Okay, so I’m the only female employee at my new company. Whoop-dee-doo. When they asked me if I’d be okay with that, I just said, “As long as there are separate bathrooms, I couldn’t care less.”
In general, these guys are pretty good at forgetting what gender I am. My relative inexperience has a greater impact most days, and I’m working on that. But for some reason, these guys seemed shocked that I’d want to play our new video arcade game.
Yes, we have a video arcade game in our break room. You don’t? Well, that sucks for you. When I get angry because my project won’t build for the fourteenth straight hour, there’s always the opportunity for me to shoot at aliens. You have to go postal (apologies to the devoted postal workers out there) and actually shoot your coworkers*.
What game, you wonder? The ever so fabulous flash-back to the late 90s (yes, I know that isn’t particularly long ago): Area 51 – Site 4. It’s one of them shooting games, where you have a plastic pistol attached to a cord attached to the console. You shoot things, you get points for shooting them, you get points for accuracy, you kill the big boss, you win.
I may not have been allowed to hang out at arcades when I was younger, and I may not have had a Nintendo or Sega or any other video game machine in my house as a kid, but I still love me some video games. (Thanks, Mike!) I’ll be honest, shooting games aren’t my favorite. I prefer rhythm games and platform games, like Beat Mania and Shrek 2. (Hush, you.) But that doesn’t mean I’ve never played.
I did grow weary of the first-person-shooter games for the PC freshman year at WPI. I mean, seriously, how much time can you really spend watching someone shoot things. Perhaps if I had bought (or stolen, as was a popular thing to do) the game (that year it was all about Half-Life), I could have become a playa. But I didn’t. And my GPA thanks me for that.
But Half-Life this isn’t. There’s no deciding where to walk, there’s no looking around, and there’s certainly no strafing. You have a gun. The game moves you to where you need to be. You shoot the gun. The aliens explode. Next level!
But back to the other day. My lunch had been eaten, and I was feeling the need to do some alien slaughter. So, I asked the guys in the break room if they would like to join me in shooting aliens, and was met by perplexed looks. After I walked up to the game and picked up a gun, they realized I was serious, and one volunteered to join me in the battle, while the other turned off the lights that cause a nasty glare.
I’m not saying I was superb. But in several levels, I did have a higher accuracy rating than my coworker, and once I even beat him in kills. After several levels, he remarked, surprised, “Wow, you’re better than [other-coworker].” I just grinned.
As we approached the final level, a boss-alien complete with flailing tentacles of fire, our boss wandered in. (Our boss, by the way, is the one who picked this machine and had it ordered. The man loves toys.) “What are you, corrupting my new employee?”
Oh, yeah. I’m so corrupted. I’ve so never seen games with guns before. I don’t even know what this thing in my hand is? Oh! It represents a thingy that you use to hurt people? Oh no! Let me put that down gently and with grace!
I am so not your average girl.
So my new goal, and I think this one is reasonable, is to compete at an equal level with the guys here at this game. And if that means getting in to work 10 minutes early to get in a daily practice, so be it. I will be more accurate than you. I will kill more aliens than you. And in that last level, I will save your tookus from the evil alien queen, you wimpy boys.
*Note: Shooting coworkers is not recommended nor endorsed by this website nor this blogger. In fact, this blogger recommends not shooting anyone real. Violence in video games is fun. Violence in real life is a tragedy. Don’t shoot!