Another break for reflection. "Is that bad?"
I don't know what to say. Certainly the game snob hidden somewhere in me can sympathize with her. I imagine I get just as irritated when people think they're a hot commodity because they totally played Street Fighter 2, back in the day, and thought Blanka was just so cool because he, like, bit people's heads and stuff. But I have also experienced the opposite. That is, the gamer who insists that he (or she!) is better than me because he just had to have a perfect Final Fantasy VIII save file. No, Rachel, I don't think it's bad. Just, well, human, I guess.
But the moment passes, and she resumes chatting as if the topic had never been broached in the first place. From here she begins talking about another girl gamer anxiety of hers: "I should have said something smarter to [the writer and illustrator of popular web comic Penny Arcade] Tycho and Gabe when I saw them at E3. Instead I was just like, 'Thank you for everything,' and I was so overwhelmed, it was ridiculous. I felt like such an idiot. I felt like I should have said something intelligent so they didn't think I was just getting it for my boyfriend or something. That's what I'm always afraid of, you know, that someone's going to be like 'Oh, you're just getting that for your brother, or your boyfriend, or something.'"
And here, I think, something clicks: something from what she said, and something from what I thought. I begin to feel a little bit ashamed. Why is it that I, who spend more time writing about gamers than actually gaming these days, am granted the presumption that I can take games seriously, but Rachel, whose apartment is saturated in Castlevania posters and assorted RPG soundtracks, is forever stuck with Bratz games and buying presents for her brothers or her boyfriends? How many men and women and boys and girls have innocently and unthinkingly passed her up as another know-nothing gaming ditz?
How many times have I done that?
The rest of the evening is fairly uneventful. We pick up the tab, get our parking validated and head back to our homes and loved ones after a brief session of Pop'N Music 11. She has nothing more to say. Aside from a few brief comments about designing costumes (her other primary hobby), traveling and school, the conversation is fairly brief. I'm glad she's gotten a chance to tell it like she sees it. But I do believe I am long overdue for my own "Confessions" at some point. If Rachel's stories ring true to anyone else, perhaps a good many of us are.
Pat Miller has been doing this for way too long.