Author: Reeya Patel
As a middle child, I was always interested in hanging out with my sister and playing with Barbies and Bratz. However, I was also in awe of how cool my older brother was. Anytime I hung out with him, he would let me use his PlayStation and we would play many different games; WWF, Rugrats, Spyro, and countless others. As I got older, my interest in gaming grew and I stayed on top of the latest game releases. The one thing that kept me from pushing forward with gaming was that almost everyone I knew would say, “you can’t play games, you’re a girl.” Over time I became affected by the words, so when I did play, I made sure to play games which appealed more to my sister. I remember playing a Bratz game on my Gameboy and hating it but continued to play because it was still a game. Ignoring what others had to say about my interest in games allowed me to listen to my self and push for my own happiness.
After coming to college, I realized it does not matter that I love to play games. I always had a brother who would support me and point out games I would enjoy. Gaming has always been a way to create time for myself and explore an interest which most Indian girls generally do not have. College really changed my perspective on gaming because I met friends who love playing games as much as me. Meeting these friends really helped me love a part of myself I had kept hidden from others. Connecting with people who share similar interests can be a confidence-booster because you find a community to interact and share gaming experiences with. Playing games allows me to think about moments in my own life where I have felt content because of the freedom to explore an interest. Gaming is also an outlet to de-stress. School and work take up most of my time, and there are days when all I want to do is go home and play games for an hour or two.
Almost 50% of the adult population plays videogames and when I meet someone who shares similar interest as me, there is a deeper connection made. From personal experience, meeting other women of color who are avid gamers has really kept me motivated to continue playing games because gaming should not be attached to dominant gender or sex identities. Games also provide for people who are quieter in group settings to become more involved and feel included. Consoles like the Nintendo Switch have party games and I have been in spaces where even the quietest people have the most serious, here to win attitude while playing party games.
Gaming has been an important aspect in my life especially because of the awareness of self-love and self-growth. Excessive gaming can become harmful to a person’s life, but when played in limits, it is a good way to relieve stress and connect with people.