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Game On Ladies - A man logs in as his wife's character in a videogame (flygirlgamers.com)
54 points by danielhunt 1484 days ago | hide | past | web | 76 comments | favorite



There are wide swathes of the video game community which are absolutely toxic, in every possible way you can imagine and some which people of good will would have difficulty imagining. I wish game companies did a better job of market-based approaches to limiting this.

I've often thought, in League of Legends, that I'd pay $100 for access to a special queue which matched me up with other people who had paid $100 to access it. If you earn an account ban, you can probably find a new credit card, level up again, and pay $100, but it should cut down on casual sociopathy. (Yes, that's classist as heck, but after a bad day of LoL I'm pretty OK with that as long as it means that I can play a relaxing game with people who are capable of meeting the absolute minimal norms of civilized society.)


> There are wide swathes of the video game community which are absolutely toxic, in every possible way you can imagine and some which people of good will would have difficulty imagining. I wish game companies did a better job of market-based approaches to limiting this.

Microsoft tried an approach with Xbox Live on the 360 where gamers could segregate themselves into different communities. Recreation, Family, Pro, Underground. The hope was that the toxic players would stick to Pro and Underground, but there just essentially zero policing for the scale Xbox Live came to be, so trolls would enter the other areas too.

Any community enforcement is doomed to fail, because too much of the community really are a bunch of idiots and jerks. Friends lists and isolation are the only good counterpoints, and Xbox Live is a much friendlier, but much quieter place, since Party Chat came about (which lets you talk to your friends only). I don't ever use my headset without Party Chat now, and most others don't seem to either. Xbox Live was much cooler back in the Halo 2 days, you'd meet new people and have fun, before it hit it's own Eternal September.


I'm continually surprised where civilized folks are coming from. I'm currently in lower tiers (silver 5) where I've met the most understanding strangers, who probably play occassionally like me and quite possibly wouldn't pay $100 to get isolated queues. On the other hand if I come across gold or higher tier players in normal games, they tend to have exactly zero tolerance for mistakes and absolutely no patience to solve situations; even if they'd be willing to spend $100 to play with curated comrads.

I'm not suggesting that commitment to the game (and therefore willingness to pay extra) is inversely proportional to the quality of behavior, but I've seen my share of anecdotal evidence. (Probably the situation is better in diamond and above, but boy I suck to ever reach it.)


> I've often thought, in League of Legends, that I'd pay $100 for access to a special queue which matched me up with other people who had paid $100 to access it.

Do you even need a fee? I used to play Counter-Strike a lot and there was always a wide variety of servers. From "free for all" (FFA) and anything goes to private ones that required registration and had staff strictly policing skill, teamplay, language, microphone noises...

Then there were "gathers." Like pick-up games in soccer or basketball but organized via IRC. People who were annoying just wouldn't get picked.

All of that was free for the participants. Servers, channels, websites were all provided by the players themselves.

I don't really play computer games any more but is this not an option for modern games and systems? Another regression like Usenet?


League of Legends uses a matchmaking system. You queue for a match and it automatically finds an available game for you to play. I think all the MOBA genre games use a queuing system.


League of Legends is especially bad. I recently tried that game with some of my friends that have been playing for a few months (or years). And the amount of whining and threats of reporting people in the chats just because I wasn't immediately a perfect player was extreme.

We didn't play a single game where someone didn't whine about how I sucked, or tell me I was a horrible person, and so on.

It's not a nice environment, and it probably puts a lot of people off from trying it more than a few games.

I'd be right behind you in that queue, if I was a bigger fan of the game to begin with, but due to the circumstances I never really gave it much of a shot.


Do you know that people already pay $60/yr for multiplayer on Xbox Live (and PS+ on PS4)? What makes you think another $100 will change the situation?


The difference is that it's not required and you can play the game still. Also, most of the vile people on XBL are just little kids whose parents pay for their subscription


I'm a guy and a gamer... I've opened my eyes on this issue for some time now.

Yes we trash talk a lot in games, and yeah we don't see it as a big deal for the most part, because there's a part of creativity in trash talking in some ways so we can ignore all but the more original (and often laughable) insults.

