Gaming club levels the playing field – The Daily Aztec

The company painted a picture of the gamer archetype as a white male, often with a fondness for junk food and energy drinks. This stereotype is taken further by characters such as Jenkins from “South Park” or Philip J. Fry from “Futurama”.

However, these portrayals leave out much of the non-white male gaming community. Forbes magazine reports 45% of gamers worldwide identify as female, and that number is growing.

This Women’s History Month, three players from San Diego State share their love for the hobby as well as their experiences within the gaming community.

Alyssa Garcia is a third-year computer science student who hopes to get into game development after graduation.

Garcia is also co-chair of Aztec Gaming Lab, an on-campus student-run organization that develops and produces one video game each semester.

“In middle school when ‘Minecraft’ came out, a lot of my classmates who played were boys. I didn’t know any girls who played ‘Minecraft’ at the time,” Garcia said.

Garcia plays a variety of games, but says she enjoys immersive storytelling and simulation games.

While playing cooperative online games such as “Valorant”, Garcia faced sexist remarks from other players.

“I even got things like ‘oh, go back to the kitchen.’ Someone said that to me once, and I said ‘are you kidding me?’ We are in 2022, it is not necessary,” said Garcia.

Through Aztec Game Lab and encouraging her younger sisters to enter the world of gaming, Garcia hopes to inspire the next generation of female gamers.

“His something everyone can do and it’s something that unites us. I feel like as human beings, video games shouldn’t be just for men. Everyone can agree that video games are fun, so we should all enjoy them together,” Garcia said.

Emely Cristales-Linares is a first-year psychology student and captain of one of Aztec Gaming Club’s “Valorant” teams.

“I loved the interactive worlds you can make, and that’s what got me into gaming life. Later I got my own PC and started playing more games said Cristales-Linares.

Cristales-Linares has spoken out about the oversexualization of female gamers amid the growing popularity of self-proclaimed “gamer girl” YouTubers such as Belle Delphine, whose popularity increased after it began posting photos and videos making suggestive faces often found in erotic manga.

“It makes me really uncomfortable, and I think it’s a conversation that needs to happen,” Cristales-Linares said. “You don’t know who’s on the other side of the screen, you don’t know who you’re talking to, or their experiences. It’s really inappropriate to just sexualize them immediately.

The way female video game characters are often designed or costumed also adds to the uncomfortable feeling of Cristales-Linares.

“I feel like I’m female role models in games, they’re always sex and sexy. When like, that shouldn’t be because they’re just going to shoot an alien or a robot or something like that. It’s really useless,” Cristales-Linares said.

In his leadership role at Aztec Gaming, Cristales-Linares has found support from his peers.

“It opens up the conversation about having a woman in power for this game team. I really like that,” Cristales-Linares said.

India Wishart is a graphic design transfer student. Wishart became interested in video games after playing with her mother and stepfather.

“My mother used to play MMOs [massively multiplayer online games], as if she were playing “Meridian 59″. I also played ‘Civilization’ with my dad and uncle,” Wishart said.

Wishart said she had a more optimistic view of female representation in the video game industry.

“When I was younger, there were a lot fewer women developing games and they were sort of an underrepresented target market. Because there was an assumption that boys were more likely to like games, so they would target boys more,” Wishart said. “I think people these days are realizing that women are a big part of their market. There are many more women who grew up playing games and now do.

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