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Astonishing Emasculated Panorama of the End Times
Or: My girlfriend is better at me than things
I modified the article's title from a Marilyn Manson song which sounds similar (suspiciously, litigiously so) to Ministry's classic "Burning Inside". I don't know why.
You know how it is when you're a misogynistic asshole and you just can't stand the fact that a woman is superior to you in, well, anything? I may not be misogynistic enough to invite myself into that hypothetical, but I must admit I enjoy adhering to traditional gender roles in terms of skill sets. Well, not 'enjoy'. But my horrible patriarchal worldview does not necessarily lead me to think girls can be better at me at some things, such as video games. I highlight video games because I figure I can turn this dodgy concept into an examination of exactly why gender is of importance in gaming and exactly why men are such fucking morons. These may seem self-evident conclusions, but I can't wrap up an entire article in one paragraph, can I? Well, I could, but I don't want to.
For stupid reasons, whenever real live females play video games it incites some controversy or at the very least a kerfuffle (I spent 10 minutes trying to think of a less gay word to use. Clearly I failed.). The aforementioned reasons are, again, stupid. But not unknown. It stems from, simultaneously, underglorification and overglorification of girls. Meaning, a good number of male gamers see female gamers as an oddity and another good number of male gamers see them as Aphrodites they may have a chance of fucking someday. As a result, female gamers are oddities in the culture, and that's probably a good thing because I cannot think of one female who would benefit from ingratiating herself into the video game milieu. Those who end up in said milieu are there as an inevitably; they're compelled to love video games and no amount of misogyny or ignoring will stop them from being there (the same notion applies for women in comic book sub-culture). So why does it matter?
I don't think it does matter. Of the many things women are excluded from, video games does not pose a significant threat to keeping women down. There's no anti-women element unique to video games. Everything you can do in video games against women is depicted in other mediums - film, television, the written word, etc. I figure women are tired out from bitching all day about misogyny in film, television, news and so on they don't feel like criticizing video games. Not to mention the women-hating activities games give are penny ante crap. Killing prostitutes? I've not really seen outcry against that by women, just morality police religious assholes like Jack Thompson and the rest of his cavalcade of Helen Lovejoys. Ridiculous women in fighting games? Again, already covered by a number of mediums. Maybe it's because I'm me and don't give a shit enough to seek out complaints women have about video games, but it seems to me female skewering of the medium happens far less than it does in comic books. And it appears video games have improved their image vis-à-vis women: look at the lack of Barbie shovelware these days. Or, at least, look how not all female-aimed titles ARE Barbie titles these days.
The few times women do whine about games not appealing to them, I feel like pulling an Ike Turner. Why? Because I fucking know the games women play. They're terrible with very few exceptions. The Sims...I could stop right there in my listing and I would not need any elaboration. That series is awful incarnate, essentially a mass-produced version of dress-up. Sim Yuppie. The idea of people spending hours and hours on simulating real life experiences they themselves could experience if they got out of their fucking chair is too fucking ironic for me to fully comprehend. Next come terrible Japanese RPGs for their, again, vicarious living value. Also, for their propensity to contain a lot of prettyboy Japanese boys with simplistic yet seemingly complex emotions (girls love the fake complexity). The only games women play which I approve of are those superfluous DS games. Those had some programming put into them, at least. Women got no leg to stand on when their tastes are just terrible as the tastes in games males have. The Sims: Hats and Halo 3 both suck. Why should I care which gender supports which game?
Video games are not necessarily an activity which males have any logical reason to dominate. Girls' reflexes can be just as good if not better. How else would you explain volleyball. Males having proficiency over females in the hobby, I think, is solely based on the twin presumptions that video games is a nerd thing and all nerds are men. The existence of Television Without Pity has proven the latter incorrect and the popularity of Guitar Hero I-XXXV proves the former incorrect. Sophie's played more video games more often than me. She tries to beat games rather than my method of getting bored after a week. She takes gaming more seriously than I do; by all indications, she would be (and is) the better video game player. Why should I have superiority over her just by virtue of my Y chromosome? Video games don't require much physical strength or exertion. It's insane. Anybody who claims men are naturally better just spends all their time in a basement playing Counter-Strike and gorging on Doritos.
