Saturday, January 3, 2009

An unpleasant online phenomenon gets examined by yours truly.

So yea, I was just browsing some gaming news a few days ago, and came across the Playstation Home beta. This is apparently the online network for the Playstation 3 that's kinda Second Life/MMORPG with a lot of commercial advertising. There's all sorts of customization for you to create an avatar and whatnot.

And I was reading how some guys had been creating female avatars for fun. Of course, they would immediately be swarmed by a bunch of horny guys on there. Right as they had a large gathering of stalkers, they would suddenly switch to a different model, this time of an ugly male avatar. At which point, all the swarmers would run away. Seemed pretty entertaining, considering that the rest of Home is pretty boring and mind boggling in its execution.

I just started thinking about this tiresome and ceaseless phenomenon of anyone appearing to be female online, whether it be a mere chatroom or in a multiplayer game, being completely bombarded with... maybe not quite stalkers, but desperate and oftentimes abusive males.

If we're going to talk specifically about a woman that plays a video game, there seems to be a sort of mob mentality at work. The woman is immediately singled out and metaphorically placed in a box where all the other male players proposition her in crude ways, hoping for... I dunno, cybering or something. Then, when the female refuses, cause she just wants to play a game, the players invariably decide that since she won't put out, she's useless and they're gonna be verbally abusive to her and make her gaming experience as unenjoyable as possible.

This is of course a generalization. Not everybody is an asshole like this, this is mainly something that happens more often on consoles and when younger people are involved. But there definitely seems to be a strong pattern for this sort of behavior.

I just can't help but wonder what's behind this frustrating phenomenon. Is it possible that perhaps this sort of thing won't be the norm forever? Will there come a time when gaming is a bit more mainstream then it is now, and it's pretty mainstream these days, where female gamers are just looked upon as normal fixtures and less prone to being fawned over. Ya know, when the Xbox^18 is around and we're all using neural implants to game.

One of the funny things that crossed my mind was the fact that... there seems to be something about the idea of a woman playing a game that's pretty powerful and attractive in and of itself. Whereas I doubt a female is really turned on by the fact that a guy plays a video game. That's why you've got Ubisoft with their shameless Frag Dolls publicity shills.

Still, that schtick they pull on Playstation Home seems pretty damn funny.

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