I like computer games.
You heard me.
I loved them when I was a kid, though I never got into WoW or Diablo, anything particularly involved like that because violence makes me sick and the story-lines are often scary. Then puberty hit, and it became clear to me that playing computer games would not increase my terribly limited sex appeal.
Here’s how it went, in chronological order:
1. No one had boobs, we played The Sims at sleepovers, life was good.
2. Some girls started to get boobs, we still played Simcity at sleepovers, life was good.
3. Started to get boobs. Was terribly excited.
4. Stopped getting boobs. Kept hoping they would continue to grow, was constantly disappointed.
5. Stopped playing computer games.
6. Became a babe.
7. Became engaged.
8. Realized I could safely play computer games again.
9. Play The Sims 3 at sleepovers, and life is good once more.
The Sims 3 is coming out with a new expansion pack in thirteen days (not that anyone is counting) called Supernatural. It is going to be hella-cool because there will be FAIRIES.
FINALLY. I have been looking for custom content and mods to create my own fairies FOR LITERALLY MONTHS. With limited success. I did figure out how to make my sims naked, but they don’t have any genitals, so it’s a bit creepy in a moving Barbie kind of way. But now… now… they’ll have wings! And little fairy dresses! And I will dance around while they do their little simmy fairy thing!
Here’s what gets my goat about the whole situation, though:
Other than the forums on the sims 3 community website (full of true-hearted fans of many different ages and genders, I assume), gamers are making fun of the sims 3 players, especially those excited about this expansion pack. Why?
Because it’s girly.
Yeah. Seriously. These dudes who spend $15/month just to access WoW online, plus the special headphones that are made specifically for WoW, plus the fancy computer that can actually play it, plus the high speed internet connection to support it, plus the therapy for their siblings, wives, children, and other dependents… These people are making fun of the fact that this expansion will cost players 40$. One commenter commented that ‘only stupid teenage girls would pay that much because they don’t know any better’.
They’re saying how ridiculous it is that The Sims 3 is ‘trying to expand their fan-base’ by ‘imitating Twilight and True Blood’, among other things (because there are vampires and werewolves in this expansion pack, too).
Now, I’m not a computer-game-player-demographics expert, but I can only assume that the humans towards whom this fan-base is being expanded – by capitalizing on the prominence of supernatural characters in popular culture – is the same audience to whom that particular brand of popular culture is intended; namely, young and sexually active/curious women.
Young Adult (aka young lady) Fiction is basically synonymous with Paranormal (a fancy industry word for Fantastical Characters) Fiction. And there is almost always romance, and sex (even if it is very delicately described). There are fairies, witches, angels, ghosts, werewolves, magically-enhanced gypsies, psychics, mermaids, vampires, demons, part-animal folks, and many more besides that are new and beguiling. These books have, just as in much of the Sims 3 gameplay, nuanced emotional relationships between characters, usually centred around a romantic sub-plot.
And guess what, WoW snob? This shit sells. It is legitimate. It fulfills a need; namely, the subjectivity of female sexuality and sovereignty. I mean, there’s a reason that so much of this is written in first person narrative. Readers want to experience it. First hand. We can’t have that in the real world, so we have fantastical situations in which it does occur. Granted, there are a dismaying number of these Young Adult Paranormal Romance books in which the young, sexually active / curious female protagonists are sort of useless and rely on paranormally inclined dudes to do everything for them. The others often fall into the “I am vicious and violent to bad guys but still supa sexay” camp, which frankly isn’t any better or more empowering.
But still. It’s something. It’s a place to encounter and enjoy active female gaze. It’s like a club, and guess what? You’re not invited. For once, this isn’t about you, dude. It’s about me making a fairy, and girls reading about other girls engaging in fantasy-sex, while still being fully developed humans, not just sex-objects.
The point of this rant is, don’t hate on a computer game that gives these ladies – me and my compatriots – what we want. I want to play an emotion-and-relationship-oriented game. I want to play it as a fairy. I want to have my fairy and her friends dress in neat things and have great hair and go on wild adventures. I want control, and I want to express my creativity in a space that is intrinsically sexy, insofar as it is private and my little fairy-sim will be able to get busy in something like 15 different locations with partners of her (my) choice. She’ll also be able to do so in full safety: there is no rape or murder in this game, unlike your sick and twisted, ultra masculine computer games that definitely do not target, or even try to accommodate, young women like me. Those tropes of woman-hating and rape-culture and graphic violence are not welcome here.
I’m not a stupid teenaged girl. I work (not hard, but still work) for my money. And I will happily spend 40$ on this brilliant expansion pack because it will give me something that I truly desire.
So screw you, mean internet commenters!