That One Time I was a Girl Gamer – Opinion Piece

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Upgrading elements, creating traps, or training troops, requires players to wait in real time

Back from the summer break and back to reviewing video games. Besides PC games, I sometimes like to play mobile games to pass the time on the commute and ended up playing Clash of Queens: Dragons Rise (Elex Wireless, 2016), because this one ad on YouTube kept bugging me about it. I downloaded it just to get the ad to go away, so you might say that the ad worked?

If you’ve ever played mobile games like Clash of Clans (2012), Clash of Kings (2014), The Simpson’s: Tapped Out (2012), Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff (2014), Dungeon Keeper (mobile) (2014), or the like, you’re already familiar with this genre. You build your castle/town by clicking on stuff and then you wait. You click on things to tell your population to do stuff, or to upgrade buildings, and then you wait. The higher your level, the longer you’ll wait an allotted amount of time before you can click again. If you don’t want to wait, you can buy the premium currency for real money to shorten the waiting period. There’s not a lot of “game mechanic” to these games in general, but with the “clash” kind of games, you also have a multiplayer function with chat rooms, alliances, and the ability to attack other players’ towns, and that’s all there is to them.

They are all pretty basic and tend to become dull quickly; this game is no exception there. Nevertheless, I had a great time playing it. What kept me going was the great crew that let me be part of this brief adventure we had together. Especially two players by the in-game pseudonyms of x.Emily.x from the United Kingdom and Norse Goddess from the United States were amazing and I think, had we met them in real life, we’d probably be great friends there as well. Of course there were other players I loved playing with as well, like Emily’s sibling ~•|Zelda|•~, another British player by the name of robo81, an Indonesian player named Xia Li Xia, and our alliance leader Princess Vasil. Sadly, most of them had stopped playing the game by now (we all started the game at the same time and played for around three weeks) as there’s just no gameplay to it. As soon as one’s town reaches level 8, the waiting periods become so long that there is little to no incentive to stay online as there are no activities whatsoever, thus, communities easily fall apart. And I never had the chance to give them my contact info, in case they wanted to stay in touch. I also would have loved for them to know one other thing about me, I’m actually a guy.

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I had a lot of fun chatting with Emily and Norse Goddess in our alliance

Although it’s not an excuse, I didn’t intentionally deceive them, it just sadly took me a bit to realize what was going on. I grew up in the Philippines with a lot of girls in my extended family who I hung out with everyday and throughout most of my life; most of my best and closest friends were and still are girls. So, being around members of the opposite sex is quite normal for me, but I’ve never been mistaken for a girl before. After booting up the game for the first time, it asked me to pick an avatar from a small assembly of available choices. At first I wanted to pick one that looked like Eddard Stark, who used to be my favorite character in Game of Thrones (first aired April 17, 2011) until he suddenly died in season 1 (oh, spoiler alert, btw), so I couldn’t possibly go for him. Instead, I settled on one that kind of looked like a mix between Cersei Lannister and Daenerys Targaryen, simply because the character played by Emilia Clarke’s a badass. I started playing and immediately was asked by Vasil to join her alliance, the (Nig) Night Knights in Kingdom 53. That is where I met everyone.

In my PC gaming circle, it’s not unusual to gender swap. When I played Resident Evil: Revelations (2012, 2013) raid mode with a friend, she wanted to play as Chris Redfield, because he’s “hot” and when I played Resident Evil 6’s (2012) campaign, another friend insisted that she’d play as Leon Kennedy as that’s her favorite, which meant I played as Helena Harper. In Street Fighter, I usually play as either Sakura or Ken and in Dead or Alive 5 Last Round (2015), my main is Momiji. So for me, someone playing as a girl or a guy doesn’t mean they have the same sex as their character. I mean, even in How I Met Your Mother, Ted Mosby plays a girl in World of Warcraft (Season 3, Episode 5, first aired October 22, 2007). So, yeah, it didn’t click with me that people thought I was a girl, but maybe mobile players tend to pick a character that matches their sex.

I kept the charade up after realizing what was going on, because something else that was weird and unexpected happened, guys hit on me. They came crawling out of all corners even though they had no clue what I looked like or if I even was a girl. Some of the suitors definitely crossed the line: One guy handed out his phone number to the girls in our alliance and offered money in exchange for sexual favors, another got annoyed by me and started calling me slurs and insults. One interested guy from Pakistan wasn’t rude, but kept on asking me personal questions, like my religion, whether I was married, and other things, which made me feel really uncomfortable after a while. Within my first six days playing the game, I met so many of them. And though at first I enjoyed the experience, at some point, I felt annoyed when yet another man made his advances.

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Castles can be relocated so that alliance members will be next door neighbors

I checked back with my real-life friends and Steam peers to see if my experiences matched theirs; I honestly had no idea that girls get hit on this often. Sure, when I’m on social media, I see guys hit on girls in the comment sections, and when I’m out clubbing, I’ve tried more than once to approach people, but there is a major difference between knowing something happens, being the suitor, and having it happen to you. I’ve got to say, that was one hell of a disturbing experience and it’s given me a completely new perspective on things.

Unlike real girls who have to deal with this everyday, I was only pretending to be one in this online game. Despite that, after two weeks, I felt when yet another interested dude jumped out of the woodworks. What I have to say is that girls, generally speaking, deal rather well with the massive amount unsolicited advances they can receive from men. But I also feel sympathy for the large amounts of nice guys I myself know, men who try to meet someone, but get turned down by girls who are just tired of being hit on yet again. Nevertheless, to those gentlemen I met online in this game, I would like to advise you to remember that the person you’re talking to is indeed a person, a human being, not a toy. The other thing you should keep in mind is that you maybe shouldn’t try to hook up with some random person online that you don’t know, it just might not be the smartest thing to do. And lastly, when someone doesn’t do what you want, don’t call them slurs, and to that one guy who thought that offering money for sex is a good idea, you need help.

Finally, though it is probably unlikely that my two friends from the game, Emily and Norse Goddess, will stumble upon this, but I hope that you are not angry at me and that we can stay friends. It would be cool if we could play or chat together in the future and I hope you forgive me for deceiving you. I thank you for the great time we had. It was truly special and I wish you all the best always.

Obligatory Bloob bloob

Please do feel free to leave a comment, if you’d like to. The comment section is completely open, no need to register or log in. All screenshots were taken by me during my playthrough.

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