Has Gaming Made The Nerd...Better?
Yes, we are all aware of the stereotype, and we're all aware of how far the industry has come, and just how mainstream video games are today. But has anyone begun to consider the fact that games themselves are starting to have a positive aspect on men in the eyes of women...?
Just go with me for a second. Everywhere you look, you're beat over the head with terms like "alternative lifestyles" and "life choices" and the like; essentially, we move further and further away from the traditional family concept with every passing day. "Families" can pretty much consist of anything right about now, and "relationships" can, too. But believe it or not, there are still women out there who embrace the old-fashioned ideas of what makes a guy attractive; gallantry, sensitivity, charisma, charm, and perhaps a touch of courage laced with bravado. In short, despite the fact that gay is now "in" and despite the fact that marriage isn't much of an institution anymore, women may not have changed as much as we'd like to think.
Okay, so if that's the case, most of you are going, "great, so the cheerleader that made fun of me back in high school is the same shallow, cruel bitch she's always been." Eh, maybe. But more importantly, are you the same guy you've always been? Can one make the argument that our video game heroes we interact with on a routine basis could have some sort of impact, if only subconscious...? Think about it: of the positive traits I listed above, does not the standard ideal game hero exhibit such traits? Would he not frown on Type-A, overly aggressive jocks who treat women like worthless objects, designed only to be taken advantage of? Would he not be both willing to protect and defer to a woman, depending on the situation? Can he be charmingly shy and pleasantly romantic at the same time? In short, what about many of these heroes would women find unappealing?
The question, of course, is whether or not guys take a few cues from these fictional characters (even if they're not aware of it). If they do, I'd like to think that the idea of the gaming nerd has suddenly become that much more attractive to women. Thing is, the gamer is older now; they are more mature; they might be more willing to act on carefully instilled ideas. Perhaps, over the years, they've become more confident and capable; two more traits that game heroes typically possess. As the industry gets closer and closer to reality, it's almost impossible that at least some tiny facet of a fictional character's personality wouldn't rub off on the player. Factor in the obvious point that geeks and nerds rule the world today, and it's difficult to argue that the traditional ideals set forth in many games, perhaps especially old-school RPGs, can't have a positive effect.
So, what do you think? Has the nerd become "better," maybe especially in the eyes of the fairer sex, thanks to gaming?
9/4/2009 Ben Dutka