Yet. I still remain emasculated when losing to Sophie, and I assume others feel similar pain when they routinely lose a video game, traditionally the domain of the sexless male, to a mere girl. The game in particular I lose on a routine basis is Super Smash Bros. Brawl, the popular fighting game where electric rats fight small children bearing swords. In the fucking constant playing (she's gonna be playing it till the new Mario Kart comes out), I've learned some methods with which to secure victory. Before I go into the list, I should note she plays as Zelda/Sheik and I'm usually either Donkey Kong, Diddy Kong or King Dedede. Not an important aspect, but just something to keep in mind; I think it explains somewhat why I keep getting my ass kicked. DK's final smash SUCKS.
1. Use the Wii remote control set-up. It may suck compared to the GameCube controller, but it gives you one necessary advantage: the power button. A GameCube controller doesn't have the ability to turn the system on or off. The remote does. So if you're in a particularly one-sided match and you want to pull victory from the jaws of defeat, press the power button. Doesn't require you to get up or anything, which means she won't know what you're up to until it's already happened. Upon the system going off, simply say "I win". She may be angry, yet she'll be unable to dispute the victory.
2. The ol' turn off her controller trick (note: only works with GameCube controller). This one does not result in ultimate victory. However, it'll give you some time to rack up a kill or two. When she's not looking, or when she's in the other room and the game is paused, unplug her controller but make it look as though it's still plugged in. She might catch on before you're able to seize an advantage from the move. You need to have cat-like reflexes and an uncanny knack for not arousing suspicion (suspicion is one of the few girlfriend-related things you don't want to arouse). If you do have those abilities, you'll have a notable advantage over your significant other opponent.
3. Fuck her. Very few girls turn down the opportunity for sex in favor of finishing a 2 minute video game match. At least none I know.
4. I don't recommend the following for its possible property damage, but I'll discuss it for those curious and for those foolhardy. I call it the "throw something at the television" method. It can be anything, but I advise something small. A Wii remote, a pen, a used or unused condom...any of those will do. The trick involves throwing something with such accuracy and with such fine tuned velocity so you hit the power button on the TV shutting it off, without doing any damage to the television itself. I'm a bit of a strong thrower, so that's why I've never tried this. Breaking her television, which is nicer and more expensive than mine might I add, would provide a sizable obstacle to the continuance of our relationship, if not end it altogether. But if you note the risk and go for it anyway, this method should give you about 5-10 seconds of reprieve. Then again, she might do the smart thing and pause when the TV goes off. Another reason I won't try this - Sophie's too smart to ever forget about the pause function.
5. The cord yank. Not as dirty as it sounds, and it doesn't mean you ask your female to give you a handjob while playing video games (though it does sound conceivable...). When at Jazz's abode a while back, I discovered a little exploit. If your Wii is on top of a TV or in some sort of cabinet arrangement, it can be shut off by giving a little yank to the GameCube controller cord. This will most often bring the Wii crashing down from its position onto the floor, sometimes flipping it over, which invariably leads to the system turning itself off during the calamity. I don't think I need to mention the success of this hinges on the location of the Wii. You try knocking down a high up Wii, you're apt to piss off your female ("you could've broken it, you idiot!") even if it DOESN'T break. So be cautious.
Most of those can apply to non-Smash Bros., non-Wii games as well. Sometimes not even a video game. If you're losing at cards, take the deck and yell "TIME TO PLAY 52 PICK UP, BITCH". Flipping the board when losing at Monopoly. Etc. Well, I hope the preceding helped. Nothing reclaims your masculinity better than using dirty tricks to defeat a 105 pound girl in a video game about an anthropomorphic fox fighting a walking LED display.
Girls in video games remain an oddity of sorts and will likely stay that way for the next couple decades. It's one thing when you call another guy a fag over Halo 3; it's another thing entirely when it's a girl on the other end. Gamers will need to craft new, enduring insults to lob at their vagina-sporting opponents. Seeing as how the vocabulary of the nerds has taken decades to take shape, I doubt bolstering said vocabulary with a large number of innovative female-centric insults will occur overnight (I mean, 'fag' was harder to popularize than you would think). Girls, do not expect a swift transition. You're gonna have to wait, possibly forever, for the arrested development gamers (i.e., males) to acknowledge a second gender as having any legitimate claim to video games. Until then, sate yourselves with the acceptable girl forms of pretendland, like The Sims and Everquest and anything with a girlyboy, angsty male lead. Or you could become one of those Frag Dolls people (the "video games aren't just for ugly men anymore, they're also for models pretending to be gamers" clan) and get nerds drooling over you. Whichever you prefer.