about what I'm playing my games on, you can go to My Gaming Computer page. I'm VERY happy with my new gaming computer! It is very fast, and it runs all my games on max settings, without even struggling. (The only game that I've had to back off the graphics a bit is X-Plane 10, but only when I am flying near a city, where there are a ton of buildings and traffic and stuff.)
Genetics being what they are, it should come as no surprise to anyone that I am a big fan of fantasy and science fiction (after all, my mom did name me after an elf). To feed my fantasy passion, I mostly turn to books, as I really do love to read. But I also love fantasy movies and, yes, even computer games.
I was first exposed to computer games when my older brother bought his first computer, a Tandy 1000. Back then, I was still trying to catch up from my accident (see My Bio Pages) and I believe that I own much of my recovery to my early gaming experience.
Somehow it just tickled all the right parts of my brain - and I played a LOT. I nearly drove my brother insane with all my begging and whining to play my game. My absolute favorites were the "King's Quest" games.
Sierra's "King's Quest I" from 1984
When King's Quest I was very first game to use EGA
graphics - meaning 16 colors at a resolution of 340x650! Ok, so this is
pretty crummy compared to today's graphics, but EGA was a big
improvement over CGA graphics - monochrome at 640x200, or 16 colors at
160x200 (if you were lucky enough to even own a color monitor).
"King's Quests I - Quest for the Crown" was also the first animated
computer adventure game. (You had a little movable computer
character that you could actually control.) And I was really into
At this point, I should probably make something clear, so you don't get the wrong idea about me. As much as I enjoy computer games, I'm really just sort of a casual gamer. And I'm like a total wimp compared to the real hard core power-gamers. For instance, I've never lasted more than two hours straight on any game. I just don't have the drive, nor the stamina, nor the desire to last any longer. I'm too much of an outdoorsy person, and I'm just way too hyper to sit for any longer. Goodness, you should read some of my Morrowind Journal email! Many hard core gamers have written just to inform me that I'm really pathetic, because it took me over 2 years to complete the main quest. Some power-gamers did that in a week, even though it takes something like a minimum of 100 hours. I'll just never be a power-gamer, because I like to do things like eat, sleep, and shower every day.
And I played Oblivion for three years, and never got very far at all in the main quest. (Ok, I probably should explain that I was attending college during that time period, so I didn't had all that much free time on my hands.) I'm just too easily distracted and would rather just go wondering off in my own in a game . . . doing my own thing. I also have spent way too much time messing around with mods. In truth, that's become the main quest for me . . . to find the perfect combination of mods that make the game exactly like I want it to be. Which, by the way, is never going to happen. But I have done a pretty good job in finding and installing the right mods that have made the game much more enjoyable for me . . . and, based on the email I receive, for many other gamers
Introduction to Adventure Games
The Original Tomb Raider (1996)
The Longest Journey Trailer
Official "The Longest Journey" Website - where you can still download this game (it is also available on Steam).
The Longest Journey (TLJ) was actually only the first game in The Longest Journey Saga (which I believed was always planned to be a trilogy). A sequel, called "Dreamfall", was released in 2006.
In the image above, from left to right: April Ryan (all grown up now), 20-year-old ZoŽ Castillo, and the mysterious Kian. Dreamfall takes place 10 years later than the original game (April is now 28 years old).
For me "Dreamfall" just isn't quite as good as "The Longest Journey." Don't get me wrong, because it is a really well done adventure game, with a GREAT story, and the graphics were decent (for a 2006 game), with a true 3D world this time. My biggest complaint is that the interface is clunky, especially when compared to games like Morrowind and Oblivion. The game was as made for the Xbox, so my guess is that it was designed primarily to be played with with the XBox gamepad. This was unfortunate, because the PC version actually sold much better . . . and I would guess that it would have done ever better, if it has be made as a dedicated PC game, instead of an Xbox port. At first I found it extremely difficult to make my characters go where I wanted them to, with a mouse and keyboard, so I was constantly running poor ZoŽ into walls . . . being frustrated all the time takes away from much of the fun. Eventually I was able to make adjustments in the options (the biggie was changing both camera axis to "inverted"), which fixed most of the control issues for me. But I still liked the original TLJ better.
I would rate Dreamfall's game play as only fair, but its narrative as one of the best in any game I have played (although I wasn't happy with the rather abrupt ending). I also didn't like the person that April had become, which really bummed me out, as she was such a quirky person when she was younger . . . but I loved ZoŽ.
In early 2013, it was announced that the final game in TLJ Trilogy was FINALLY in development (after 6 years)! I had pretty much given up hope of ever being able to find out how this saga ends . . . so I'm pretty excited to hear this news. I still have to wait until at least late 2014 (the current release date is Nov. 2014), but at least I now know that I'll get to play the final game in this wonderful saga.
Updated 9/04/14 (From the developer): "Dreamfall Chapters is the long awaited episodic follow-up to the award-winning and bestselling adventure games The Longest Journey and Dreamfall: The Longest Journey. An exciting story-driven episodic adventure for Windows/Mac/Linux and PlayStation 4, Dreamfall Chapters follows three characters on their journeys across two worlds ó one a cyberpunk vision of the future, the other a magical fantasy world ó as their stories and destinies intertwine. The first episode of Dreamfall Chapters ó Book One: Reborn ó is scheduled for release in autumn 2014." There's also a new trailer posted on the official game site.
