Friday, July 23, 2010

What Pretty Gamer means to a Nomad

In most of my gaming life, I never, ever, thought I would end up writing for a blog called "Pretty Gamer". Sure, I own My Little Ponies, Jill Valentine is my hero, I like sappy romance movies; but I've never really understood fashion, I'm bad at makeup, I lack self-worth (physically, not fundamentally, and for me it's also very existential; more on this later!), and I have never really considered myself "pretty". In fact, at one point in my life, I would have suggested--as one of our fellow bloggers has--that "pretty" is diminutive, "pejorative" even.

I grew up playing video games with boys. My girl friends weren't interested. My very first video game memory is playing Big Bird's Egg Catch on Atari 2600. My second memory, and the most important one for me, was playing SwordQuest (Earthworld) on my Atari, for the ten thousandth time, and I was on the level where you have to jump up a series of side-scrolling laser beams to reach a door at the top of the screen. This was always an impossibility for me, the lasers were too fast, or to small to jump on, but I wanted to see what was behind that door more than anything.

One day, *finally*, a miracle happened. I was playing Atari with the boy from across the hall. He was complaining about wanting to go play outside (no stamina for the art of video gaming). But the entire set of lasers leading up to the door is miles wide! At least 2 inches on the screen! And there are hundreds of them! This is the moment I've been waiting for! I'm two lasers away from the door and my moment has arrived. I'm in the middle of leaping up to the second to last laser, I'm about to land, and.... The entire screen goes black. I scream in shock and look down. That brat has turned off the Atari; he's been screaming the whole time and I ignored him, and this was my punishment. I have to stifle the urge to start sobbing right then and there.

This experience set the gaming bar for me. You can't be nice, you can't compromise. Fight, play to win, live in the boy's world and play the boy's game. It was ugly gaming ever since, and I never did get through that door.

I think I've spent enough time waiting to leap through and find out what's on the other side, and the time has come. I'm ready to become a Pretty Gamer.

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