May 18th, 2009

Games that let you play as a girl

Sometimes I get annoyed when I am playing a game, particularly a RPG style game (hello, Two Worlds?) and I can’t play the main character as a chick. And more often than not, when I am forced to play as a guy, the gaming companies seem to think all I want to see is barely dressed bodice-busting female characters thrusting themselves at me. Okay, if I am a guy, I could see how that would be appealing. But as a chick, I would rather have barely dressed hot male character thrusting themselves on me!

Now, there are definitely some games that are definitely girl based, such as Lara Croft in the Tomb Raider series or playing as Princess Peach in one of the many Super Mario games. But what about if you are a gun-toting terrorist hunter or trying to save an old empire from corruption of evil? When it comes down to it, most games make you play as a male, since there is still the abundance of false perception that girls are only interested in playing Barbie Horse Adventures or Tetris.

Then there are the games like Lara Croft, Tomb Raider. Yes, you can play as a girl, but her FFF cleavage was clearly designed with the male gamer in mind, especially since Lara spends most of her game time practically falling out of her barely-there black latex outfits.

The unfortunate thing is not very many male-centric type games allow me to play as a chick, especially a chick that appeals to a true girl gamer who isn’t just interested in T&A. So to satisfy the inner male-ogling girl in me, here are some recent games that allow me to play as a female instead of a male, without going over the top for the guy’s gaming dollar.

This was the first game I picked up for the Xbox 360 when I decided to retire my trusty original Xbox console. And not only did I get to play as a female, but I even got to customize the look, so I could make my character as hot or not as I wanted. And even though it is a medieval style game where most games try to get away with chicks wearing little more than an elastic band, this one actually features a ton of conservative clothing for my character.

Rainbow Six Vegas 2
While the original Rainbow Vegas allowed me to do multiplayer as a girl, the sequel allowed me to also do the campaign as a female lead. I admit, since this was my 6th Rainbow Six game, I found it a little weird to suddenly be playing as a female. And in multiplayer, there is nothing like playing a female with a little bitty pink or purple tank top… and if you look closely, the girls even have nipples, but without gratuitous cleavage.

Mass Effect
If you didn’t hear the whole girl-on-girl sex scene controversy last year (started by a bunch of people who not only never played the game but started spouting off “facts” about what you’d think was a constant orgy of in-game sex), not only can you play this game as a girl, but you can also have, um, relations with either a guy or a girl. And while you are wearing a skin tight body suit, again, your girls aren’t trying to bust out of the top!

Fable II
Sparrow is a character you can make as either male or female. And later in the game, if you are female you can even become pregnant if you practice unsafe sex. And it is worth noting that if you play a female character, doesn’t mean you can only have sex with a male, chicks are up for grabs too! And one quest has you playing matchmaker for two male characters who inevitably fall in love. The wardrobe options are limited, although fairly decent, so you can sex your character up with a corset or cover it all up with high necked shirts and jackets.

Saints Row 2
A change from the previous Saints Row game, this one allows you to choose a female character when you start the game. You’ve probably heard about the naked girls streaking in the game, well, Saints Row 2 is equal opportunity, because you can make the guys streak naked too… but all the important bits are blurred for both sexes. And if you are into male eye candy, it is pretty funny to make a male character wearing nothing but tightie-whities.

Fallout 3
The recently released Fallout 3 allows you to be a guy or a girl as you traverse through a post-nuclear blast world. There is even a Black Widow perk which allows females to inflict extra damage on male characters. You go girl!

If slaying vampires is your thing, the two Bloodrayne games feature the ultimate female vampire slayer. Unfortunately, it also features over-the-top amounts of cleavage. So I probably shouldn’t be surprised the character was featured topless in Playboy, which also mentions her oh-so-realistic measurements of 34-22-36! But while she does ooze sex, she is also one serious hardcore chick. But sometimes I think she needs to leave a little something to the imagination.

