I'm kidding about the arrogance of course. I promise I'm not actually that much of a bitch. :P
Anyway, I is a 34-year-old lady (unfortunately from the U.S. state of Texas) who has been gaming roughly since the dawn of time. It all began when I was five (which, for historical context, was back in 1987). My dad had gotten a Nintendo Entertainment System along with Duck Hunt, Ghosts n' Goblins, and Super Mario Bros. the previous year. Duck Hunt was the main event for him, as he was big into hunting. Anyway, he tried getting me into Super Mario Bros., which he'd picked up theoretically for me, but it wound up being Metroid that really stuck with me when he got it the next year. I loved how much more free you were to explore in that game! Unsurprisingly, many of the games that captured my attention in the immediate years that followed were similarly exploratory in nature, like Castlevania II: Simon's Quest and the original Legend of Zelda. This track ultimately led me to simple RPGs like Dragon Warrior as well.
As I grew up, so did my gaming tastes. Hitting my rebellious tweenage years, I really got into what at the time was considered the edgier gaming material, like Golden Axe, Street Fighter II, the early Mortal Kombat games, Doom, Cutthroat Island, and the Streets of Rage games. As characters went, I was particularly fond of Chun-Li and Blaze Fielding. My parents HATED those games! :P Way too violent for kids and especially for girls; you know how it went back then. Of course, pissing my parents off was half my motivation for playing at that particular stage in life, so nothing could stop me: not being grounded, having this or that game taken away, nothing. I found ways. ;) Hell, I liked those sorts of games so much that I wound up being inspired to take up wing chun as a result!
I also really got into stories in games during that stage. Out of This World (that's a.k.a. Another World for Europeans) really got me into game narratives, as that was the first video game I'd played that really moved me emotionally. Final Fantasy VI (which at the time was called Final Fantasy III in this country because it was only the third FF game to make it to the United States) wound up being my favorite game from that era, followed closely by Super Metroid (the surprising conclusion in particular was especially memorable to me and made it my favorite Metroid game) and both Out of This World and its sequel, Heart of the Alien.
In both of these sorts of ways, video games during that time seemed to be growing up with me and that kept me interested in the medium. The initial leap to standardized 3D though (the fifth console generation, if you will) was a little different for me. By that time, I was entering legal driving age and started to have other things on my mind more as a result, like boys, music, and clothes. TV for teenage girls was also really good at the time between shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Friends, Charmed, Star Trek: Voyager, etc., and my resultantly increased interest in TV adversely impacted my interest in gaming as well during the late '90s. 3D also just changed up game play to such a degree that I had difficulty adapting for a few years. Plus I started to get made fun of for being into video games as a girl of that age, so it was now negatively impacting my social life on a level that it hadn't been before.
In the time since then, I've never actually stopped gaming, but my level of interest has gone way up and way down at different points in fits and starts. Overall though, I've basically felt like an outsider to mainstream gaming culture since I would say late 1996, i.e. most of my life. The overall worst period for me when it came to my relationship to gaming culture was, I would say, probably 2009-12, that period. I would say that the general trajectory of gaming over the decade or so preceding that was one part of what made a feminist out of me. THAT really began with Grand Theft Auto III and God of War becoming the biggest hits of the 6th console generation.
I mean I had never really thought of myself as a feminist before that, but gaming during that period was one aspect of my life that helped me figure some things out about gender relations. I mean sure, some would argue that I should've been able to figure out well before then that games were generally sexist (most used things like damsel in distress scenarios or just didn't bother including any female characters at all, playable or not, for example), but you know, back in those days there was a certain type and level of sexism that you simply grew up with and which no one seemed to question. The whole princess thing and being rescued from any number of things by a man and whatnot was part of that mix. It was something that resultantly I didn't think about much at the time. Neither was I ever per se averse to "sexy" portrayals of women like my parents were. I mean I didn't find characters like Blaze Fielding or Tyris Flare demeaning. As kind of a geeky indoorsy type, I wasn't very body confident back then and characters like those kind of gave me an escape where I could pretend to be ideal and in a way that made me feel strong. But there was a difference in my mind between those sorts of portrayals and those in say Duke Nukem, for example, where there were so many ass-naked damsels that were supposed to "mercifully" kill instead of rescue. That was one particular brand of "edgy" that I never embraced. There was Doom edgy and then there was Duke Nukem edgy and I could kind of tell all along that the Duke Nukem creators kind of hated me, like this was a game made for boys who had been rejected by a lot of pretty girls before and wanted to get back at them. THAT type of sexism I could recognize as sexism because it wasn't the kind or level you simply grew up with as a girl even back then.
So anyway, to summarize my point, there had always been Duke Nukem-like games that pretty clearly just hated women to degrees that were outside the cultural norm. You could go all the way back to Custer's Revenge, for example, which revolves around the player trying to successfully rape a Native American woman. In my youth, typical analogous games included stuff like Ghosts n' Ghouls and Duke Nukem, but those were less successful titles that weren't really dominating the sales charts. But that changed when Grand Theft Auto III and God of War came around. Suddenly that type of unsubtle misogyny became the new norm in video games, even to the point that Nintendo somewhat embraced it with The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, for example. And this trend really seemed to reach a fever pitch during the period of 2009-12. The thing about it was that the overwhelming popularity of these sorts of titles served notice to me that I wasn't really welcome in this culture. Things have improved considerably since, to the point that I'd say this is the best time to be a gamer overall, including for women. (Not without a push from the women's movement, but still.) Hence my presence here. I'm not very fond of capitalism though, I should warn everyone.
Anyway, to give you an idea of my gaming tastes, here's a rundown of my favorite games spanning the years that I have consoles for:
(Note: I'm using the original American names and release dates where applicable.)
1980: Zork I
1982: Zork III
1984: Girl's Garden
1985: A Mind Forever Voyaging
1986: Leather Goddesses of Phobos
1988: Phantasy Star
1989: The Guardian Legend
1990: The Secret of Monkey Island
1991: Out of This World
1992: Alone in the Dark
1993: Secret of Mana
1994: Final Fantasy III
1995: Chop Suey
1996: Wonder Project J2
1997: Final Fantasy VII
1998: Nancy Drew: Secrets Can Kill
1999: Drakan: Order of the Flame
2000: The Longest Journey
2002: Metroid Prime
2003: Beyond Good & Evil
2004: Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean
2008: Mirror's Edge
2010: Heavy Rain
2011: Portal 2
2012: Papo & Yo
2013: Gone Home
2014: This War of Mine
2016: Diaries of a Spaceport Janitor
2017 (so far): Night in the Woods
Favorite multi-year game releases:
1) Kentucky Route Zero
2) The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky
...So that's me! Just thought I'd introduce myself.