Why the term “casual gaming” needs to die in a fire

In the comments on my previous post, the following nugget of casual-gamer-hate popped up:

I think that 47% figure is factoring in women that play Angry Birds on their IPhones or something.

I hate it when people hate on casual games, and I ESPECIALLY hate it when people hate on casual gamers, especially given that pretty much everyone knows that casual gamers almost always = women. And yet among a certain set of gamers, the idea of casual gamers seems to elicit the same sort of disgust as would lepers or genuine fans of Rob Liefeld[1].

I could write an entirely separate post about my hatred for the Fake Nerd Girl meme, but I won’t.

And I’m sick of it. I’m sick of the hate, and I’m sick of the not-really-veiled attempt to define “real” gaming as the parts that don’t contain girls.

So here are some reasons why I think the hate for casual games is bullshit and why I wish the phrase “casual game” would go away forever.

1. Casual games aren’t games? WRONG.

(Unless you’re talking about FarmVille, which totally isn’t a game, it’s a psychological manipulation marketing tool, and not even a well-disguised one at that[2].)

The problem with saying that casual games aren’t games is that it’s a classic case of moving the goal posts. What exactly is it about casual games that make them not games? The fact that they tend to be addictive? Okay, well by that reasoning you’ve just said that Civilization isn’t a game, because I defy you to come up with a game more addictive than Civilization. (JUST ONE. MORE. TURN.)

From Civ Anon. I can’t tell if this is real, or a very clever parody[2].
Is it the fact that casual games tend to be played on mobile devices as opposed to consoles or desktops? Well by that definition, Pokemon doesn’t count as a game, since it’s played on Nintendo’s mobile platforms, nor do any of the other major releases for handheld consoles that people have played over the years.

Is it the fact that they require no major time-investment to play? You can play a few minutes or a few hours and then stop? Well what about games like Tetris, Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, etc? Hell, for that matter, what about any fighting game[3]?

Face it. The only real distinguishing factor of casual games is that they are games played predominantly by women. Saying that casual games aren’t games is nothing more than a declaration that the only “real” games are games meant for men, because only men are “real” gamers. Furthermore, to say that casual games aren’t games is factually innacccurate. ANGRY BIRDS IS A VIDEO GAME. It is a game that you play on a screen that has objectives that are reasonably attainable and is competitive and some people find it fun. Thus, it is a video game.

2. The false commitment binary

When casual games exploded in popularity, a firm hierarchy was established. There were the casual gamers and the “hardcore” gamers, and never the twain shall meet. There were the lowly “casuals” – bored moms and computer-challenged grandmothers playing endless games of Candy Crush and Words with Friends – and then there were the HARDCORE gamers. MEN! MANLY MEN! Manly men playing Call Of Duty and Battlefield on Xbox and gleefully trash-talking each other because they were REAL gamers who were HARDCORE.

The only problem is that this idea of the “commitment binary” – you are either a casual gamer or a hardcore gamer – is complete and utter bullshit. Sure there are some women gamers who only play casual games or who only play “hardcore” games. But there are also a lot of women who play both, or whose habits and inclinations change depending on mood and current circumstances.

To help illustrate the point, I did an (entirely unscientific) poll of a small circle of ladygamer friends on my Google+. Amusingly, while I got 11 responses (including myself), I only included 9 in the following graphs because one woman said that she only played one game at a time in periodic gaming binges, while the other said she wasn’t really sure which games she played would be casual and which games wouldn’t – which just goes to illustrate how incredibly arbitrary the division between casual and “hardcore” is.

Nope. Sure doesn’t look like there’s any real correlation between amount of time played per week and how much of that time was spent on casual versus non-casual games. But just to make things a little clearer, I sorted the results a bit and came up with:

And then you have the mitigating circumstances. Several women said they would play more non-casual games if their mobile devices were capable of running them. Two women also said that their high hours per week of games played was because of long commutes – although one typically played a non-casual game on her commute while the other played casual games on her hers.