World of Warcraft
Again, another game that allows you full-on customization of your character, whether male or female. And if you do a Google search, there are a ton of galleries devoted to the women of Warcraft, showcasing all their, um, assets.

MetroidEven though this original game is over 20 years old now, this game is worth an honorable mention (and it is downloadable on the Wii virtual console as well as in sequels). This game tricked many a male gamer who thought they were playing a guy cyborg, right up until the end of the game when it was suddenly revealed that Samus Aran was actually female.

So next time you hit your local gaming store, think about the games that allow you to be a chick, as well as flaunt it if you want. Which raises the question… what are some of your favorite girl-centric characters you can play in games?

January 6th, 2009

25 signs you are a video game overachiever!

Can you name your gamerscore? Check. Do you know where you were when you heard that the Halo3 trailer was finally released? Check. Do you have Twitter just so you can get MajorNelson’s tweets? Check. To see if you are a true Gaming Angel and video game overachiever… see just how many of these you can check!

1. You have taken a day off work to coincide with the launch day of a game.
2. You have stood in line for a midnight game release.
3. You have called in sick to play instead.
4. You have taken your Xbox, PS3 or desktop computer on vacation with you.
5. You have spent more than 10,000 XBL points.
6. Your gamerscore is 10,000 or higher.
7. You have attended MLG, E3, or any other video game event.
8. You have turned down sex to game, or have seriously pondered if you could do both at the same time!
9. You have stayed up gaming for 24 straight hours.
10. Someone has tried to talk to you about your “addiction”.
11. Your Halloween costume is a video game character.
12. Your tattoo is a video game character.
13. You named your console.
14. You have pondered what it would be like if the game was about Mistress Chief instead of Master Chief.
15. Not only do you own all the current gaming consoles, but you also kept all your old consoles dating back to your original Nintendo. (And bonus points if you still have your Atari or Intellivision!)
16. You own one of those rare girly-sized shirts with a video game logo on the front, and wear it at least once a week.
17. You have had a dream where you have imagined yourself inside a video game world.
18. You have convinced at least one of your non-gaming real-life friends to buy a console to get on and game with you.
19. You can name the launch dates of at least 10 games you bought but can’t remember your girlfriend/boyfriend/husband/wife’s birthday.
20. You have gotten carpel tunnel, and instead of taking a break, have gritted your teeth and played through the pain.
21. You count the time since you last turned on your console in minutes.
22. You check from work or your Blackberry, just to see if you have any messages and who is playing what.
23. You have more friends on your Friends List than real life friends in your cell phone.
24. You met your wife/husband-to-be in a game… and bonus points if you plan to have a virtual ceremony as well, so your gaming friends can watch your avatars get married too (yes, it’s been done!)
25. You name your first-born after a video game character (also been done!)

I originally published this as a guest author on Gaming Angels, but the sight seems to have gone AWOL.

November 13th, 2008

Ten ways of keeping fit while you game

You have probably heard all the crazy statistics about how too much television watching and video game playing are making people fat. Well, if you aren’t so keen on giving up the video games – and let’s face it, not many of us girls are anxious to do that – here are some ways you can combine exercise with some gaming – and most of them don’t even require that you put that controller or mouse down!

Pilates ring
Get one of those pilates rings and if you are playing a FPS, make yourself workout your legs by squeezing the ring between your knees or calves while you are waiting to respawn… and it just might make you game extra harder so you don’t have to torture your legs as much!

Have a ball
Get one of those huge exercise balls you can sit on, and then sit on it instead of your chair while you game. Although it might seem like it would be easy enough, you will actually sit up straighter and tone those abs while it keeps your balance.

Squeeze your butt
Butt squeezes are easy to do at any time, whether you are in the middle of a game or waiting in the lobby. The more you do, the better the butt.

Stretch your legs
Sounds simple enough but most of us don’t do it. Simply stretch your legs out and roll your ankles around a bit. And if you are feeling up to the task, do as many leg lifts as you can after you finish stretching.

