Let's get this out of the way right now: The only reason I don't have more game consoles hooked to my TV is because I'm out of ports on the back for cables to plug into, and I don't want to have to get off the sofa to switch over. I've been playing video games since the Carter administration. So do not compare me to Roger "I never play video games yet dismiss them as worthless" Ebert here. Just... don't. I would have taken my SNES as my date to senior prom if they had let me.
But the thing is, I grew up. Gaming didn't.
Why? Why is it that of all my many hobbies--reading, motocross, Gun Kata--only gaming lowers my sense of self worth? Maybe it's because...
5We Can't Shake the "Lonely, Anti-Social Virgin" Stereotype
Oh, look. Somebody has launched a goddamned service where you pay women to play video games with you. Eight bucks for 10 minutes.
Creepily ogling girls should be free, like air. Or porn.
For that amount, she'll chat with you, or even let you look at her on webcam while you play games and awkwardly flirt. Afterward you get to rate the girl on her, "hotness, gaming skill, and flirtiness."
On the scale of awkward social interactions, I'm going to guess these sessions rank right up there with a men's room conversation with a stranger at the very next urinal, while the stranger is pooping in it. There isn't an industrial disinfectant on the market that could make a woman feel clean again after a day of doing this. So, here's what I can't wrap my mind around:
Everybody plays video games now, right? My mom plays them. Yet, there is still a "if you have touched a video game controller, you have never touched a boob" stigma attached. It's so universally believed that somebody put up a whole lot of capital to start a business cashing in on it. And damn, do us gamers ever play the part. Get us on chat or an Xbox Live headset with a female and suddenly we're drunk on puberty juices.
Here's something I bet you didn't know: Two thirds of online gamers are women, according to one study. If you're thinking that doesn't match your experience at all, it's because they either avoid male-dominated games or they go undercover--70 percent of them intentionally choose male avatars so they don't have to put up with our "TITS OR GTFO" bullshit. That's just sad.
"But wait!" you say, "Everybody takes shit in online games! It's not just women!" Oh, I know. Our inability as a community to demonstrate any kind of human social skills extends in all directions.
Somehow that doesn't make me feel better.
I spent years putting up with the "gamers are pale loners crouched in the dark among Mountain Dew bottles and pizza boxes" stereotype--one that persists right up to the main character in Zombieland. Now that's transitioned to "gamers are all 17-year-old douchebags." That's not an improvement.
Of course, one problem is...