Growing up I didn’t have a lot of exposure to video games. My cousin had an NES, SNES, N64, various GameBoys and every version of the Playstation and Xbox. So I got to mess around on those when I stayed at his house but I didn’t have the time to develop any real skills. My mother was a firm member of the “Video Games Create Bad People” camp. It annoyed her to no end that I played them when I went to my cousin’s house but I didn’t care and played them anyway. In my sophomore year of high school my mom bought a raffle ticket to support my school’s sports program. She ended up winning the second prize, which just happened to be an original Xbox. I thought I’d hit the jackpot. Of course, my mom had rules, I could only play for a certain amount of time a day and I couldn’t even think about touching it until I’d done my homework. And then only if she wasn’t playing Roller Coaster Tycoon…or The Sims.
That was the only year I received video games as presents. For Christmas I got Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb and Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. I thought I was the coolest kid ever. I got pretty good at the LOTR game, one of my other cousins and I sat down and played through the whole co-op campaign in about 8 hours. We had a blast, but he kept bitching because I refused to be anyone but Aragorn, when he was a character choice. I was an evil older cousin. Funnily enough, I never actually beat my Indiana Jones game, at least not for another 5 years after I got it.
Fast forward to 2008, I’m newly married to my wonderful husband Mr. Doc who is a lifetime gamer. And by lifetime I mean, started playing Mario at age 2. The man knows his way around a game system and has owned every major gaming system sold in the US. I’ve watched him beat Super Mario Bros. 2 in under 30 minutes. THE ENTIRE GAME. I’ve watched him run through Super Mario World in under an hour. When Xbox Live first came out he was ranked in the top 20 in the world on the Halo 2 leaderboards. The first time we went to a midnight release for a video game was when Fallout 3 came out and I was still learning my way around video games so I just sort of sat back and observed. It was fascinating the way a video game could bring so many different types of people together. But inevitably there was always the one guy who tried to prove that I had no idea what I was talking about.
Being a girl who sells video games is a lot like being a girl who sells guns. Which basically means, that 85% of the people, and I do include some women in that number as well, come to you believing that you have no idea what you’re talking about. When I sold guns, it was the Bubbas in their overalls or camo who would come up to counter and eyeball me with a look that said, “What the f*** is a little girl doing behind a gun counter?! Like she knows what’s she talking about?” Working at GameStop I get those same looks, only now they come from kids young enough that I could be their mother and guys old enough to be my father. The other day a man came in with his son looking for a particular game. I looked it up in our system and it showed that we had no copies and it had been discontinued. I informed the customer of this, he gave me an incredulous look then turned to my Assistant Manager and said, “Sir would you concur with that?” And that is a direct quote. The ASM leaned over, looked at my screen and said, “Yep it’s been discontinued.” The man scoffed at me and left.
I don’t take it too personally because if I wasn’t knowledgeable I wouldn’t be working at a video game store. Every day I read three or four different video game news feeds and I check them multiple times. I like to know what’s going on in the video game world. Working at GameStop has been like a dream job for me, the pros greatly outweighing the few cons. The guys I work with are awesome and we have fun which always makes work more interesting. Being a girl in a predominately male environment can be hard but at the same time it’s one of my favorite places to be. So to all you girl gamers out there, you aren’t alone, and our numbers are growing daily. We are a force to be reckoned with.