But when someone is revealed as a woman, some people really go nuts. It activates some really ugly beta part in their brain, they can't help it, they need to harass, tediously, methodically reduce the other player to her gender, whatever she is doing or however she performs, whether she's in his team or not is irrelevant. That wouldn't be an issue in itself, there are crazy and stupid people everywhere. The problem is, the proportion of obnoxious and sexually insecure male gamers is through the roof, maybe something as high as 5% of the gamers are like that, and they are very vocal, and they don't quit. Such people don't rage quit on girls like they would on guys, when they get beaten or when they're ignored, for some reason they need to keep harrassing forever, it's a matter of virile pride you know. It's either that or they fall in love, which sometimes is even worse.

Girls have to deal with them every single day.

People really need to wake up on these issues. They add up and pile on each other. They span a very large spectrum of the industry, from day to day community interactions to elements of storytelling and character design.

If you want to wake up to these issues in pictures and with a good laugh, check out these two blogs:

http://womenfighters.tumblr.com/ (a more constructive take on the issue of character design, specifically female armor)

http://thehawkeyeinitiative.com/ (a hilarious take on the issue of objectification of women, this time in comics)


> Yes we trash talk a lot in games, and yeah we don't see it as a big deal for the most part, because there's a part of creativity in trash talking in some ways so we can ignore all but the more original (and often laughable) insults.

No, we don't. You do. Please do not attempt to normalize the ridiculous toxic vitriol that Xbox Live and League of Legends et al. extends to the silent community at large. Trash talking is unnecessary and unhelpful. Many people actually don't enjoy that kind of conflict. There are reasons why LoL now doesn't have All chat enabled and why most people never enter public chat on Xbox Live anymore.

Trash talking is not a "gamer" trait. It's a subsection, and probably even a vocal minority, of those who play games. Just because it's not a girl on the receiving end doesn't make it any less toxic.


The way I see it, trash talking can happen but in a sort of ironic, sportsmanlike way, in which it's kinda known that it isn't real, sort of like prodding or banter. However, it's when you cross that line of respect that it becomes flat out abuse.


Even then, my intention was to point out that whatever it is that we call trash talking, and whether it's a problem or not is of no importance at all when it comes to sexism in video games. These are two very separate issues IMHO.


> they can't help it

Bullshit. They have a brain, it is capable of higher brain functions. They can learn manners and behave themselves.

All this is, this 'they can't help it' is a reason for justification. "I'm a mindless animal, I can't help it." It is nothing but bullshit.


It was a sarcastic figure of speech. Sorry it was misunderstood. I actually agree with you.


Weirdly, I had a situation years ago when I called a Counterstrike clanmate an "awp whore" (a pretty common term, not specific to gender), and because she was female she took a huge objection to it. I now realise this was because she had to deal with shit like this time and time again.


A lot of female gamers go nuts online too, mostly of the attention-seeking nature. Of course it's not every every female, but that small portion has had an indirect part in creating all these stereotypes and behaviors.

Essentially, both sides really need to grow up.


How funny that one side going nuts is "Hey look at meeee !" and the other side is "I hope you get raped and killed and whatever, bitch".

Do you really think that those behaviors are equivalent ? Because they're not. Some female players may be behaving badly, but in terms of scale and gravity it doesn't match the abuse of male players towards female players.

Perhaps you didn't meant to, but your comment sounded like white people always bringing back anecdotal cases of anti-white racism to try to make up for the most common cases of racism. Or the male-rape vs female-rape issue.


> Do you really think that those behaviors are equivalent ?

It doesn't matter what I think; if someone get's offended then someone gets offended. They're the judge of how much something offended them.

Anyway, I don't really want to get into an argument about -isms.


A more relevant picture would be this:

http://imgur.com/F8j0Ieq


I really hope this is a parody.. but I can't decide.

I know lots of women who played computer games all through the 80s and 90s.