What was even more interesting was that polling the women for their favorite games in each category yielded some interesting results. Casual games cited were: Temple Run, Angry Birds, Pocket Frogs, Mystery Manner, BubbleXplode, Word Welder, Scrabble, Tetris, Bejeweled, Kami, Word Monsters, Pet Rescue, Farm Heroes, Juice Cubes, and 2048. Angry Birds, sure, but not a single mention of Candy Crush! And most of these were games I hadn’t even heard of!

Non-Casual games cited were: Tomb Raider, Lightning Returns, Civilization 5, Final Fantasy (in general), Oblivion/Elder Scrolls, Fire Emblem, Assassin’s Creed, Catan, and The Bureau. So sure you’ve got some RPGs, but you’ve also got action, stealth, and civilization-building, to name a few.

So here’s where I break out the feminist theory. (Bear with me.) Gaming habits, like gender expressions, are a spectrum. The extremes, pure casual and pure non-casual, are comparatively rare, with most people falling somewhere in between. So remember, just say no to false binaries.

3. Casual games don’t discriminate against us

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a male gamer in possession of bro-itude must be in want of a woman to make him a sandwich.

Anyone who’s been paying a modicum of attention to the state of women in gaming knows that women routinely face harassment in most areas of gaming, especially when that gaming happens online. One only has to look at websites like the (now defunct) Fat, Ugly or Slutty to see an example of the ways in which women are disincentivized from venturing into “traditional” (read: male) gaming spaces.

And that’s not considering of the sexism of games themselves. Even if you can carve out a safe gaming space for yourself, all too often the very games you’re looking to play end up reminding you of your “inferior” status through objectified female characters, stories void of any women except sex workers, or stories without any women at all.

But “casual” games like Angry Birds or Words With Friends or 2048? They don’t constantly remind us our our second-class status. No one is there to call us an ugly slut or demand that we make them a sandwich. There aren’t any overly-inflated breasts or teeny-weeny costumes. So is it any wonder that women would flock to a genre of games that isn’t designed to make us feel bad about ourselves? HOW SHOCKING.

So with all of the above in mind, I’m going to issue a Commandment.


While some games have broader appeal than others, I have yet to find a single game that has universal appeal. Just because a certain game makes you want to gouge your eyes out doesn’t automatically make it a terrible game, and it certainly doesn’t mean that people who do enjoy that game are objectively wrong and must be taught the error of their ways. All it means is that that game isn’t for you. That’s it. That’s all.

For instance, I have a lot of friends who enjoy Risk. I fucking loathe Risk, or, for that matter, any game where you can know you’re going to lose and still be forced to play for an hour and a half before you’re “out”, and where the game might drag on another 4 or 5 hours without you. But some people enjoy that sort of high-risk, high-reward play style, so you know what? Cool! All I have to do is just not play Risk.

So if someone is playing a game that you hate, ask yourself ARE THEY HAVING FUN? If yes, are they hurting anyone? Like it’s not called Throw Knives at Toddlers or Run Over Puppies with Monster Trucks, right? If not, then CHILL THE FUCK OUT. Even if you have the most amazing rant about how what they’re playing isn’t actually a game, keep it to yourself because no one wants to hear it, and by shoving it in people’s faces you’re making yourself into That Asshole. Yeah, you know the one. THAT GUY.

Nobody made you the Fun Lord. You don’t get to decide what is and is not objectively fun. You don’t get to tell people what they do or do not enjoy. So shut the fuck up.

An Addendum

So after I’d already outlined the post and fleshed out most of the arguments, the commenter who inspired this post decided to prove exactly the point that I making by trolling when I rebutted the notion that Angry Birds isn’t a video game.

What made the trolling more egregious was that his original comment was quite receptive to the idea of women in gaming, if a bit clueless:

… I would think males would be more welcoming to female geeks. I mean…where else can you find women with similar interests? Please continue to try and get more women into gaming in general. The scene really needs it right now.

