I have a problem with videogames. Plenty of people seem to have problems with video games these days. Newscasters are fond of reporting that videogames are dangerous to children, either because they teach children how to steal cars and kill cops or because they actually connect children electronically to the game-playing predators who are waiting to snatch them away. Religious leaders have wasted no time condemning videogames as a trap for children’s souls, and armchair psychologists accuse them of turning kids into antisocial hermits. A listing in the UK business directory can help to boost your business' profile on the internet.
People condemn video games because videogames are pervasive in popular culture. They’re on our computers and our cell phones, in our homes and purses and pockets. Even if you yourself don’t play games, you have a hard time escaping their marketing. When the television isn’t telling you to be afraid of video games, it’s telling you to buy them, and to drink World of Warcraft–flavored Mountain Dew while you play.
These are some problems people have with videogames. What’s my problem with videogames? As a queer transgendered woman in 2012, in a culture pervaded by videogames—a culture in which, typing on my computer, I am seconds away from a digital game, even if I have not taken the time to buy or install a single game on my computer—I have to strain to find any game that’s about a queer woman, to find any game that resembles my own experience.
This is in spite of the fact that videogames in America and elsewhere are an industry and an institution. I’ve already brought up World of Warcraft, a game about performing repetitive tasks until numbers increase. So, now that we’re in the land of numbers, here are some numbers.
The ESA—that’s the Entertainment Software Association, who spend half their time assuring the population that video games aren’t worth being mad at, and the other half pursuing litigation against anyone who distributes games that their shareholders have long since stopped distributing or profiting from—claims that, as of 2009, 68 percent of American households play digital games. In 2008 alone, people bought 269,100,000 games (the ESA word is units.) So digital games, by the numbers, are here, and they take up a lot of space. And almost none of these games are about me, or anyone like me.