No Longer A Boys Club: Women in Gaming8 min read

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Jeremy Malaspina

Latest posts by Jeremy Malaspina (see all)

When it come’s to retro gaming, the information you receive and search for comes from a variety of different places and platforms. Whether it be an article like your reading right now, a podcast or a you-tube video we tend to look to other experts for advice in what to collect, play and search for when it comes to classic games. As of 2018 there are many ways to get this information and some of us are surprised to see where it’s actually coming from. For this segment of “retro caviar” we are going to be discussing women in gaming.

Growing up in the 80s and early 90s video games were geared mostly towards men. But that never stopped women from enjoying the same nostalgia we feel when we turn on our Nintendo entertainment system to achieve a high score. With changing times and developer’s aiming for a great experience, it doesn’t really matter if you’re male or female. It only matters that you enjoy the game your playing and have the passion to either complete it or to at the very least get as far as possible. But as the time changes so does the industry.

From what I have seen the past few years, women have came far in the retro video game scene. Whether its videos for you-tube about their collection or creating buying guides for certain consoles. They have just as much knowledge when it comes to video games.  Some men find this threating to their hobby or don’t take it serious when a woman has more information about something they happened to be interested in.  That type of thinking is out dated and doesn’t hold any weight anymore.

For my new addition to these articles I have started a podcast series to further cover topics a little more in depth. My first podcast I have had the pleasure of interviewing a special guest to talk and discuss the topic of women in gaming. Her name is Irene from Ircha gaming, a you-tube channel that has over 5000 subscribers. Which at first doesn’t seem like much but creating an audience can be tough. Irene is from northern Norway, a place in Europe that has a population of about 3000 people.  Don’t quote me on that cause I might be wrong. Even though there are not many people she still has a local game store where she can get most of her modern games and accessories, but as she says in the podcast for the retro classics she resorts strictly to eBay. Irene has been on you-tube making videos since 2007 but the platform she has created for gaming is a relatively new thing.

Irene specializes in various different gaming genres ranging from adventure, to RPG’s, JRPG’s and first person shooters. She also talks about different consoles from handhelds like the Nintendo DS series up to the PlayStation 4. I’m currently subscribed to her channel and her taste in games compliments mine. So for the idea that a woman can’t have more knowledge in a particular area in gaming is just simply not accurate. Most recently Irene has been covering the Nintendo switch, which is a new console that came out last year. The Nintendo switch is a handheld mixed with a console that is capable to be played as a portable on the go, or at home.  As I say in the podcast she is an advocate for the Nintendo switch in every possible.

Irene is very open minded when it comes to the way she reviews games and give her upmost honest opinion.  As I look for information I want an honest review before I make a purchase and that’s something that I can count on when I watch Irene’s videos.  She doesn’t sugar coat the truth and will not praise something that she thinks is truly terrible. For some channel’s on you-tube that might not always be the case.  Most people don’t know that creators from you-tube will normally get products about to be released for review.  So depending on what they work out with the company or an agreement that they come too you might not always be getting a true review. That’s not the case with Irene she will tell you flat out that a particular product or game is not worth it or worth your time. To me that’s an admirable quality and her being a woman makes no difference. Usually the people that have the most information are the ones with the most experience. In Irene’s case she has been playing video games since she was a child and over the years has accumulated a vast amount of experience in retro and modern gaming.

I say it in the podcast and I will mention it here, I like Irene’s channel and what she’s about. That’s not always the case with women in the gaming scene. When I brought up the topic to her she was all about it. I told her before we recorded about a female gamer who had about 4 million views on you-tube just from opening a Nintendo switch.  Now that’s a lot of exposure and when you watch that particular video you don’t get a sense of knowledge and passion. It seems almost manufactured.  Most people know that through advertisements you are able to make money to support your channel on you-tube. In certain cases it becomes a full time job having to create produce and edit your content.  With 4 million views that obviously could be the case but it raises the question that it could be scripted and produced strictly for the money. With Irene you don’t ever have to worry about that. She is passionate about what she does and gives it a 100% with each video she releases.

We further discussed retro video games as a trend. It seems over the past few years it’s became more difficult for collectors to get their high ticketed items. Not to mention there has been a lot of new people wanting to get into the hobby of collecting and playing not only retro classics but the modern games as well.  Irene doesn’t consider her self a collector; she is strictly about the games itself. Picking up titles on various platforms through the years she has accumulated a pretty decent collection.  Which only makes her more experienced on what she is covering in her videos. As for the trend she doesn’t think it will die out. As long as companies are creating hard ware and making games there will always people out there looking for them. We both think that it will not be dyeing down anytime soon.

As our interview further progressed we had talked about some of the other women in gaming. Mostly the female gamers that are on a website called twitch. Twitch is an up and coming streaming service where you are able to upload a live video of what ever you happen to be doing. Which In this case happens to be gaming, and is very popular at the moment. I mentioned these girls who are pretty much streaming to get followers and it’s obvious they are preying on men who give them donations. They say things like “ill get naked if I get a certain item in the game.” Its clear that they pray on those insecure guys, but Irene says she has paid it no mind. She has checked out the twitch streaming service but does not put up any live streams at the moment. Even if she did she wouldn’t be on the website for those reasons at all. Maybe its women like that which makes it hard for her to have certain men who are serious in the hobby to look for her as a notable source. I found out later that most of her viewers are men which kind of pokes wholes through my theory.

Gaming has become more diverse now more then ever. It’s clear that information on either classics or the modern software is obtainable from many locations. When I look for certain information on particular areas in gaming I want to either read an article like this or watch a video from an expert in the field or who has put the time in before I spend my hard earned money. Getting to know Irene I know that any information that is coming from her is valuable and I know that she is going to give me the unbiased truth and facts. She’s not only smart and educated but she has the same passion that I have when it comes to the hobby.  Her videos and you-tube channel set’s her apart from the rest of the creators in the genre for that reason alone. I personally like her channel and content and I give her a lot of credit for being a strong woman in gaming. If you haven’t checked out her channel on you-tube you should subscribe to see her latest and upcoming videos. If you like what she does she has a patreon as well where you can donate to her cause. I would like to thank her personally for being on my first podcast and taking the time out of her schedule to sit and discuss this with me. For more in-depth information about Irene, check out the podcast and as always we continue enjoying the finer things in life


“Retro Caviar”

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