(You can read the entire comment here)

Because the commenter seemed receptive, I focused most of my response on relating my personal experiences of how I have been made to feel unwelcome (with the added comment of yes Angry Birds is a video game). But apparently sharing my personal experiences and disputing that yes, Angry Birds is a video game, was, I don’t know. Too something. Because he then went off on a bizarre little rant that read like an anti-feminist bingo card and included one of my personal favorites: BUT SAUDIA ARABIA[4].

So thanks for helping prove my point, troll comment guy, that the argument about casual games really isn’t about the definition of games. Also? It takes a special kind of asshole to ask why women feel unwelcome, and then – after I shared the story of how I was sexually victimized at a convention – accuse me of taking creep shots of women at cons for the purposes of slut-shaming them on my blog. Congratulations! You may be a C+ troll but you are an A+ asshole.


[2] I wanted to make a “just one more turn” joke about 12 step programs, but that would make me a terrible person.

[3] Sure some of the newer ones (like Soul Calibur) have “story modes” where you can play a campaign to unlock weapons and costumes and stuff. But mostly it boils down to, go here, beat up this character, rinse, repeat.

[4] As in, why are you wasting your time writing about sexism in games when women are being oppressed in Saudia Arabia?

24 thoughts on “Why the term “casual gaming” needs to die in a fire

  1. I agree with every point you bring up here, but I’m not sure the term “casual game” needs to die as much as it just needs to be stripped of all the unwanted associations and knee-jerk dismissal. I think it’s still a useful term.

    I say this because when the rest of my team and I were building our last game (a puzzle-platformer), making it “casual” was a useful point of distinction and an intentional design choice. It meant, for us, that there wouldn’t be excessive difficulty (or more precisely, that the challenge on the critical path would derive from puzzle difficulty rather than control mastery) and that the game could be enjoyed in small chunks and without a big up-front investment in time. Basically, more accessible, less intimidating, and playable in small chunks.

    We wanted everyone who found our goofy core concept appealing to be able to dive in and enjoy the game, and we’d seen a lot of people who enjoyed the game in play tests that didn’t normally play a lot of games or who weren’t particularly good at platformers. “Casual” seemed to encompass a lot of our design goals with respect to making a game those people could enjoy as well.

    • Huh. That’s an interesting perspective! It seems like “casual” has a very different usage for game devs than it does for most “civilians”, but I can certain appreciate how “casual” nicely encapsulates a certain set of design goals.

      I’m not sure how to reconcile it’s usefulness as a game design term with its awful application “in the wild”, as it were.

      • I think the term at least started out as a developer buzzword before finding its way into general discussion and then getting turned into some sort of pejorative. It’s a bit of an odd situation.

        Negative use of the term typically seems rooted in snobbery and tribalism. The same distinctions that make it helpful from a game design perspective have apparently been commandeered to serve as a line in the sand for the “real gamers” to distinguish themselves from “the casuals” (as though the distinction has any merit). They play “real games” with depth and challenge and massive investments of time and effort, and they’re validating that by slagging the out-group of people who play games not designed for them. That there’s an implied gender divide in the in and out groups is just another ugly side effect of the elitism driving all that.

        If I had to guess, I’d say that sense of elitism and tribalism is driven by a fear of not getting the products they’ve learned to love. They see the millions of dollars going into making games that don’t appeal to them and see it as an attack, rather than a broadening of the medium, and they constantly see (and then sensationalize) developers “watering down” games for the sake of accessibility or appealing to a broader audience.

        I’ve also seen similar elitism and “hardcore versus casual” bullshit within games that emphatically don’t fall into the “casual” category by any meaningful definition. For instance, in FPS games that serve a less mainstream crowd it’s not uncommon to hear people bitch and moan about how the developers are catering to the “COD kiddies” or somesuch, or dumbing the game down for “Joe casual”. I swear, it’s an infinite Matryoshka doll of elitist holier-than-thou tribal bullshit.

