Why I Win at Mortal Kombat (When Playing Against the Boyfriend)

Jade, one of my faves

Let me begin by saying that I really am not very good at Mortal Kombat.  I can manage well enough, but for the most part, I’m always just button mashing and when I do something nifty, it’s almost always by luck.

There are a few moves by my favourite characters that I have memorized, but my timing is always off and I never do them on purpose at appropriate times.  So why, you ask, do I always win against the boyfriend?  Because I always play as one of the female characters.  He asked me once why I did this and I simply stated, “Because it helps me win.”

I like playing the girl characters for several reasons.  One, they are fast and light and very “kicky”.  I like this.  I spend

Sonya, the longest legs for being kicky

most of my time bouncing around and kicking at my opponent and then bouncing out of the way again.  Sort of like a cartoon character on speed.

Secondly, it’s so very rare in a game that I get to play a girl, that I’ll take the opportunity to do so.  Don’t get me wrong, a good game is a damn good game, but I’m still a girl and it’s easier to identify with the character I’m playing if they’re

a female.  In Dragon Age, Mass Effect, and every other role playing game I’ve ever played, I always make a female character.

Thirdly, and I hate to say it because I know that it sounds so bad on my part, but I use these scantily clad characters to distract the boyfriend and win the game.

Mileena, the boyfriend's fave

I noticed it the first time we played the game together.  The boyfriend actually knows most of the moves for his fave characters so it was difficult to play along but I commented a couple of times on the costumes strips of cloth the characters I was playing were wearing and he got distracted looking at them.  I won.

I then pointed out the, shall we say, largeness of the assets on the female characters and I won again.  It was awesome.  I had a secret weapon and this was not one of those times when a girl should be annoyed by her boyfriend looking at the half undressed video game chick on the screen.  I love games and I can learn all the moves and skillfully navigate my way through complicated dungeons and solve puzzles with the best for them…but I can’t play fighters.

I’m a button masher and any kind of boost in my arsenal is acceptable.  Besides, I will say the characters are all very well done.  They’re pretty and they’re colourful and they kick ass.  So what if they’re half naked.  Perhaps in Outworld, that’s how things go.  The only one that confuses me is Sonya anyway.  She’s supposed to be a special agent of some kind.  I wouldn’t think her outfit would be very effective on the job.  Mostly I think her boobs would fall out and the bad guys might fall down while staring at them, but that’s about it.

Besides, I have to admit that I can’t have a double standard about this anyway.  If the boyfriend can sit around with me while we play Resident Evil 5 and I comment on how buff Chris Redfield is or when I drool over Nathan Drake in Uncharted and he never says a word, then I can certainly allow him to ogle the very well animated women of Mortal Kombat.

I always say there’s no room for a double standard when it comes to men and women.  If I’m allowed to ogle, so is he and everyone can be happy when gathered around the PS3, no matter what we’re playing.

Girls Are Gamers Too!

As a girl who has been gaming since she was physically capable of holding an Atari controller, I am frequently insulted by society’s portrayal of the typical “gamer”.  That image everyone automatically has of a pasty skinned boy, sitting in front of a television or computer screen in the dark, a maniacal look on his face and the current game reflecting in the lenses of his glasses.  When I was younger, this was always what people would think of when someone mentioned nerds or gamers.  I always just figured they didn’t understand and normally, I didn’t let it bother me.

As I got older and more sophisticated consoles came out onto the market, another common image appeared in relation to gaming.  You know the one: a room full of guys, snacks spread all over the coffee table as they all cheered and screamed, competing for the best score and loving every minute of it.  This was a less insulting portrayal in some ways.  Obviously, gaming was becoming more mainstream and more and more people were getting into it as it was more widely accepted.  There was, however, still one problem with this image for me.  There were never any girls on that couch, controller in hand going head to head with all those guys.

I spent a huge amount of my social time when I was in high school doing exactly what those pictures all portrayed.  I sat in my living room with a bunch of my friends for hours on end playing 4 on 4 death match in Goldeneye and Perfect Dark on the 64.  I put hours of my time and effort into Ocarina of Time, completely immersed in the storyline and loving every second of it.  I struggled along with all my friends to beat each course of Mario Kart 64 and earn the top spot on the podium and it was a huge victory every time I pulled it off.

But still, every time I would talk about video games with someone who didn’t know me very well, they looked at me like I was insane.  Like they couldn’t believe that a girl would be that into something that was reserved for guys and they almost looked down on me for it.  It was actually a very frustrating thing to deal with.  To want to talk so badly about my latest conquest in the world of gaming and to say one little thing about it and end up with a room full of my friends just staring at me like I’d grown another head was almost embarrassing, like time would freeze and nobody knew what to say.  While they were talking about going out on a date, I was sitting there with nothing to say because they wouldn’t understand if I broke in with, “You know, last night I finally found the fire arrows and was able to beat that temple that’s been holding me back for a week.”

After a while, I started to hide my natural, nerd-like tendencies.  I still gamed on my own and with the same three or four guys for hours of Goldeneye on a Saturday afternoon, but my inner gaming spirit was being crushed because I couldn’t share in excitement every time I finally beat a game or a certain boss.  It seemed like nobody I hung out with really cared.

Years later, I now live with the boyfriend and finally, I can share my triumphs with someone.  He’s actually excited when I beat a boss I’ve been trying to kill forever or when I finally hit the end of a game and the credits start to roll, I get congratulations instead of odd looks.  It’s nice to be able to share something like that, no matter what it is.

Curious, I took a peruse around the internet the other day and discovered that there are others out there, just like me, who want others to recognize that girls are involved in the gaming world as well.  I’m not talking about the bombshells they put on television so guys will watch and drool over new game announcements and hot outfits (not that I dislike those shows, they’re pretty fun to watch), but women actually working towards opening the door wider for others to get into the industry and become a larger part of the gaming world as a whole.  See the websites here and here.  I may not be interested in the development portion of gaming, but knowing that more and more women are getting involved in it, makes me think that perhaps there will be more games that appeal to a female perspective.  These do exist, but not in the number that are designed for guys in mind.

Remember all you male gamers out there, there may not be as many of us, but us female gamers do exist and we’re buying the same titles, earning the same trophies and building up the bragging rights just like you.

This is what it frequently looks like when I game.