Out of my group of female gamers, a few also play video games, but most refuse to use multiplayer mode due to aforementioned unicorn-fetus-induced behavior, myself included. Although, recently I was coerced into a playing top selling role-playing game that proclaimed the benefits of its multiplayer mode contributed to the single player campaign. I begrudgingly decided to check it out and after many fumbles and failures, I got the hang of it and began to enjoy what I once despised. For the sake of my sanity and enjoyment, I never plugged in my headset. Although this particular game isn’t pvp, I knew that SOUNDING LIKE A GIRL over XboxLive was the perfect way to invite aggro behavior and verbal abuse from the other players. As far as I know, I’ve never heard any other females using the audio channel on XBL, possibly for the similar reasons.
A few headshots later, a friend invited me to play in party setting, a private audio chat, with a group of other dudes I’ve never met, online or otherwise. I decided to go for it and plugged in my headset. The experience was fascinating; we had intelligent conversations about religion and spirituality, and of course I disagreed with all of them, but at least it was civil. When the tide turned to the topic of sexuality, one of the particularly poignant guys proclaimed that homosexuality was completely unnatural. Not WRONG, just, you know — UNNATURAL! This is why we can’t have nice things, Internet. The conversation was going so well! It’s really difficult to concentrate on staving off waves of mutant alien horde while you’re sputtering and trying to parse through someone’s unfathomable opinions. Looking back, the whole exchange was absurd and I’m sure the other people in the party were listening in for shits and giggles. Was it worth it? I work in a public library, so I get to argue with patrons all day about petty crap. Do I really want to do the same on my off hours? It’s a tough call.
I’m a glutton for punishment, so I decided that — YES! I want to argue with more people on XboxLive. Here are a few more nuggets I heard while plugged in, semi-paraphrased:
“Are you a girl? You kind of have a deep voice so you could be a prepubescent boy.”
“Clearly, you and your boyfriend don’t have a real relationship since you don’t spend every waking moment together. The rest of the world says your relationship is invalid.” This was said after revealing that I was in fact in a relationship with an independent person. *
“You are a useless t–t! DO SOMETHING.”**
“So, there’s this girl I play with on here, but she won’t turn her headset on. I really thought we were getting somewhere with the friendship, but she refuses to talk to me!” Priceless. This conversation went on for a while.
Oh, and I was virtually tea bagged by an adult male. Or… it was possibly an invitation for oral sex. Who knows?
Do I continue to plug in my headset? Not unless I want comedy gold or serious abuse — anonymity is a hell of a drug, but thankfully XBL does have a mute button. Virtual rape is possible; still, it’s easier to pull the plug or log off than it is to get a restraining order.
* Possible attempt at flirting?
** Such speech tends to come from military gamers. Fact. These guys get reported.