Take advantage of map changes
Are you waiting for a new map or song to load? Are you already terminated in an elimination match? Use that time to pretend you are jumping rope or just even run in the spot. Even though you might only get 30 seconds in (or up to a few minutes, depending on the game), every second counts and it helps keep you motivated to do it again the next time. But if you think you might do some heavy breathing as you exert yourself, mute your mic so you don’t get any of the inevitable Darth Vader comments… just don’t forget to un-mute yourself!

Avoid gaming at mealtime
How often have you sat down at your console or computer with your dinner to eat? Probably most of us have at least once, if not regularly! Well, you will probably be surprised to know that people who are distracted by computers and televisions tend to eat much more than those who aren’t. So resist the temptation of that extra 5 or 10 minutes of gaming and eat your dinner away from the game.

Avoid the snacks
I know, easier said than done, especially when you end up skipping dinner because you would rather use the time to game. But seriously try to make yourself drink an entire glass of water (no, not one of those little skimpy glasses but a real large glass!) before you can snack. Or make yourself eat a healthier snack over something that is not quite as healthy… or at the very least, eat some healthy stuff before indulging in the junk food so more of you fills up on what is healthy and low calorie before you start eating the pretzels or Doritos.

Be creative.
The guys at Mana Potions figured out how to hook up their treadmills to their computer so they could actually do all the running their characters do in the game as they raced from Shadowglen to Darnassus. And yes, they tell you how they did it incase you want to get your workout by making your own character run. WOW not your thing? I am sure someone creative could figure out something similar for Oblivion or just about any other RPG.

Exercise & gaming combined
You knew this tip was coming… Use a Wii Fit! You have to admit, what is better than combining working out AND gaming and some of the games are pretty fun, even if it sometimes does feel like the game is kicking your butt!

Dance it off
Find using a Wii Fit too boring or you are Xbox or PS loyal? Kick it up with one of the various Dance Dance Revolution games to give your legs a workout… and think of all those Xbox gamer points you could get as you do it on Xbox.

Do you have another tip for keeping fit while you are gaming? Be sure to share it in the comments below!

November 13th, 2008

So do you have something better to do than gaming?

My article published on the website on August 28, 2008

So do you have something better to do than gaming? Sometimes it amazes me the crap that comes out of some gaming company’s mouths when it comes to women and gaming. While some companies are more forward thinking about women and games, such as Ubisoft, others are clearly in the dark ages of gaming, such as THQ Wireless. Yes, I am sure most of us know the industry is still pretty male dominated, but James Scalpello, the wireless director for THQ Wireless, brings the perception of girl gamers to an all new low. When I sit down to game, I make a conscious decision that yes, I am going to sit down and turn on my Xbox and play. And yes, I could be doing plenty of other things with my time such as going out with friends, getting some extra work in, doing laundry, and about a million other things on my internal ‘to do’ list that I just never seem to have time for. But according to Scalpello, it would seem that girls have better things to do than game.

When girls play console games, they have to have gone through a whole other list of things they could have done before sitting down with them. Guys get home, have dinner, and play a computer game. It’s much higher up the list of priorities. To put it bluntly, girls have got better things to do.”

Hmmm…. like make that guy his dinner perhaps, so he can use his time to game? Because apparently women have priorities, and gaming clearly isn’t one of them. Interestingly enough, Scalpello must have gotten some heat for his comments, because not too long after his interview was published online by, the quotes were removed. But a few very stereotypical comments were left, such as ‘I don’t think there’s ever been a successful game really pinpointed just for girls. I guess that Cooking Mama and all those Disney Princess and Barbie games must have just been dismal failures, despite the fact new titles in those series are being released. And the Hannah Montana and High School Musical Wii games must have definitely been made with a college-aged guy gamer in mind!

