One particular gamer has achieved overnight celebrity status in the world of gaming: Cassie (aka Zephri). You can find part one of her interview on Bell of Lost Souls and part two on Chainfist.com. I want to congratulate Cassie on the instant fame and encourage her to add Adsense to her site so that she can capitalize on the huge traffic spike she's experiencing right now! But that's not why I'm writing this. I want to take a moment to discuss what makes her so popular and how we should react...
Before we begin, let's get the obvious out of the way. She's female and she's cute. That makes her a minority in gaming culture, which obviously contributes to the attention that she's getting. Now that I've stated the obvious, let's move on, because I have other opinions to share.
First of all, let's address the presence of female gamers. They do exist. They are not a myth. I'm now following Cassie's blog... but I also follow A Girl's Guide to Gaming Geekery and Geek's Dream Girl, and I used to follow the d20blonde before her RSS feed went all wonky and started sending me to dearpeanut.net (a blank site, hence no link). Aside from blogs, though, let's not forget Shelly Mazzanoble's Confessions of a Full-Time Wizard series. I myself happened to be happily married to an expert Magic: The Gathering player before she passed away last year. Trust me. They are out there. We just have to practice good enough hygiene for them to find us attractive.
So what makes Cassie different? One could argue that it is because she's entered the larger gaming community on her own and not overshadowed by her significant other. It always drove me nuts when my wife did well at Magic tournaments and guys tried to retain their pride by claiming that she was only good because I taught her everything. I taught her how to play... but when she predicted your bait and saved the counterspell for the card that would have won you the game... sorry, buddy, but that was all her. Cassie doesn't have to fight the same assumptions. She has stepped onto the scene on her own credentials, which instantly gives her a quality that many of us wish we could find in women... she didn't have to be convinced to play. It is clear that she loves and enjoys gaming just as much (if not more) than we do.
However, while I think that her enthusiasm for gaming has a lot to do with her popularity, I personally find the most intriguing thing about Cassie to be her apparent normalcy. Yes, she's a gamer chick, and that makes her a bit of an oddity... but look at her pics and think about the female gamers you've encountered in the past. If your experiences have been anything like mine, you're probably picturing: oddly dyed hair, excessive tattoos and/or piercings, and either a very gothic or very "punk" sense of fashion. Cassie doesn't appear to fit these stereotypes. Instead, she looks like the girl next door. Normal hair? Check. Normal fashion sense? Aside from the party costumes... check. Appears to bathe regularly? Check.
In fact, she kind of looks like that girl in high school you had a crush on but you never asked out because you were scared she'd reject you. Admit it... you know she does. Except that Cassie is a gamer, so she's approachable. And she doesn't look like the female gamers you're used to seeing, so that makes her even more of an oddity. She's a minority within the minority.
So what point am I trying to make here?
Based on her comments here (which, admittedly, I read after I started writing this), it sounds like everyone has been cordial. Let's keep it that way. She appears to be flattered by all of the attention, but that might change if the real weirdos emerge.
Cassie, the internet and the various hobbies in which you participate need more like you. Here's hoping the creeps keep to themselves and your fame continues on without incident. Best of luck.