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Girl Gamers: Casual vs. Hardcore

2 min read

Girl gamers

Browsing through the comments under my first girl gaming and gaming lifestyle column, one statement was repeatedly confirmed by readers. And that is how women who play video games are, on the whole, more likely to fall into the casual gaming category, as opposed to the hardcore and ultra-competitive.

We previously established that there are plenty of women – of all ages – playing everything from FarmVille to Blur; from Mario Kart to StarCraft II. These same women, however, are generally NOT discussing hardware specs on gaming forums, or ranting about Xbox LIVE fee increases at the dinner table. So we have to consider why this is the case.

You could immediately claim that women are emotionally more mature and, given their wide variety of work, social and domestic commitments, they have little time left for gaming. As a result, they’re dipping their toes into the pastime as opposed to diving in headfirst.

While overstuffed daily schedules definitely help explain the large number of casual girl gamers in comparison to hardcore gaming femmes, this first claim still involves too many gender generalisations. It can easily be viewed as insulting by guys and girls alike.

Personally I think that gaming is no different from other popular pastimes and interests. There will always be a split between casual dabblers and passionate enthusiasts. It’s the difference between someone who watches their provincial rugby team on TV every weekend, beer in hand, and someone who owns first tier season tickets for the stadium – and can name every top annual try scorer since 1983.

I enjoy gaming but my first love is film, and I experience much the same thing. It’s very difficult to discuss last year’s Oscar nominees with someone whose only 2010 cinema visits have been Step Up 3D and the latest Leon Schuster movie. As a passionate fan it’s very easy to grow frustrated, and look down on the less “dedicated”.

Which returns us to the topic of casual girl gamers…

Time and time again, you hear guys complaining that their partner, or another female acquaintance, is “ONLY a casual gamer.” The reality is that if you are made to feel inferior – if you are dismissed for not being passionate enough about an interest – chances are that you will never want to progress to a more hardcore level of involvement. I suspect many a woman has been put off a deeper exploration of gaming by fears that she will be surrounded by arrogant assholes, whose Achievement obsession will leech away all pleasure she previously received from the pastime.

It’s easy to forget that everyone – female and male – starts as a casual gamer. At this stage they should be encouraged and affirmed. This is especially true for those women sensitive about their interest in a “boys’ activity”. They need to be, and feel, accepted. After all, they’re still playing games, even if it’s not your current favourite shooter.

And frankly, in the end, someone who appreciates your gaming passion – even if they don’t pursue it with the same intensity – is still vastly preferable to a partner who rolls her eyes, or is downright antagonistic about it. Consider that alternative for a moment.

Last Updated: September 16, 2010


  1. spl0it

    September 16, 2010 at 12:38

    Nice Read. The header image makes me miss my N64


  2. Nicole

    September 16, 2010 at 12:51

    This post was spot on. I don’t always have the time to catch up on what’s new in the gaming world. I’m an avid reader, movie and series watcher, blogger and baker. In between all that I have a day job. When I do make the time, I come and go quietly so as not to become subject to scorn and ridicule.

    I’m not the girl that throws a tantrum when friends decide they’d rather play games instead of “chat” – hell, I’ll give you a run for your money. But I’m also not the girl that knows everything about everything in the gaming world ever.

    And I’m okay with that. 😀


  3. Field Marshal JR Lenoir

    September 16, 2010 at 13:05

    I’ve never really understood the desire of gamers to lump themselves as either casual or hardcore. The real distinction is ultimately (a) a gamer who likes games and (b) a gamer who’s obsessed to the point of stabbing a fellow gamer in the chest with a knife, but I digress. I’ve never considered myself “hardcore”, even though I have owned practically every gaming system of the last 15 years. I could arguably pay off my student loan with all my games (and like most gamers my collection is embarrassingly huge), but the casual moniker has never really fit me either. The truth is, I just consider myself a gamer and one who likes his hobby.


  4. WeRRieS ZA

    September 16, 2010 at 13:13

    Great read, check the dude in the middle, defintely not gaming on his mind I see! lol

    Decisions…decisions! Honestly we need more female online gamers! Not nearly enough online! Well not that I’ve heard of or seen!


  5. WeRRieS ZA

    September 16, 2010 at 13:14

    That you in the middle on the couch? :ninja:


  6. TT-25

    September 16, 2010 at 13:23

    yeah, good read indeed. I am a gamer, I dont feel the need to class myself as Hardcore or Casual. I just play games cause they FUN. and Blow shit up with Nades and my shotty. YAY fun times.


  7. Et3rn1tyRos3

    September 17, 2010 at 05:44

    What games do you play? I’ll game with you. I’m female. Keep in mind that I’m also broke and jobless so I am a deprived gamer lol. And I kinda suck on Live since I just got it 3 weeks ago lol.


  8. Et3rn1tyRos3

    September 17, 2010 at 05:46

    Oh and that is my gamertag for those of you that are interested in showing off your supiority over me. But be warned, I am a fast learner and I will remember you all!!!!!!!


  9. WeRRieS ZA

    September 17, 2010 at 08:58

    There used to be quite a few lekker female gamers to game with back in the days of COD4, but only a few remain which is sad.

    If anyone wants to add me, only gonna jam some Halo Reach for a long time, add me

    GT: WeRRieS ZA

    Female gamers I know off (remember from the COD4 days):

    TT25 – LAWN – they all a special bunch of guys and gals!!!
    Ruby ZA – think WoW smallowed her, haven’t seen her for a while
    FireflyZA – MW2 gamer
    Ladybeard – what ever happened to her?


  10. Kat

    September 20, 2010 at 02:04

    I play pretty much 24/7 but I never take it to the next level mostly because I don’t want to listen to arrogant a-holes trying to prove themselves online. I just want to kick back and have fun with it.


  11. Gavin Mannion

    September 20, 2010 at 02:57

    I don’t think you will ever see TT25 playing anything but Gears to be honest :tongue:


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