Gaming is something which formed a big part of my girlhood! My first piece of gaming equipment was a purple Gameboy. My game of choice? Pokémon! I would get lost in the mission of training my creatures, caring for them, and journeying through the story laid before me to become the ultimate Pokémon Master!
Playing my Gameboy as a girl was just the beginning. I have fond memories of playing Tomb Raider with my Grandad on PlayStation, looking up to his gameplay as something I wanted to achieve myself. I recall working my way through PlayStation, Gameboy Advance, Nintendo DS and ending, in my late teens, with the Wii. It was at around the age of 18, however, that I put the controller down.
After beginning college, and throughout my undergraduate degree, I didn’t think about gaming very much. I suppose I associated it with a part of my girlhood, and not as something I should engage with as an adult. During my early 20s I often had a hard time relaxing, and saw any form of personal indulgence (games, films, TV) as taking away from time I should be dedicating to studies or my career. As you can imagine, this state of mind didn’t allow for any thoughts relating to gaming whatsoever!
However, in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic, and with the need to spend all my time indoors, I am so happy that I allowed myself to rediscover the joy of gaming. I, like many others, got myself a Nintendo Switch and started my own island adventure in Animal Crossing, revisited the nostalgia of my childhood with Spyro the Dragon, and pledged to become the best sniper of all time in Fortnite. Initially you could say that the reason I game is a response to my fear of boredom, but it has now become much more meaningful to me due to the new friendships gaming has fostered in my life.
Looking for fun gaming content to watch online led me to the website Twitch. Unbeknownst to me, Twitch is a website dedicated to individuals who stream their games live online, as they play, and chat with friends. By watching streamers on Twitch I have made so many new online friends, and created a lovely community for myself online to both chat with, and discuss our love for gaming! In a time when in person contact is very limited gaming has been so much more than a fun activity, and has allowed me to develop relationships virtually with likeminded people.
6-year-old Kaitlyn sat on the sofa beside her mum playing her Gameboy, battling the world with Pikachu by her side. 27-year-old Kaitlyn sits at her desk, using a PC she built from scratch, and streams games online with her friends, filled with determination to publicly demonstrate that gaming is a place for girls to have fun and succeed in. I game as it is fun, challenging, and exciting but, more importantly, is a space for friendships and support.
Girl Museum Inc.