    • I wanted to point in the same direction as Ian, but coming from the pen and paper perspective I still want to add that “Robin’s Laws of good Game Mastering” by Robin D. Laws gave a good, useful and by no means hateful description of casual gamers at the gaming table, and how to target their needs. So that term isn’t the problem, but the haters are, which you pointed out in your blog post (sans the headline)

  2. I thought the “casual” pejorative in gaming was code for “games your middle-aged mother would play”. The reason I thought this was because of the “Your Mom Hates Dead Space 2” ad campaign (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nKkPFDEiC6Q) that EA promoted in 2011.

    Noticeably, it wasn’t dads that were featured in the commercial, even though fathers of that age group (50+) were no more likely to be familiar with that type of violent video game than mothers would be. Framing a game as something that would specifically offend mothers was an implicit way to appeal to, and reaffirm, the masculinity of the game’s (teenage male) target audience.

    • There’s a lot of really awful marketing campaigns that exist to sell games to a male audience by reinforcing norms of toxic masculinity. See, for example, the awful billboards for the most recent (I think?) entrant in the Hitman series showing sexualized female murder victims.

  3. I love this rant, and I’ve been known to spew it at friends/families/rando people online when it comes up. My favorite part of this post was the graphs though. Great visual!

  4. While there is certain intersection (especially evident in how so many self-proclaimed “hardcore” gamers tend to pejoratively dismiss casual games as “something only your mother/grandmother would play”), I think the dismissal of casual games and casual gamers in general is primarily motivated by snobbery rather than mere misogyny (or more accurately, is not only misogyny the central motivating factor at play here).

    These games don’t require much dexterity in their controls, tend to not be very complex in terms of goals and/or gameplay mechanics (some are even shallow in these respects), and most of them lack difficulty and/or story. So elitist gamers who gravitate towards hardcore games (which tend to be perceived as more difficult or complex to play, and thus requiring more skill to play them well) tend to look down on them and on people who prefer them as “not true gamers” because “they obviously lack the skill to handle true challenging games, thus they are inferior gamers”. Of course, most of these people also tend to ignore the fact that many casual games tend to ramp up the difficulty as they progress, to the point that some truly become devious in later stages.

    The curious thing is that this hatred of casual games and the word “casual” used practically as an insult is actually thrown down in certain circles to games that you wouldn’t really associate with the definition of a casual game. For example, I have seen some people (primarily gamers who prefer old school arena FPS) referring to Call of Duty as “casual trash”. They also refer pejoratively to the people who play COD as casual gamers, which for them means “not true FPS fans”.

    I think that’s the key issue here: It’s not only a matter of trying to exclude women from gaming (even if there is indeed some of that at play), it’s pretty much just another excuse for some (really immature) people to try and minimize others in order to feel better about themselves. To pass themselves as “superior” based purely on their gaming habits. Something that is not only ridiculous but certainly disgusting as well.

    So all of this is to say that, while I don’t entirely agree with some of the premises, I fully agree with the central point of your post. This divide between casual and hardcore needs to die, as it’s pretty much just another one of those obnoxious acts of tribalism, elitism and snobbery that are so common in gaming culture. I also agree with your conclussion: Many gamers need to learn to chill out and be tolerant of whatever other people like and prefer in their games, rather than try to force their own preferences into other people.

    And of course, the most ironic thing is that, when looked by today lenses, almost every single classic from the golden era of gaming that paved the way for today gaming industry (Pac-man, Tetris, Space Invaders, etc.) is actually a casual game: Simple to play, lacking complexity in terms of goals and mechanics, most of the time lacking storyline, addictive, easy to pick up and play, lacking difficulty in the initial stages, etc. This means most of the people who decry casual games because “WE ARE SO HARDCORE AND $#IT” or “WE ARE TEH GAMERZ” are actually decrying the foundations of their hobby.

