Boys are better than girls when it comes to video games, right?

The idea of females playing and enjoying video games as much as their male counterparts is almost seen as taboo. Some girls don’t even mention the fact that they like to play video games in their downtime because it’s seen as more of a “guy’s hobby.”

Raven Gibson, a student at Tyler Junior College, is among the female population of “gamers.” Gibson has found that revealing that she plays video games in her spare time has opened doors to friendships that might not have been opened otherwise.

Gibson said that one of the greatest things about gaming is being able to take the in-game friends that you meet, and turn them in to “real life” friendships. She has met students who are willing to help her out with some of her classes, simply because they share the same love for gaming. Gibson said that gaming is an “automatic ice-breaker,” and that it can connect you to people who have the same interests.

TJC student Nikki Craig shares Gibson’s love for video games. Craig is such a fan of games that she is enrolled in the gaming classes offered at TJC. Craig enjoys playing video games because she can be just who she wants to be in a video game, and it gives the gamer an escape from reality for a while.

Craig is able to socialize with others who share her interests when she plays video games, both online and when she plays on a game console. Gibson enjoys the fantasy aspect of video games, also.

“There are so many stressful events during the day. You don’t get that many do-overs in real life,” Gibson said. Gibson and Craig also mentioned that playing video games is about teamwork. Craig said that when she plays video games, it’s about being part of something bigger than herself; it’s a total team effort when she plays video games online with other people. Gibson agreed about “gaming” with other people.

“It’s teamwork. It can strengthen bonds or break them,” she said.

Another TJC student, Annie Angel, is also enrolled in the gaming program. Angel, however, enjoys the nonsocial aspect of video games. Angel prefers to play video games alone and sees them as a good way to waste time or to keep from being bored.

Gigi Delk, the instructor of Gaming Development Essentials at TJC, said that six or seven girls started out in her gaming program last year. Only three of the original group of females has stayed in the program, but there is a new group of females who have joined her class this year. Delk said that the skepticism of a “girl gamer” is just about perception.

“Girl gamers are a surprise,” Delk said.

Perhaps that’s because video games were not always “girl-friendly.”Delk said that initially most video games were written by males, and they produced more male-oriented games. Some games that appear to be particularly appealing to girls include Guitar Hero, Rock Band, World of Warcraft, Halo, and even Scarface.

The fact that video games aren’t just strictly offered for TV-based consoles is also a plus. A lot of female gamers have found that online gaming is just as entertaining, and it’s easier for them to play with the “boys” since they can choose their own avatar.

The reasons females play video games are about as diverse as the types of video games offered. Whether females are playing for pure socialization reasons, to escape from reality, or to keep themselves occupied in their downtime, the common ground is that they are all playing video games and knocking down the sign that says, “No girls allowed.”

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