This is a throwaway account created by someone who, as the name implies, thinks this sort of thing is acceptable but is afraid that people will disagree. Almost certainly male, he's an insecure coward, bizarrely valuing his approval by strangers here (his karma score) so much that he creates new accounts when he wants to say something he knows people will disagree with, so that he can continue to feel good about how much people like the false persona he routinely presents.

If I made this up, you wouldn't believe me.


Either that or somebody who doesn't have a HN account and is going around reposting this anywhere that this article is discussed.

Every "gender issues" thread on HN seems to attract new accounts that are here only for gender issues.


Every "gender issues" thread on HN seems to attract new accounts that are here only for gender issues.

Or we have a great many people placing an enormous value on their HN karma score.


Perhaps, although they are not always troll accounts. There are certainly groups who co-ordinate internet message board activity to enhance various agendas.


1) As a guy, I've had horrible stuff said to me as well. I've heard N-word, "fag", etc... These are 12 year olds we're dealing with.

2) There seems something deeply ironic that the big strong man was signing on to unlock things for the poor wife here...


1) During the game yeah. Not just while logging in. I bet nobody just tried to kick you out of a game because of your nametag.


I've had people try to kick me out for various reasons - not typing a response fast enough, thinking I'm chinese, and a number of reasons I couldn't even decipher.

Due to white knight emotional impulses, we treat attacks on females in games as special. But I don't see a logical reason to do this.


Yeah but it has nothing to do with your identity and it's not systematic.


Surely, the racism part is. But since race isn't announced through the name tag, I imagine it's less prevalent.


Some games do show the players nationality (at least to the extent that is represented geolocating their IP address).


Nope, my screen name is from a anime, and I've been called all kinds of asian slurs as a result (I'm not asian)


qq moar. uninstall and go play tetris, n00b!


If that's irony, then well played!


They should implement a "send a copy of this chat to their mom" feature for minors. I bet it would be fun.


For adults as well. Might even work quite nicely.


How does this differ from the normal male experience in video games? "Go get butt-raped" would hardly be an uncommon thing for a male player to hear.

Wouldn't it be sexist for gamers to tone down the trash talk simply because a woman is playing?


The normal male experience involves that kind of talk in reaction to what you do. It's the reaction to your actions in the game, or to your own comments.

The normal female experience involves that kind of talk in reaction to what you are. Being female. Doesn't matter what you do, or what you say; you get a constant barrage of abuse, hatred, and threat of rape. For being female and daring to play a game.


> the first thing I hear over the headphones was: “Oh great.. a girl player? F*ck. Are you serious? Let’s kick her and hope we get someone else.”

The first thing I hear when I log into games is not "Oh great... a boy player? Fuck. Are you serious? Let's kick her and hope we get someone else."

> Wouldn't it be sexist for gamers to tone down the trash talk simply because a woman is playing?

Did you seriously just ask if it would be sexist to not be sexist?


If "sexism" is being considered as treating somebody differently because of their gender, then I think that yummyfajitas has a point.

If the typical male-to-male interaction within a given community involves making sexist remarks now and then, then a male who doesn't make sexist remarks while in the presence of females would be treating them differently due to their gender. That in itself could be seen as a form of "sexism". After all, if everyone were to be treated equally in that context, then sexist remarks would be made regardless of whether the other people present were male or female.

Political correctness is often contradictory or self-defeating in this sort of a way. Those who are against "intolerance" end up inherently becoming intolerant themselves, because they do not tolerate intolerance, for example. Or those who single out, target and speak out against bullies end up engaging in a form of bullying behavior themselves.


But if it's guy -> guy remarks it's probably difficult to be "sexist" though I guess that is a semantic argument.

Though if the insults are gender neutral "lol noob scrub" then I guess it might be unfair to expect preferential treatment because of gender.


There is no contradiction in being sexist towards your own gender.


The first thing I hear when I log into games is not "Oh great... a boy player? Fuck. Are you serious? Let's kick her and hope we get someone else."

I've heard various things of this nature, for various non-gendered reasons. Give a team any reason to think you are either a) a bot or b) not good and they will boot you.

Did you seriously just ask if it would be sexist to not be sexist?