    • Egregious Assface Troll Captain Planet checking in…

      I feel a need to explain my extreme change in disposition. I too am concerned with the state of my hobbies currently. Looking at most forms of nerd media these days I just see White male, White male, White male, Scantily clad chick, White male. That is why I came to this blog because I was curious about how to fix the situation. I am a published writer and I aim to actually use people of color and women as the the protagonists to just break up all the monotony. My frustration stemmed from when I went back and read your post on GenCon where you called out women dressed in cosplay and pointed out all the fantasy cleavage. This got me fired up because I felt you were trying to censor people and shame women for dressing how they want to dress. My wife will look at cosplay girls at Dragon Con and call them sluts which drives me insane. Just because a woman wants to dress sexy does not mean anything about how she behaves. I am sure you disagree and this your space so can do as you will….it just had me seeing red.

      Also, I wish you would reconsider your stance on getting involved in say Magic or roleplaying at the stores. Until women make themselves known why would WotC ever market to them? Bring some male friends or female friends as backup and tell the jerks to shut up and you are going to play wherever you want. Last point I would like to make is this, if this blog is to promote feminism why not take some of the proceeds you get from patrons to help women in Saudi Arabia? I realize you may not have much and you have a child to take care of but that would make me feel like you really care about the movement and you are actually accomplishing something with what you write. This is a massive derail and you might delete it…that is fine. I am sure you will flame me for poor grammar blah blah blah. I just get mad when I feel like women are getting slut shamed.

      Your Friend,

      Captain Planet

      • Hi there! As you’ll see, I’m quite happy to not delete comments when they’re civil. And you’re right, this is a bit of a derail, but I’ll go with it long enough to say the following.

        1) By my old series about GenCon, I’m assuming you’re referring to this post here? It’s important to note that I wrote that post thinking that the women in maid outfits were booth babes employed by that game company. GenCon isn’t rife with booth babes, but they’re certainly not uncommon. There were no signs to indicate that the women working the booth were actually part of a cosplaying group. I actually addressed this specific point in a followup post (see under the heading D20 girls).

        I make it a point to NEVER slut-shame real women for the cosplay they choose to wear. But paid booth-babeing is a thing that is separate and distinct from cosplay, and while I’m not going to demonize the women who work as booth babes I’m certainly going to criticize the companies who choose to employ them. Companies that use booth babes are literally trying to sell product using women’s bodies, and saying that that is not okay is not the same thing as saying that women who work as booth babes are terrible human beings – which is something I have never said.

        1a) Complaining about sexualized depictions of women is also not the same thing as slut shaming, because in 90% of cases those sexualized depictions of women were created by men for the consumption of an assumed straight male audience. The fictional women that I deconstruct on my blog aren’t choosing to dress that way, because they don’t have agency to make that choice.

        Even so, I still won’t use the term “sluts” to refer to such women. I did use such language when I first started this blog, especially in reference to characters like Bayonetta, but have since repented of that and make a point never to use that language.

        2) I am not obligated to use my free time and money to be a token woman in the name of diversity. Why should Wizards want to make things better for women? Because I still spend money on their product, and they could get MORE money if they made any real effort to promote woman-friendly events. Filthy capitalism should push them to make sure there are events that women can feel comfortable at. But until they get their act together, there is absolutely no reason that I should be required to spend half a day feeling uncomfortable and not having fun because representation.

        3) The reason I am able to write this blog at all is because of the generous support of my patrons. If I didn’t have patron support, I wouldn’t be able to justify the amount of time spent writing blog entries, because I would be using my time to write paying projects and this blog would never have been relaunched at all. I do have a kid, and children are expensive! So instead of getting a second job slinging coffee at Tim Hortons or the like, I have this blog and it has helped cover a good portion (but by no means all) of our extra child-related expenses.

        3a) As a third wave feminist, I firmly believe that pop culture criticism is an important part of working against the patriarchy, because people are influenced by the media they consume. So me writing this blog isn’t the same thing as abandoning women in other countries.

        Also, as a white feminist, me engaging in activism to save women in Saudia Arabia from their own culture would be problematic at best and racist at worst. White feminism has a long and toxic history wrt this sort of thing and I’d rather not perpetuate that.

