The ‘gamer girl’ label is one easy label to latch on to as female gamers, while currently increasing in numbers, are still considered to be a minority in a male-dominant hobby and industry. We too are guilty of using this label- the title of this feature says it all, but we do not seek to glorify or exploit it for views. Rather, we ask about how the struggle is being the minority gender where things can get toxic really quickly if you’re not meeting expectations of your male peers.
Which leads us to our Gamer Of The Week- Nur Shahidah Abdullah. Also known as SashaMocha, she’s a 17-year-old Youtuber making gaming content. Sasha is more of an entertainer, playing more casual games that her Asus A43S laptop can handle.
As for games, she really loves playing MMOs such as Dragon Nest. One game she is looking forward to this year is Vigor Roads which she describes, in her own words: “It has cars, creepy monsters, and mecha!”
Sasha not only shared to us her strong opinion about “gamer girls” in general, she talked about the struggles with low-spec hardware and her ultimate dream of making her own video game.
Low Spec Gaming
Sasha’s first foray into gaming is when she was eight. “I still remember when my parents took me to the cyber cafe in the town and I didn’t know anything about computers!” she recalls. It was an watershed moment since the family did not have a computer or Internet access back then. “With my mom’s help, I played my first game, Turtle Odyssey, a simple platformer game,” she added. “What a memory!”
While that moment kicked off her start to gaming, Sasha unfortunately never had the opportunity to own a decent rig or console yet. So for the most part, she’s stucked with the laptop, affectionately called Asus-kun, for most of her gaming fix.
“Sucks. It just feels sucks,” she answered when asked about her experience gaming on a low-spec laptop. “I feel like having a barrier between me and the games that I wanna play.” Not everyone can afford a proper gaming setup, and the feeling of having to check the specs each time for a new game- and hoping if your PC can run is one heck of a struggle. And for Sasha, it’s most likely she can’t afford to run them.
Nevertheless, she’s not giving up with Asus-kun, as they went through thick and thin together. “I’ll never regret it,” Sasha said, regarding her experience with the laptop.
“My low-specs laptop is still my best buddy and he’s been working so hard to run the low-spec games and through this games, I met such wonderful friends and I really enjoyed the games! So even if I got a high-tech rig right now, I won’t stop playing the low-spec games and Asus-kun will always be my number one.”
Fortunately, there is at least one crafty Youtuber that showcases how modern games can run on really low-specs PCs and shares the method for everyone to try out. Go and check out LowSpecGamer for all your low-spec needs.
For the moment, she’s considering upgrading Asus-kun with an additional 2GB RAM and saving as much as she can for better equipment. “I think it can’t be helped since I’m underage and all. I just have to work and study hard!”
“When I got my equipment, I promised there would more entertaining content (and maybe some homemade games too) on my channel! But it would help if I got a sponsorship and all.”
Meeting New Friends And Benefits Of Gaming
Despite the hardships to actually play games, Sasha kept her passion for gaming aflame. Eventually all those times have benefited her in some ways. “Typically, when people thinks about gamer, they pictured a guy locking himself up in his room playing games non-stop, cutting off all the connections to real world, real humans,” she said. “But it’s totally the opposite! Internet and games is all about connections!”
“I’ve met a tons of great bunches who’s as crazy as me! Who helped me in hard times, especially when beating the giant no-good boss in last stage! Those who boost me up when I’m a rookie and who supported me every single time I’m about to run on HP! Thank you guys. Love you!”
Playing MMOs require a certain dedication and teamwork to get the best experience offered like completing raids. It’s no surprise Sasha managed to form strong bonds with fellow players and gain friends along the way.
“And besides making tons of new friends, I think my IQ just got a little boost from playing games and it proved scientifically! People who plays games turned out to be smarter and my reaction time is faster too! (Laughs)”
She’s not wrong. A 2010 study by the University of Rochester found that playing action video games can improve a person’s ability to make snap decisions without sacrificing accuracy. And a 2014 research by the University of Toronto proved that regular video game playing helps improve hand-eye coordination, a motor skill linked to activities like typing or riding a bike. If you stretched out the examples, it makes sense how a sim racer gamer like our previous gamer of the week, madman20, made a great transition into grassroots racing based on his gaming experience alone.
