View Full Version : Girl gamers strike at the boys

10-04-04, 15:51
The women challenging the stereotype that professional online gaming is the realm of geeky men alone.

Anja Maller, aka Vildkatten

Anja Maller lives a double life. By day she is a 26-year-old single mother studying to be a journalist.

But when she gets in front of her computer, she becomes Vildkatten, the scourge of the online world of Counter-Strike.

Ms Maller is part of a growing breed of professional female gamers who are shaking up the traditional image of a gamer as a male geek who spends hours in a darkened bedroom, shooting anything in sight.

"I have played computer games since I was a kid," says Ms Maller, a member of the Danish clan, DoMe.

"It was inevitable that at some time I would run into Counter-Strike. I ran into it three-and-a-half years ago and I just got hooked straight away. It is just so much fun."

Tactics and concentration

Since its release in March 1999, Counter-Strike has become the most popular online shoot-'em-up of all time.

Its simple premise pits counter-terrorists vs terrorists, and it is played by tens of thousands of gamers across the world.

It is widely seen as something of a boy's game due to its violent nature. But Ms Maller says it's about much more than just running around with all guns blazing.


"At a professional level, you have a lot more aspects in the game than just shooting, like tactics, team spirit, concentration. There is a lot you have to focus on when you are playing at a competitive level."

Her clan was one of a handful of professional female teams talking part in last month's Cyber X Games in Las Vegas, competing for a slice of the $600,000 on offer in cash and prizes.

The imbalance between men and women was clear to see, with almost 50 male teams taking part, compared with just seven female squads. And as in the world of sport, there were separate competitions for each gender.

Seek sponsorship

"It is good that we are having female competitions," says 24-year-old Louise Thomsen, another member of the DoMe clan, known online as Aurora.

"But it is two steps up and one step down as we are segregating males and females. It's saying that the girls aren't as good as the males."

Ms Thomsen was also introduced to computers at an early age. When she first came across Counter-Strike, she thought the game looked boring. After giving it a try, she was hooked.

"It's like reading a book," she says. "You can sit by yourself and entertain yourself. You are in a world of your own, in your own little world."

Gaming over the internet has proved so popular that there are professional teams, backed by corporate sponsors, who compete in international competitions for big prize pots.

But it's hard for female teams like DoMe to be taken seriously and attract the kind of backing that top male clans enjoy.

"The prize money is not the same," says Ms Maller of the Cyber X Games. "The guys look at our competition as a side event. But we take it seriously, hoping that it will become just as big as the event for the guys."

What women want

Part of the blame can be laid at the door of the games industry.

Traditionally, video games have been made by men for men, with many believing that women are only interested in role-playing, puzzles or adventure games.

Female gamers dispute this, saying that what makes a great game and what appeals to women is subjective.

"It is stupid to put female labels on games, it is better to appeal to the individual," says Ms Thomsen.

Louise Thomsen

"But there are stereotypes. Counter-Strike is 99% male so females that do come into this world feel overpowered or that they are not welcomed. If people just opened their minds and didn't see us as being male or female, it would be much better."

The DoMe team in Las Vegas

The article and a selection of comments from people who have read the article can be found at BBC News (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/3496963.stm)

10-04-04, 18:14
http://www.ctrlaltdel-online.com/images/upper_left/icon38.gif (http://www.ctrlaltdel-online.com)

[ 10. April 2004, 19:15: Message edited by: Geck-o-Lizard ]

10-04-04, 18:37
Chicks Rule! http://www.tombraiderforums.com/images/smilies/c-5.gif

10-04-04, 23:52
To be fair, enough guys play girls that it kinda evens out... http://www.tombraiderforums.com/images/smilies/tongue.gif

12-04-04, 10:39
Girls might play - but that doesnt mean they win... hehehe... nah, just kidding - seriously i think its great to hear that... Bring on the chicks!!!

Dont think us guys are afraid to hit a girl in the virtual world... Because we ain't... ;) - and i would hope you wouldnt have it any different... http://www.tombraiderforums.com/images/smilies/violent.gif

Heres an appropriate smile for all you gaming girls from Duffman - http://www.tombraiderforums.com/images/smilies/c-2.gif