  5. I’ve been playing computer games, on and off, since I was about fifteen (or twelve, if you take in the first generation “Donkey-Kong” style hand-held games as being a valid form of gaming). I’m a fan of Role Playing Games, which makes me an automatic purchaser for whichever Final Fantasy update is latest when I have the cash. I’m quite capable of putting entire days at a time into playing games, to the detriment of all else, but I tend to consider this a function more of my mental illness (chronic depression) making me reluctant to deal with the Real World(TM). It isn’t the game being too damn compelling, because I tend to prefer games where putting the controller down or walking away from the keyboard isn’t going to cause everything to collapse in a heap. (I do appreciate being able to pee on occasion, after all.)

    And in this day and age, my preference for RPGs makes me a “casual” gamer, even though I’m well and truly capable of spending multiple days a week glued to the screen. Why? Because pretty much the only damn things available for consoles these days are first-person-shooters. I don’t like first-person-shooters – never have. They inevitably trigger my motion sickness, and I wind up feeling queasy after about an hour’s play. Why would I want to keep going at that point? Plus, they don’t play to my strengths, because they tend to require greater dexterity and better reflexes than I have available. Again, why would I want to play something that makes me feel stupid and useless? So I don’t play them, and my consoles these days largely sit idle while I play games on the laptop.

    But when some little neckbeard of a douchebro fake-geek nerdboi half my age tells me I’m not a “real” gamer because I’m not playing $PREFERRED_FIRST_PERSON_COMBAT_GAME, I tend to just look at them and think “I’ve been playing games since before you were first *ovulated*, sweetie. Don’t tell me I’m not a real gamer”. Then I go back to Angband.

  6. I’ve been thinking about this, and I’ve realised that to me a ‘casual gamer’ is a person who plays video games but doesn’t consider themselves a gamer. There is this meme that someone (usually a girl, obviously >.<) who plays 10 minutes of angry birds a day calls themselves a 'gamer', but in my experience that literally never happens. I don't know a single person who doesn't occasionally play video games on their computer or cell phone (for instance, my parents play a lot of the pre-installed Windows games like Minesweeper and Solitaire, and literally everybody I know who has a cell phone, whether smart phone or not, plays games like tetris, snake, etc.), yet none of them call themselves 'gamers' unless they also either have a steam account, own a console, or both.
    For me, a hobby is defined by your investment into it – almost everybody has to cook dinner at one point or another, but most people don't consider cooking their hobby because they aren't particularly invested in it. It's the same with gaming – most people play a video game now and again, but they don't consider themselves gamers.
    So, in short, everybody who identifies as a gamer, is a gamer; people who don't identify as gamers but still play video games occasionally are what I would consider 'casual gamers'.

    Now, of course there is not only the difference between casual and non-casual gamers, but also the difference between casual and non-casual GAMES. I would agree with Ian above that a casual game is easily accessible (meaning you don't need to learn lots of things before you can properly get into it and have fun, and also meaning you can play it on hardware people already have for other reasons, such as phone games and games that run on low-end computers) and can be played in relatively short sessions. I would also say that casual games are usually games that are more often played by people who are casual gamers (as defined above).
    But of course, as you say, there are many games that fall in between the two – for instance, I know a few people who own Wiis and play the fitness and party games on them, but they don't consider themselves gamers despite the fact that they invested in hardware only intended to play games.
    Like you said, it is like any spectrum, really: the games on both ends of the spectrum are relatively easy to identify as casual or not, but in the middle it gets harder and harder to make a clear differentiation, and one has to ask oneself whether at that point it is really necessary to create a divide where there actually is none.

  7. “When the only tool you have is Feminism, everything looks like a Patriarchy”

    Interesting trial to reframe the casual vs. hardcore issue as just sexism from the establishment.