ZoŽ Castillo in "Dreamfall Chapters"
The story will begin about a year after the conclusion of Dreamfall and center on ZoŽ Castillo, the main character from of Dreamfall. This will be a PC only game, and I'm very happy to hear that the control of your character is with your keyboard and mouse (and not a Xbox controller port). You will view your character in third person, and the 3D world is suppose to be much larger than in Dreamfall (will a bit more freedom to explore) . . . and a bit less linear.
The Kickstarter campaign ended in early March (2013), and it was so successful that yet another sequel is now planned. It is my understanding that "Dreamfall Chapters" will conclude "the Dreamer Cycle," but it will not be the last installment of The Longest Journey saga.
This section covers other games that are still in development, which have caught my eye (were not yet released when I added them here).
ESVI is the next version of the Elder Scrolls series (the follow up/sequel to Skyrim) Bethesda has not officially released anything one
All I have is this link to Bethesda Softwork's YouTube channel, which currently contains 5 videos (all have Elder Scrolls 6 in their title). These videos have been around for a while . . . the last one is dated 3/4/13.
I'll post more here, just as soon as more information is released from Bethesda.
The sequel to Fallout 3 (not Fallout New Vegas). Rumors are that the game world for FO4 might be in and around Boston.
I'll post more here, just as soon as more information is released from Bethesda.
I had like no experience with role-playing games (RPG's) until I played Morrowind. That's because RPG's tend to involve mostly combat - which is something that I'm just not interested in. That's also why I don't play first-person shooter games (FPS's).
I just can't handle violence . . . and even some of the animated violence found in computer games really bothers me. I can usually handle the cartoon whacking stuff, but I don't do blood or gore at all . . . not even the pixilated kind. And most of the newer RPG's and FPS's are just way too graphic for me in the blood and gore department. Ok, so now I'm about to try playing Fallout3, which is a LOT more violent, and have much more realistic looking characters (and more realistic gore) than Morrowind or Oblivion . . . I must be nuts! (If you are interested in why I'm going to subject myself to this, and are at all curious about how I make out, you'll have to jump over to my Fallout 3 Journal.)
The other thing is that the female character selection is much less appealing than that of adventure games. Well, less appealing to me, and to most other female players. Basically the female characters in most games are just eye-candy for the guys to look at. In a RPG, your character is often involved in combat . . . which means that you usually provide them with armor. All else being equal: the better the armor . . . the better the chance that your character will survive. The really silly thing is that in most RPG's the best female armor often covers up the least amount of skin!
Sex and violence may sell games . . . but only when you're marketing the game to a certain type of player. The thing is that most female gamers (and many male gamers) have much higher standards. We want games that are a bit deeper - games with some realism - games with an involved plot. So where are our RPG's?
Well, they're are a few, but they are pretty hard to find, because you have to sort through all the junk being released. The good thing is that a well done RPG actually appeals to both genders . . . so these games are often best sellers. Morrowind, which was released in 2002, is one of the "good" RPG's, and guess what? It was the best game that I had ever played . . . by far (see My Morrowind Journal).
I'm sure there are other good RPG's, but, like I said . . . I haven't had much experience with RPG's. I was attracted to Morrowind before the game was even released because I could see that this was my type of RPG. It had great graphics . . . with normally proportioned female characters, who actually got to wear normal looking outfits. And you got to choose the type of character that you wanted to play as. You picked from one of 10 races, male or female gender, and then selected your character's face and hairstyle. (The characters appearance and selection was later greatly improved through add-on MOD's)
My Morrowind Wood Elf character - a custom MOD
You also picked your stats (basically your strengths) which determined how the game would play for you. Plus you could play this game with a minimal amount of combat, and still complete the main quest. Well, you still had to fight off a bunch of wild creatures, and kill a fair amount of monsters, and defend yourself from some not-so-nice characters, but you didn't have to spend the entire game killing things. Killing still happened way too often for me personally
. . . but I could sometimes find another solution. And the killing was just whacking
. . . until the bad guy (or my player) fell down and didn't get up again. It wasn't gory
. . . there was only a bit of blood . . . so I could handle the fighting, when I had to.
Arwen Note: Before Morrowind, there was Daggerfall. If you've never played Daggerfall before, you can now download the full game for free, in a format that will run on Windows (I'm running it on Vista). This is a great way to experience an early TES RPG. The graphics are really dated, but the game is still a great RPG.
The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall "is a first-person, traditional role-playing video game for MS-DOS developed by Bethesda Softworks and released in 1996. It is a sequel to the RPG The Elder Scrolls: Arena and the second installment in The Elder Scrolls series. On July 9, 2009, it was made available as a free download on the Elder Scrolls website; it is the first game in the series to be rated M."
Daggerfall : DaggerfallSetup Version
2.2 - By Ancestral Ghost: "DaggerfallSetup was done for install a ready to play Daggerfall
easily on modern Windows Systems.
