The finalists for The Lizzies were announced today. For those not in the know (aka me until a year ago or so), they are IT Journalism Awards, with categories for business, technology, gaming and the like. Scanning the list of people up for awards was a bit like looking down my Twitter ‘Following’ list, and it was a bit hard not to wonder, ‘How did I get here?’
I’m a lot of things. I’m a data nerd. A sometimes-pinup. A rock ‘n’ roll fan. A Whovian.
I am not a gamer. That is a straight-up fact. I have no distaste for it, and back when I was younger and had acres of spare time, I would in fact play games. No consoles to speak of in my house, but my parents have both always worked with computers (programming and IT consulting). Honestly I don’t think the copies of The Sims and Age of Empires in our house were bought by or for me, but I devoted plenty of after-school hours to enjoying them. But after high school it didn’t develop beyond there. My passions simply lay elsewhere – if I had spare time, I wanted to spend it listening to music, reading books, and watching movies or television. I felt a greater connection to those mediums (particularly having studied English Literature and Cultural Studies at university), and that’s how I wanted to idle away my hours when they were there to idle. Even in tabletop games, because I am not the least bit competitive, I consider my main role to be less ‘engaged participant’ and more ‘Chaos Monkey’.
But I have always been surrounded by the chatter. In news that will surprise no-one, the girl who has a blog based on Excel charts was part of the geeky group in high school. Everyone around me gamed – guys and girls. And since high school, I have considered gamers to some extent to be ‘my people’. I try to show an interest in their interests – I always like to ask questions, even if I know the answer will wash over my head. My best friend Tegan, her consoles and I moved in together for a while after university, and the sound of people dodging cars in GTA became standard background noise.
Tegan – now a host of Sass Effect, a gaming and advice podcast where Victorian Values found its start, as well as a staffer at the company that publishes Kotaku and Gizmodo….and honest-to-god Lizzie nominee to boot – has become my entry to this world. In 2015 I headed off to Oz Comic-Con to cheer her on in a panel, none of the content of which I understood. Last year I somehow found myself (slightly bewildered) at the Titanfall 2 launch, and attending PAX for the first time. Unsurprisingly I have met dozens of excellent people – both IRL and online – through her, that I would not otherwise.
But I don’t strictly know where I belong in this world. Am I some sort of gaming WAG (despite being neither wife nor girlfriend)? Fake gamer girl? Hanger-on? Or have I, as someone who gets the references, listens to the podcasts and sometimes goes to the events, become a gamer by default? There was a very small campaign (of two) last year to get me to take this title on. You’ve got to admit, you’ve found yourself a special bunch when members of the community want you to call yourself the thing, without you having to actually do the thing.
But if I take it on, it’s a slippery slope before I started referring to myself as an international fashion model.