    As you mention, games like Pokémon and Tetris could very well be classified as ‘casual’ but they are not, traditionally speaking. Why? A fact that is missing from your article, is that the use of ‘casual’ as a pejorative dates probably from the time of the rise of Farmville. Before Farmville (and its multiple clones), gamers had no issue with games designed to provide fun in short bursts like Dr. Mario, Tetris, etc.

    But Farmville came then, and as you say above, it was a marketing manipulation tool disguised as a game. Its primary target wasn’t the same target of games like Tetris or Dr. Mario, but people involved in Facebook and wanting to play something labeled ‘a game’. Many of the Farmville players were people that otherwise never had any desire to touch a console or PC game, not even with a 10-foot pole.

    Farmville grew exponentially, and that growth drove longtime dedicated gamers to question if that was the future of gaming. Longtime gamers abhorred the grim possibility of consoles, PCs and social networks filled with inane cow clickers, and from this abhorrence, was born the pejorative label of casual games.

    Casual games are not only games designed to provide fun in short bursts. For a game to be casual, it has to be designed and marketed specifically to a segment of the population distinct from traditional videogame players, by example, smartphone users or social network users. An additional feature of ‘casual’ games is their pervasive and unethical monetization scheme based on generating artificial frustration, and then offering a paid solution to it.

    On the other hand, hardcore games are those that provide also extreme frustration to the novice player, but in which the solution of that frustration lies in learning, sometimes slowly and painfully, the game mechanics. Yes, there is a point of sexism in it, but only in the fact that traditional judeo-christian society doesn’t teach women to have the grit to learn and master techniques or skills, and thus, hardcore games are very rarely played by women (Examples: League of Legends, in an infographic at 2012, said its population was 90% male 10% female, EVE Online, recently reported its population as 97% male).

    Thus, hardcore vs. casual is not ‘bros’ vs. women. Its people wanting enticing, challenging games vs. people conforming with being exploited. Its the fruit of the game designer, vs. the fruit of the market analyst.

    • I might agree with some of your premise if it wasn’t directly contradicted by my personal experience. I have had so many conversations with dudes who keep moving the goal posts so that they can classify me as not a “real” gamer.

      [back when I played MMOs] “Oh well you play WoW but you only play 10 hours a week and you don’t do raids, so you’re just a casual.”

      “Oh well console gamers aren’t real gamers.”

      “Oh well you only play RPGs and puzzle games.”

      Given the misogyny that is RIFE in the gaming community, I believe it absolutely isn’t an accident that the category of games that is most derided is the category that is dominated by women.

      And your claim that women don’t have the “grit” to “master techniques and skills” needed for “hardcore gaming”. I CALL BULLSHIT. The reason women account for only 10% of LoL’s population is because the LoL player base has a disgusting amount of misogynist harassers. My brother plays LoL and has shown me examples of the harassment against women that is quite common – the demands to show body parts, to provide sexual favors, the gendered insults.

      Even if you can get past that or manage to find a bubble of NOT FUCKING TERRIBLE people to play with, there’s all the casual misogyny that gets thrown around. Some women can deal with that, sure, but for most women – why would they waste their time playing a game when they always get harassed for playing? Isn’t playing games about HAVING FUN? I can personally attest that being called a fat ugly cunt is the opposite of fun.

      • I think that is not so much hatred of casual gamers, but rather some really immature douchebags trying to exclude you and other women from the “boy’s club”. If the casual epithet hadn’t become a buzzword, those idiots would just look for another word to exclude you or belittle you as “not a true gamer”.

        It’s depressing that the casual/hardcore divide just gave them more weapons though.

      • First, think from the viewpoint of an habitual WoW raider. The raider needs to associate with people that has the know-how about the different dungeons of the game, the upgrades needed to defeat them, the tactics used, the roles available. A person that doesn’t raid just don’t have that know-how, and thus its sort of a ‘ballast’ for the raider. Pretty similar to when you feminists complain about having to explain every concept of feminism to newcomers.