The game is already patched with the patch 2.13 and the official
questpack CompUSA Special Edition and work with a already configured
DosBox. In option, you can install many unofficial fixes and new quests.
Bethesda Softworks, the developer of Morrowind, released the next version of it's Elder Scrolls series. Elder Scrolls IV - Oblivion was released on March 20, 2006.
My Oblivion Wood Elf Character in Cyrodiil
As you can see, Oblivion has even better graphics . . . with even more realistic characters. Oh, and the female characters are still normally proportioned and got to wear normal clothing. The only problem was that had some really major issues with the released version of Oblivion . . . mostly because of the way that the game was overly focused on combat and by the way it was mainstreamed. (Note: mainstreamed = dumbed down, because the result was that the game did most of the thinking for you.)
But I didn't give up on Oblivion, and I've been able to install modss that have corrected most of these issues. My modded version of Oblivion has finally surpassed Morrowind as the best game that I have ever played. For more information on Oblivion and on improving it with mods, check out my Oblivion Journal.
December 14, 2011 update: I now also have a Skyrim Journal (which I plan to add here in the near future.
Bethesda Softworks, the developer of the Elder Scrolls RPGs, released the next version of the Fallout series. Fallout 3 was released on October 28, 2008.
My Fallout 3 Character, Right After Escaping From Vault 101
In Fallout 3 the graphics have been turned up yet another notch, with much more realistic characters. The female characters are normally proportioned and wear normal clothing (although there are a LOT of mods that have been created that will reduce them to eye candy). I also had some really major issues with the released version of Fallout 3 . . . again because the game was overly focused on combat, with more blood and gore than I had ever been exposed to in a RPG. I was very aware that playing Fallout3 would be pushing my limits as far as what I can handle (I can't handle much violence), but I wanted to give the game a try.
When Fallout 3 was released, I was in my senior year of college, completing a tough double major (and writing two thesis), while being a full time athlete (on a nationally ranked college sailing team) . . . and getting by on an average of only four hours of sleep. So I didn't even bother to get the game until it had been out for like six months. At first I just went in search of mods and tested them out in my own game, like I had done with Oblivion. But I soon ran into a major problem . . . I was having trouble finding mods that made many of the biggest changes that I felt this game needed.
My first problem was all the blood and gore in Fallout 3 was more than I could stomach. Yes, I really do understand that is "just a game" and that it isn't real or anything . . . but it still freaked me out (way more than I like to admit). Let's face it, Fallout combat was designed to be unrealistically gory . . . which may appeal to some, but it isn't for everyone. I wanted to play my game without exploding body parts, dismemberment, and excessive blood. There were some mods that reduced blood and gore somewhat, but not to the point that I needed it to be reduced. So I decided to fix this by myself . . . I downloaded the GECK and taught myself how to make the mods that I needed. (Prior to this, I had make a couple of tiny little mods for Morrowind, and had assisted Duke Patrick on his Oblivion Combat Archery mod, but I knew next to nothing about making mods.) My first two real mods were Gore No More and Less Blood.
My second problem was that Fallout 3 was sort of a FPS (first person shooter) / RPG hybrid . . . and many of the most popular Fallout 3 mods were ones that enhanced the FPS part. My issue was that I don't like playing FPS . . . mostly due to my first problem (the excessive blood and gore part). What I was looking for was an overhaul that enhanced the RPG parts . . . but no such mod existed. So I took on making my own Fallout 3 overhaul mod (which is not something that I recommend attempting on your own, when you have a little modding experience as I had). The end result is my Fallout 3 Realism Tweaks.
That is how I became a modder (the short version . . . without all the whining and screaming that this actually entailed).
For more on Fallout 3, and on improving it with mods, see My Fallout 3 Journal.
I now also have a Fallout New Vegas Journal, which is much like my FO3 Journal.
Even though my favorite games are RPGs, I like many different types of games.
Here are some of my favorite Strategy Games (hmmm, I really need to update this list):
Civilization IV: "a turn-based strategy computer game released in 2005 and developed by lead designer Soren Johnson under the direction of Sid Meier and Meier's studio Firaxis Games. It is the latest installment of the acclaimed Civilization series."
Patrician III: "a real-time trading simulation featuring elements of construction and the historical background of maritime trade in Northern Europe during the 1300's. As a resident of a medieval town, your goal is to rise from the status of a simple, insignificant trader to that of a Patrician and perhaps even become the head of the Hanseatic League. You can raise your standing through town improvement and diplomacy or fill your coffers through piracy and smuggling"
Anno 1701 (also called 1701 A.D.): "a unique empire building simulation set in the 17th and 18th centuries. In this third episode of the incredibly successful series, players are immersed in the golden age of exploration and trade, where they set out to discover and inhabit new islands - islands that will soon be home to huge cities. Players are tasked with establishing, expanding and maintaining a flourishing medieval metropolis while interacting with other players through trade, diplomacy or military conflicts. 1701 A.D. presents players with a 3D gaming world bursting with life from the vibrant citizens, to the incredibly varied flora and fauna to detailed animated animals." I now own Anno 2070, which is even more addicting.
Links to some other Girl-Gamer Sites: