Reflection: Women & Gaming in My Family

Coming off a week of vacation, I found myself reflecting on the week, including what I accomplished and whatnot. I had a good time with family, met my adorable nephew for the first time, relaxed on the beach, meal prepped, and got even closer to finishing Persona 5 (the end is so so close!).

In the midst of this time, I thought some more about my gaming habits—how they’ve developed and changed over time. I then gave some thought to the fellow women I know who game and to what extent we share in this activity. This topic might not be the most popular among those who play video games, perhaps some feel it’s been beaten to death, but I’d like to briefly offer some of my experiences.

I’m a bit of the odd one out in my immediate family. I always had an interest in computers, fancy gadgets, and video games growing up. This interest and relative skill does come in handy when your mom can’t figure out how her tablet works, so I’m not judged too harshly. 😉

I’ve never really sat down with my mom to talk about video games, but I have inferred a few things over time. I think that, in general, she views the act of playing video games regularly as a waste of time because of certain individuals she witnessed, or knows of, who are obsessed with playing and/or let video games get in the way of adult responsibilities. Despite this, I know that as a teenager my mother loved to play Pac-Man. She loved it so much that she bought something like this plug and play Ms. Pac-Man a few years ago:

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She’s also fond of playing Wheel of Fortune on her tablet. So she’s not entirely opposed to video games, but I can’t help but wonder if she views modern gaming as being totally saturated in violence, which would certainly be a deterrent for her. That, and she never had any of the major gaming consoles in her life.

The first time that I played a video game with my mother was when I got the Wii. We played Wii Sports of course. And just this year, we played 1 2 Switch. She was particularly fond of the “Quick Draw” mini-game. I have never seen the woman so intense with a video game before! We had a lot of fun playing 1 2 Switch and “Guesspionage” from The Jackbox Party Pack 3, and I can see her wanting to play again in the future.

And then there’s my sister, who is six years younger than me. She will play video games on occasion but does not own a console or have a PC capable of playing much. She has played on a Game Boy, GameCube, DS, Wii, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and on PC. Some of the games we played together included various versions of Just Dance, Mario Kart, and The Forest, among other titles. I have yet to introduce her to the Switch, but I think she would enjoy it for a time. It’s not that my sister doesn’t like video games, they just aren’t a priority for her.

My mom and sister aren’t avid gamers by any means, but it does make me happy when I can share something with them, even if it’s momentary. They might not always “get” my hobby, but I have seen them experience moments of joy when playing video games. I can’t help but smile thinking of my mom’s laugh when she beat me at “Quick Draw.”

In writing this, I wanted to share my sliver of experience with gaming and the immediate women in my family, and I wanted to document it in some way. I don’t really have a statement to make about women and gaming, at this time, beyond sharing what I’ve seen and known.

Author: Tabitha

I game. I teach. I write. Soon to be graduate student pursuing a PhD in Rhetoric and Writing. Interested in the use of video games in education, digital rhetoric, and literacy.

7 thoughts

  1. I enjoyed reading your thoughts here! I know you don’t necessarily have a statement about women and games, but while I was reading I wondered… do views on gaming differ between the men and women in your family?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the comment!

      In my immediate family, the only other avid gamer would be my youngest brother. I don’t think I’ve ever heard my dad say anything about video games and my oldest brother never showed much of an interest.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. We were always equal-opportunity gamers at my house. My dad was usually more enthusiastic about playing, but even my mom would join in sometimes. It was all about playing together and having fun together, so I think my parents saw that the three of us (kids) enjoyed playing video games, so they’d join in.

    Having said that, I think it’s perfectly reasonable to not have any sort of strong statement about women in games. The field is changing (in some ways) and staying stagnant (in others) so it’s hard to pin down one overarching “statement,” I think. I tend to cause a ruckus when I try, so… there’s that, too 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s great that your parents saw how fun video games could be and even participated.

      I definitely could say a lot more about women and gaming (I have some thoughts developing on that for a later post), but for now I want to focus on the experiences closest to me.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for sharing your story! I’m a woman with an electronics background who has always loved video games. My Mom never liked them much, but I have fond memories of getting her addicted to Kirby’s Dream Course one very fun summer, haha.

    Liked by 1 person

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