        I don’t get why people would deride consoles or RPGs. They are pretty hardcore to me. Puzzle games became associated with the mobile wave of gaming, that again, wasn’t the traditional target of games, so I understand why they are considered pejorative ‘casual’.

        Seems that the point about the grit got pretty personal to you, so I will reframe it in other terms…

        Many games have gameplays that are harsh, unwelcoming at the beginning, independent of the behaviour of the players involved, if they are multiplayer. Sometimes mastering the gameplay requires the combination of patience, dedication, skill, and not being disheartened by extreme failure. Usually girls are not taught to pursue those values. That doesn’t mean that there are not women hardcore gamers. There are, I can personally attest it. Until I can see the statistics on genres and games by gender, I cannot comment more on this subject.

        Also respect to the misogyny, I know the other side of the coin… Once in a MMORPG, while raiding, a contact in my list told me how he gave a high level, fully upgraded bow, to a girl in exchange of a cam show. For me it was a robbery, because I know that the time needed to get the bow and the requisites for upgrading, when translated to people-hours in any decent job, was more than enough to pay a visit to a strip club or a sex worker. Those cases were not uncommon in the early days of MMORPGs, and made many players wary of women, that could be potentially, scammers. This doesn’t justify the barrage of abuses, but at least provides an explanation for its origin.

        Maybe its time you feminists unearth chivalry back as a good value for men…

    • Funny, I thought the casual hatred started with the Wii and another of those pointless examples of the console wars, with how all of the tribal PlayStation and Xbox fans started to deride the casual gamers that the Wii attracted because they couldn’t fathom such an underpowered console beating the other consoles in sales.

      By the way, what you are describing is not hatred of casual games among the hardcore gamers. That’s called hatred of the Free-to-Play model that has come to vogue in recent years. Two different things.

      While there is a lot of overlap (many F2P games are also casual games), truth of the matter is that there are casual games that are not F2P, as well as some F2P games that can be considered hardcore games.

      It’s true that some people hate F2P games and casual games because they fear their financial success will push away the type of games they prefer, but besides the fact that those fears are as absurd as the predictions of the analysts and pundits who tout them, truth of the matter is that there is a lot of self-entitlement issues at play here. Some people just can’t accept that other people like different things than them. Some people just can’t accept that companies would release games that don’t cater directly to them.

  8. I think you have to remember these games are frequented by young immature males. Will they use slurs against women? Absolutely. Do they use slurs against other men, races etc? Absolutely. That is the nature of young immature boys. They have egos and they are quick to insult everyone, not just women. I think the reason why more women don’t play LoL goes beyond that. I get insulted while playing games all the time but I just mute the player. I am positive women would be just as good at LoL but I just can’t figure out why more of them don’t play games of that type. I propose if women would like to play LoL in a safe environment or Magic or any other male dominated event, they should set up a website where like minded people can get together and play together in groups. Also Wundergeek, after seeing some of the language you use on this website I would be shocked if someone calling you names would bother you. I am pretty sure you would just tell them to f-off and then do your best to own them. You should give yourself more credit.

    • Firstly, the stereotype of gaming being dominated by teenagers just isn’t true. The average gamer is 30. Now yes, the LoL playerbase does skew male and younger, but by and large the player base is old enough to know better.

      As for your assertion that racism and misogyny is just to be expected from young men – I don’t buy it. Racism and misogyny aren’t the default state – young men are taught these toxic behaviors by a society that constrains acceptable masculine behavior to a very narrow range. People always accuse feminists of hating men, but exactly the opposite is true. Feminism believes that men aren’t grunting animals incapable of empathy or self-control and that they can do better. It’s patriarchy that perpetuates toxic ideals of masculinity, ideals that feminism is trying to tear down.

      And while I’m not too bothered by occasional douchebros commenting here on my blog, that doesn’t mean I want to subject myself to a space where I can’t escape that bullshit. I don’t need to prove anything to anybody, and there are lots of fun games out there where I don’t have to put up with that nonsense.

Comments are closed.