Saturday, November 2, 2013

Playing In the Boys Playground: My Life as a Pro-Gamer

By Poisyn LaRue

Back in the late '80s, I was an only child. My parents did not live together. I lived with my mother, my aunt, an older (male, yes this matters) cousin and my maternal grandmother most of the time and would spend weekends with my paternal grandmother so I could spend time with my father. My weekends at my father's were what started my love of video games. He had an original Nintendo system with Duck Hunt. I'd play that for hours.

I still remember getting a Gameboy for Christmas and thinking it was the coolest thing ever. Later I got a Super Nintendo, Playstation 2, Gameboy Color and Xbox 360. For graduation, I bought myself a Nintendo DSlite. Now I'm saving up for a purple 3DS. But my console history isn't the point of this article. The point is how it FEELS to be a pro gamer who happens to have a vagina.

Most people who know me know I'm VERY passionate about my gaming. For the past seven years, I have been a pro-gamer on the Xbox 360. I started out in the PMS/H20 Clan. PMS was an all girls clan (H20 was their 'brother' clan) where a girl could (supposedly) game without harassment. I joined as a member of their Rhythm division (Rock Band 1&2 Expert Vocals/ Bassist). When the division became casual, due to lack of members, I moved on to Left4Dead 1&2. I quickly worked my way through the ranks, becoming a Practice Captain and eventually the Captain of "Team Omega", an MLG (Major League Gaming) Pro team.

 After being with the clan for nearly two years, I left due to a conflict of believes between myself and my superiors and the way things were run within the clan. After leaving the PMS/H20 clan, I was a 'free agent' on Battlefield Bad Company, Bad Company 2 and Battlefield 3. I bounced around until I was approached by a member of the eSaC (Elite Silent Assassins Clan). He had seen me play Battlefield 3 and was impressed and asked me to join him in Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. I had despised Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, but I decided to give it a shot.

Tucked what I thought was safely behind my [eSaC] add on, I began my uphill onslaught into this strange new world. Players here were different. The men (a few woman, outside of PMS), I had encountered in my previous "careers" as a gamer had always been very well spoken. Most were my age. A majority of the people I play Battlefield with were my parent's age or even older. Now I was running into nine year old boys who were up at midnight on a school night and cursed like sailors. I pretty much ignored it, pushing along and learning the ropes. I received the acolyte of "One Shot, One Kill" as a sniper (100 headshots with 100 bullets), even though I still prefer being a "run and gun" type with a LSAT or T25. I'm a Sergeant of Squad 1, Captain of the (fledgling) Female Division and the Military Liaison directly to the General. If six people (the standard squad size) with the [eSaC] enter a room, sometimes the room empties out. We're good. And we are recognized as good.
But sometimes I'm playing alone. The [eSaC] does not "protect" me then. At those times, I am just a girl in a sea of testosterone. Normally I'll mute everyone, but not before the steams of "I'm gonna rape you" or "Get back in the kitchen" start. I have had people send me messages about how they are going to find out where I live and come "put me in my place". Which according to them is either in the kitchen or on my knees. They get more mad when go positive (having a kill/death ration greater than 1). They automatically assume I have an aimbot (which assists you in aiming down the sights of a gun) or are hacking (manipulation of the game in a way to make a person harder/impossible to hit, earn scorestreaks faster, or have unlimited ammo). I've been told to "give my boyfriend back his headset" since there was no WAY a girl just head shot that guy across the map. If you can think of an insult, I have been on the receiving end of it.

I guess I could just ignore it, but why should I have to? Why is it necessary to berate me simply because I am female? On that token, how can the assume I am female. Because of my gamer tag? Because my voice is a higher octave then those around me (although I have been called a twelve year old boy who needed to 'get his tip wet' before he tried to play with the big boys. I went 24 and 0 on that round. I think I 'got my tip wet').

It is only a game, right? Well, no, it is not 'just a game'. MLG holds tournaments where hundreds of thousands (and sometimes millions) of dollars are at stake. I can understand how that would make people more competitive, but why does it have to make them downright rude? Why is it so hard for gamers to have the same standards as, say, sports players? When was the last time you went to a high school sports game and heard the players yelling at each other what they were going to do to whose mother and telling the cheerleaders to go back in the kitchen. I don't think it is something I have EVER experienced, and I went to a lot of games in high school (not truly by choice, I was in school band and on color guard). Maybe it is about time to accept that I am playing hardball with people who seem to be unable to respect me simply because I am a girl.

No. I do not think I am going to accept that. Instead I am going to keep kicking ass and taking names. I will just keep falling into lobbies and dominating all those there. I will stick with my team, working our way up the ladders of MLG until we are 'famous'. Call of Duty: Ghosts drops next week, hell yeah I am getting it. And I will kick ass at that too!

Visit the [eSaC] at (now recruiting (especially my fellow bad ass women!)

Madame Poisyn LaRue is a self-described "square peg in a round hole." She has an Associates of Science in Visual Communications and is pursuing her Associate of the Arts in Theater with a minor in Music. Although she's at home on the stage, she's just as comfortable under the hood of a Chevy, covered in oil and grease but still wearing 5" heels. You can follow the Madame on Facebook or at her website and of course, here on I Feel Delicious! 

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