#4 - My game in life
Thursday, July 20, 2006
Four days to countdown...

Day #4 will be marked with my love for computer gaming.

I wrote this article for a job application about a year ago. I had so much fun writing this so I'm using it to describe my views in gaming. I inserted some comments to update some details and did some minor revisions. Of course, the emoticons have just been added on this post.

A Female Gamer's Point of View

I love computer games. I've been a computer gamer since the birth of Nintendo's Family Computer (Go Mario!). Now that may not be considered as a computer as we know it now, but I'm sure you'll agree that it was considered as one when personal computers were not widely available to the average Filipino kids in the early 80's.

Now that we have personal computers, the one with its own TV and typewriter (as I described it when I was 9 years old), I play a lot of computer games, and some console games as well. I can say that I'm pretty good at the ones that I play. I may not be considered an expert of the games I'm playing, but for an average 24-year-old female (Yes, I was only 24 when I wrote this. Stop making faces.), I am good. Yes, I am a woman. And this article, as the title suggests, is all about my being a woman and a gamer.

Why I chose this particular topic is a whole new story. What I really want to express here is what an average female gamer thinks about the computer games she plays and why she enjoys such games. Let me elaborate on this with a couple of my favourite old-school games.

BroodwarRight now, I'm trying to beat the computer as a Protoss on a 2-on-5 game in the Big Game Hunters map. Back in high school when I started playing StarCraft, I was a Terran. I’ve also played Zerg, but eventually, I felt more comfortable with the alien robot army.

My Protoss strategy is simple: build my defenses, and defend my base while building up a mean offense. Sometimes, when I’m feeling lucky, I gather up a dozen of those annoying, heavy-duty Zealots and surprise my opponents just as they are just starting to do their thing. I believe they call that "the crappy Zealot rush." My friends actually use a more obscene word than crappy, but hey, I'm trying hard to be wholesome here. Now, as much as I want to discuss my strategy in detail, I have to keep that to myself so as to keep my winning streak uninterrupted.

Why do I feel comfortable with my Protoss strategy? Because I can say that my strategy says a lot about how I think and deal with life as a person. Whenever I encounter challenges in life, I sit quietly, do something just to prevent from being beaten to a pulp, gather up all my strength, and give you a real hard knock on the head. Hard enough to put you out of the game. I take it that you're taking that figuratively. I have no intention of putting anybody out of the game of life. As for the "the crappy Zealot rush," sometimes I just throw caution to the wind and be as impulsive as I can get. I'll deal with life's blasted little spices with all that I have, very early in the game.

Now this game reflects my personality in dealing with long-term goals. I am a sorceress at heart. A sorceress has no physical strength to boast of, but beware, her expertise in the elemental magic. My Champion Clytie is now Level 79, in Hell level, has just gathered Khalim's scattered body parts, and on her way to sending Mephisto back under his mother’s skirt. (She is now known as Matriarch Clytie, having defeated Baal in Hell level. Ah yeah!) She has mastered the element of Ice, with a couple of Lightning and Fire spells, just in case she encounters minions with cold immunity, which, by the way, she meets at every corner of Hell level.

Unlike StarCraft, your gameplan is much more complicated in Diablo II. You have points to allocate in character statistics. You have points to allocate in skills. One point put to a skill or statistic can make the difference between defeating Baal and being eaten alive by Rakanishu. You have to plan where each point goes. You have to determine if your character needs more strength than vitality. This is one of the games that actually have an IQ pre-requisite. Drink Promil.

Although I also play Diablo alone, I enjoy it better when my friends and I do a multiplayer game. Our party is complete: a Paladin, a Barbarian, a Druid, a Necromancer, and my Sorceress. Since you can customize a character's strong points, we have different games for different parties. My Fire sorceress is in party with the shape-shifting Druid, a cursing Necromancer, and an offensive Paladin.

We even researched on how to acquire those brown-font unique items. You can't get through Nightmare just by using items and weapons dropped by Diablo's lame minions or given by Deckard Cain, Ormus, or Akara. We have this software, a muling application that allows us to store the socketed or unique items, runes, and gems that we get. Then we refer to our Diablo bible, a text file listing all the formulas in producing unique items by transmuting stuff in the Horadric Cube. That's how we got my Sorceress' Heart of the Oak (+3 to all skill levels!) and our party's uniform, our official armor, Chains of Honour (+2 to all skill levels and +200 to defense!) Career in Diablo? Hmmmmmnn.

As I mentioned in this section's first paragraph, my strategy in this game manifests my approach in long-term goals. Although I can do it alone, it's much better and more fun when I am part of a team. I don't plan to grow old alone, sagging and toothless, isolated in my sorry room playing solitaire all my life. I intend to keep my friends and do stuff with them until we all bite the dust. Of course, finding a lifetime-partner is part of the plan. He should be strong enough to deal with those cold-immune critters that we may encounter. Actually, I've found him, and he makes a mean elemental Druid. (We're married now!)

StarCraft and Diablo II are just two of my favourite games at the moment. I have also played Battle Realms, WarCraft, and a little of Neverwinter Nights. Recently, my friends and I have developed this liking to first-person shooter (FPS) games, like Painkiller, Counter Strike, and Half-life. We have played Unreal Tournament for a whole weekend, stopping only to go to the comfort room or mix the instant pancit canton we're having for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We also lost sleep over the cute old game Worms, which is very similar to today's GunBound. We practically lose sleep over any game we play during our weekly LAN parties.

As you may have noticed, I mentioned no online games here. I wasn't able to play online games that much for the simple reason that I'm more often offline than online during my free time, even when I was still in college.

Now, back to the question of the hour: how does my perception of computer games as a woman differ from that of a man's? Simple: My game is my life. I don't just play my games, I live them. The strategies in my games are my strategies in life. (Although a lot of gamers, regardless of gender, would probably say the same thing when asked of the same question. Thing is, you don't meet a lot of female hardcore gamers everyday.)

I'm not saying that men play games just to pass time or do something more wholesome than play with their little penal toys. I've met a few who actually live the games they play, just like me. But that's just it. They're few. If you're a man and you think you're one of the few, please do something for us to meet so I can dismiss my reason and make me think of something else that I can use as an excuse for gender equality in gaming.
's thoughts were ambushed at 7:23 PM

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