See, games can be good for you!
The Gamer Girl Label- For Better Or For Worse?
We had a few gamers of the week feature talking about how the perception of a gamer girl can be troublesome. Vinny faced such problems when she was playing League Of Legends competitively for example.
As for Sasha, she has some strong opinion why she despise such a label. “It’s very annoying when they (other gamers) know that I’m a girl in real life, they just quickly brand me as a noob, a b*tch, a wh*re, an attention seeker. What is wrong with them?!”
The inherit generalisation of what a girl playing video games entails has made Sasha not fond of the label and prefer to distance herself from it. And she’s not particularly happy that some individuals uses the ‘girl gamer’ label to their advantage- raking up popularity while not actually being passionate about video games. ” You know what, those girls doesn’t even love to play games,” she explained. ” They are faking it.”
She then told us her experience watching another girl gamer’s stream (whose identity remains anonymous). ” I once watch a stream, a ‘gamer girl’ stream and I first thought that it’s so dang cool that girls play games, but I was wrong. She starts showing off her new Pikachu panties that she bought and she tried it on.
“Tell me, where the heck is the ‘gaming’ part in that?!” Sasha was really angry about this- the whole sentence we received was all in caps.
Such individuals undermines the effort of other female gamers who are in it for the fun of gaming or taking gaming seriously. Hence, why she straight-up despise the ‘girl gamer’ label. “In my opinion, there’re no such thing as a ‘gamer girl’, “she said.
“There are only people who loves to play games. Why on earth does we girls got ‘special’ title? Why there are no ‘gamer boy’? I think gaming is for everyone!”
“The reason I love games the most, is due to the happiness it brings me and the friends that I got through it and especially the way it unites us all gamers! So please stop branding girls just because they loves to play games. Not all of us are bad, okay?”
Sasha also gave an example of legit girl gamer, which we believed to be Geguri showcasing her Overwatch skills live to clear off cheating accusations. She too was discriminated due to her gender which lead to the accusations.
While she voices her concerns on how some actual girl gamers got lumped into the unwanted stereotyping, Sasha insisted it never affected her personally- she just shake the negative comments off an move on. However, there is still a lot of work to be done to give females a fair experience in the gaming community, and the problem is not just about males not giving them a chance.
The Dream- Making Opening A Game Studio
But despite all the setbacks, she remains optimistic about her one big dream she wishes to achieve. “My dream is to open my very own game studio! Yes! I’ll bring joy to people through my games!” With the rise of the game development industry over in Malaysia and Southeast Asia in general, this is a good time to jump into game dev.
Sasha has tried dabbling with Game Maker Studio, a robust application that allows for someone with no knowledge of programming and asset creation to design and make a video game. She’s a bit embarrassed to reveal that she’s just using Game Maker rather than, say Unity or Unreal.
But that’s okay- some great game designers were born from making prototypes with such tools. Derek Yu, the creator of the 2D platformer rougelike Spelunky, made his name with a community making games with such tools before Spelunky became a huge indie success story. His story was just recently chronicled in the documentary video by Noclip. And many great indie titles, from the Souls/Zelda-like Hyper Light Drifter to the visual novel-esque VA-11 HALL-A to the cult hit RPG Undertale used Game Maker Studio.
“I’m gonna developed many genres of games! Otomes, RPGs, Visual Novels, TPS, FPS, all! But not MMORPG though. That’s just hard,” Sasha added. Her enthusiasm is at the right place, and hopefully once she could secure better equipment to run Game Maker Studio, she can get serious into game development while maintaining her YouTube channel.
We wish all the best for SashaMocha on her future endeavours and may her passion for gaming remain strong.
You can check out SahsaMocha over on YouTube.
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