Sexism is treating people differently based on their gender. So yes, I assert it would be sexist to say to men "jail rape u gayayay nigz" but to tell women "tally ho madam, you have soundly defeated me."


I understand your point re: definitions of sexism, but I think EliRivers gets it right here in regards to performance versus person. And it's different to be on the receiving end when you're the threatened minority. It just is.


it's different to be on the receiving end when you're the threatened minority. It just is.

Only if you choose to make it so.

In my last job (not in the US), I was the minority. People made jokes about Americans (e.g. "no American jokes - they sue") along with many other groups. I chose not to make it a big deal (being the oppressed minority is boring to me) so it wasn't.


> it's different to be on the receiving end when you're the threatened minority. It just is.

> Only if you choose to make it so.

The perfect demonstration of why HN is a hateful place to discuss sexism, racism, etc.

"See, women, it's your fault. Just get over it already."


Girl players on average are worse than boy players. Yes, this is a stereotype. But a stereotype based on experience instead of prejudice. Don't like it? Get more girls playing computer games and being good at it.


Congratulations, you've just come up with the same justification that every bigot comes up with.

"Blacks are on average more criminal than whites. Yes, this is a stereotype. But a stereotype based on experience instead of prejudice. Don't like it? Get a job, negro."

"Fags are more AIDS-ridden than straight people. Yes, this is a stereotype. But a stereotype based on experience instead of prejudice. Don't like it? Don't have butt-sex, faggot."

Shall I go on?


It does not help to be mad at reality. Reality does not care. Ironically I'm also a victim of the same generalization process. It is assumed that most people can't separate logic of reality and actions based on emotional morality. When I can, it is assumed that I can not, and discussions derail always in this highly predictable fashion by people calling me names.


>Ironically I'm also a victim of the same generalization process.

It's not ironic at all. Oftentimes people who have been oppressed become in turn oppressors.


Saying "rape" is just a part of gaming culture is hardly a defense.


This case might just be a thing with random matchmaking too.

In my times playing Counter-Strike (and Source), you'd frequently be playing on the same server, and so a community would build; everyone was generally very cool to both girl and guy. But there are bad/trolly servers of course. WoW probably fits somewhere in this model too.

I guess I'll give a shout-out to the AHP custom map server (on cs source), as that is probably one of the best examples of good.


From the comments section:

"Og there’s plenty you can do, problem is, people are convinced that nothing will be done, so they never bother with reporting the offenders."


Nonsense, a lot of male players play with female characters. No one who played such games for longer than a week would even assume you're female based on your character.


Yes, but calling yourself Dizzy Lizzy instead of Lord of Death Pain Master is a dead giveaway to pro gamers.

Also, nonsense what? You never encountered sexism when playing online? Just consider how it's actually considered perfectly fine by many to call a decisive win "rape" :/


How is using the term "raped" sexist? Are you also offended by the words "dominated", "murdered", "owned"?


How is using the term "raped" sexist?

Because when it comes from people spraying porn on any surface they come in contact with, or who address females (whom they don't happen to suck up to) as "bitch" on principle, or any male they don't like as "fag", it's rather obvious how this all connects, and that it's basically insecure dumb male chauvinism letting the hair down. At this point it doesn't even matter if some females parrot the language as well, the source is still obvious.

Are you also offended by the words "dominated", "murdered", "owned"?

Not offended, but I pity the fools, yes. These concepts have one thing in common to me; I understand how they would seem desirable to people who can't make women laugh nor orgasm. Of course, just because every Volvo is a car, doesn't mean every car is a Volvo. But still.


Those people also spray male genitals and homosexual porn. They normally aim to be annoying (trolls, griefers, etc). That has nothing to do with the word raped though.

Your second answer goes off in a tangent so I won't bother with that.


Those people also spray male genitals and homosexual porn. They normally aim to be annoying (trolls, griefers, etc).

Those people also react aggressively without any humour to women who show confidence? Bullshit. And just because some people do sexist stuff for the purpose of trolling, doesn't mean it's not based on actual sexism, and that the actual sexism doesn't occur at the same time. I guess it just gives some people an opportunity to put their blinders on.