But it no doubt brings up another fact that Scalpello is also clearly missing the fact that girl gamers don’t really want a game with rainbows and unicorns… well, unless it happens to be Rainbow Vegas, that is. Because despite the lower number of female-centric games on the market, you have to wonder just what percentage of ‘guy games’ are actually being bought and played by girls. Yes, I admit to owning some ‘girl games’ if they could be called that, such as Tetris and Viva Pinata. But the number of guy gamers I know who own and play those games still outnumber the girls.

So how do we go about changing the perception that girls would rather cook and clean than turn on a console? Well, for starters, I won’t be very eager to purchase a game from THQ Wireless. But more importantly is to be vocal about the fact you are a girl gamer and proud to be one. Whether you buy a pink Xbox controller, wear your PMS t-shirt outside of gaming events, or even just proudly tell the game store employee that you are buying the game for yourself when he asks if you are buying that FPS for your boyfriend/husband. While we might not be able to change the dark age perceptions of some people, every little bit you can do helps.

January 13th, 2008

Why you shouldn’t be embarrassed to be a girl gamer

When was the last time you told someone who doesn’t play that you are a girl gamer and you compete online at games that include you brandishing a gun as you annihilate the other team? And what kind of reaction did you get? If it is anything like me, it probably involved a puzzled look of “you do what?” or the raised eyebrow look of “you do… that?” So why is it that people are so incredulous about the fact that you are a girl who happens to get off on playing video games?

I don’t think there is such a thing as a “stereotypical girl gamer” at all, even though I have been told countless times that I just don’t fit the model of what they imagined a girl gamer to be. In fact, most of the non-H2O gaming guys that I meet in random games are just so shocked that there is a girl in the room racking up the kills and completely dominating the other team that they can’t quite believe it’s a chick doing it. And speaking of stereotypes, many people probably have a “stereotypical guy gamer” image in mind, and you guessed it, many of them don’t fit the bill either.

Random rooms
Speak up ladies! Yes, I have jumped into random rooms where I get some little kid who likes to show off to his little twelve year old friends that he can actually trash talk, but generally their insults are something my brother would have said when he was about twelve, so just mute those players if you are otherwise having fun in the room. So don’t be shy, speak up! I have met more great guys by jumping in random rooms than I ever would have met playing exclusively with PMS and H20. Next time you get on to play and you don’t have practice, just jump into a random open room and check it out – you can always leave after a round or two and go try out another one if the first one isn’t to your liking. I am most often more annoyed by hearing the squeaky pre-pubescent voices than I am by anything that actually comes out of them!

Use your voice
There are definitely girl gamers who can curse with the best of them when they are in an all-girl PMS private room playing their game. But put them in an open room, and many just clamp their mouth’s shut or mute themselves. And I know some girls who refuse to join any room that random people can join. But seriously, while there will be those little kids who are just so incredulous that a chick actually joined the room that they can’t help but trash talk. But why is this? Seriously, it is nothing to do with the fact that you are a girl gamer, it is simply the anonymous nature of playing on Xbox and those kids suddenly see it as a free pass to say to you what they couldn’t say to the girls that diss them in real life. So report them to Xbox Live or ban them from the server and use that girly voice you have with pride.

Don’t let them assume you play girlie games
When I tell people I play video games, I get plenty of raised eyebrows – or worse – from people. And this is just while they have visions of Tetris or WiiFit in their heads and I haven’t even gotten the chance to reveal that my game of choice is Rainbow Vegas, where I play a terrorist hunting special ops guy, er, girl. Is it because I don’t fit the “stereotypical” girl gamer, if there is such a thing? Is it because my friends and family just don’t think that I would be the kind of person to don an Xbox live headset and play in open rooms with strange men (or more likely, boys) and shoot their brains out in a game? Who knows, but I am proud to reveal my games of choice and don’t let them assume I am only playing girlie puzzle games or running around with piñatas.

So why is being a girl gamer such a big deal to some people? In my experience, it comes down to just two things. It is either because they are intimidated or incredulous… or a mixture of both. Yes, I am a girl and I love to play video games – and I am proud to be a girl gamer.