Op-Ed

Op-Ed
Miss Video Game

Russ Pitts | 10 Nov 2006 14:55
Op-Ed - RSS 2.0

imageTatiana is a gamer. She plays videogames less than three hours per week - mainly Tetris and Snake on her cell phone. Her major life goal is to finish school and she feels that the perception of girl gamers is currently spot-on. She's 23 years old and lives in Germany. She also, as you can see for yourself, has an enormous rack.

Tatiana is a contestant for Miss Video Game, a web-based popularity contest which aims to "assist in the proliferation of females in gaming genres of all types and to help raise awareness of the female gaming audience among game publishers and advertisers. To make the gaming industry take women gamers seriously and to treat them with respect as equals." Emphasis mine.

Browsing through the list of MVG contestants is a vicarious thrill not unlike spending a few hours on Myspace or one of a dozen online dating sites. The pictures themselves are often quite alluring, and even those contestants without Tatiana's considerable assets provide one a look at a side of feminine gaming that's been sadly lacking in the high-gloss, ad-sponsored portrayals of late. Do we need an online photo gallery to reassure us that most girl gamers don't look like Frag Dolls or share Morgan Webb's taste in clothes (of lack thereof)? Of course not, but it's nice to see a little reality once-in-awhile. If only to be reassured that it's still there.

Take Becky for example. We can't see much of her face from her photo, but her enthusiasm is apparent (as is her awesome red hair). Raquel "mostly an RPG girl" is likewise obscured, but clad in Link-eque green complete with ears, she offers a fairly clear picture of herself nonetheless. And then there's Jenny, a fan of Mike Tyson's Punch Out who's "I HEART LESS THAN THREE GEEKS" T-shirt made me fall in love at first sight.

These contestants and many others like them, show gamer girls as they really are, not as how we think they should be. What then to make of entrants like Tatiana, who would fail to meet even the most lenient requirements for being called a gamer by anyone not trying to sell you something? According to the MVG website, there will be a period of online voting, after which four finalists will be flown to Montreal for the final judging (you can apply to be a judge by showing up with chicks), but just who will do the judging, and what standards will be applied is still a bit nebulous.

My advice to Miss Video Game wannabes: Brush up on the "world peace" speech and try very hard to find a flattering bathing suit. I don't think they're going for brains here, but one can always hope.

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