Your second answer goes off in a tangent so I won't bother with that.

Heh? Kindly scroll up: you asked, I answered. And if you think those terms are not based on physical dominance and how that attracts some men and rarely women, then I think you're even more unaware of the real world than of gaming.


Those people also react aggressively without any humour to women who show confidence? Bullshit.

I'm not understanding this correctly.

The term "rape" in gaming isn't a sexist term. It is often used when a team of 5 guys beats 5 other guys. (Common in LoL) Nothing to do with gender, all about dominance, power, strength and humility. Other variations: "We owned you", "We killed you", "We murdered you on the field", etc)

And yes, you answered my question. (You're not offended by the other words) but then you went on to talk about "people who can't make women laugh nor orgasm" which really has no place in the conversation.


I still don't understand how the term "raped" is sexist. For "raped" to be sexist, it would have to imply some gender when both men and women can be raped.


May I ask how many hours playing online shooters you have under your belt? This word isn't being used in a vacuum.


Have you ever looked at what rape is in REAL life ? It's something done massively by men and a huge proportions of rapes are by men on women. Words don't exist in a vacuum. Rape is not some vaporous ethereal concept.


Agreed, I misread. I usually play games where the giveaway is both the name and the character, which I guess most people try to match.

Surely there where a few people who thought I was female and surely they were behaving differently. But I think that's true for a lot of people playing those games regardless of what gender they think they're playing against. It can be nonsense and obscenities through and through.


> Also, nonsense what? You never encountered sexism when playing online? Just consider how it's actually considered perfectly fine by many to call a decisive win "rape" :/

Consider how it is considered perfectly fine to joke about man-on-man rape. "Don't bend over in the shower", implying that some inmate is going to be some other burly inmates bitch/wife, etc. Man-on-woman rape is not something you joke about unless you want to be ostracised.

There are evidently issues for women in gaming, but this one is not a symptom of that.


Female gamertag, not character. There are far fewer males running around with female tags, not that it doesn't happen.


That's why I tend to use gender neutral names for my accounts. On the internet, no one knows who you are (except for the NSA.)


Oh, I misread. Well, my point still stands in other games were the sex is only given away by the character.


No, it doesn't stand at all.

Forgive the brief reply, but I'm entering this on a smartphone.

This is an important matter, and you clearly haven't got it yet. Think about it for a while. If, after some reflection, you still don't see why your point doesn't stand, post a reply, and I'll explain when I'm sitting at a keyboard.


The article said it was based on her gamertag.


The fact is there are a lot of assholes on the internet. People will insult you no matter what, and in doing so they'll insult you using any way you are different: if you're a girl, if you're gay, if you're not white, if you're younger than average, older than average, from another country, not good at the game (noob), too good at the game (get a life), etc, etc.

Sucks, but in almost every game there is no requirement to identify yourself much.


Online games are a form of competition. Competition of any sort usually has a physical aspect, and a psychological aspect.

If Competitor A can use insults to get Competitor B flustered to the point that it affects Competitor B's ability to play the game, then Competitor A has given himself or herself an advantage.

If Competitor A's insults get Competitor B to quit playing altogether, then it's even more of an advantage for Competitor A.

Once you realize this, the insults become irrelevant. Just ignore them. It's not difficult, and they really have no impact unless you let them bother you.


That's what we would call "moral majority".

You should avoid places where "moral majority" tends to gather.

I've played quite a bit of Diablo III hardcore last year on Europe, and people were mostly friendly. Altough you should not take everything being said in game chat at its face value - it's game after all.


Wow, congratulations, somebody just found out that teenagers can suck sometimes. Here we go nobel prize.


Maybe this is a good time to re-evaluate what sort of communities you want to be associated with. There is a solution for these problems; just segregate yourself from the abusive people. Public multiplayer is not just worth it.


Children are cruel. News at 11.


Most female players I come across in online games are bad. I met one really good player once, and she was a CAL counter-strike player.

It may be that I've played with more women than I know, but those with girly names tend to be awful. I'd probably give the boot too if I was playing Gold on ME3.




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