NOTE: Though this is inspired by a real life experience, it is still fiction and condensed for time.
Nikki Stewart loves to play video games. Rather, she loved to play them. It all started when she played the classics as a child. You can quiz her on the Sonic games, Zelda games or even obscure titles like Kung-fu bros or Circus Capers, yet, she is quite modest about her gaming knowledge and ability.
Growing up, as games changed, her interest in them declined slightly as violence was favored over innocent fun but she still finds joy in the odd first person shooter.
On the other side of the planet, a gamer named, let’s call him… Dick Rich, is playing the new Borderlands game anxiously trying to speed through it to review it because he knows he loves it already. He usually locks his game but today he was feeling social. Of all the Borderlands matches on the entirety of the internet, Nikki got matched with Dick. Dick and Nikki hit it off right away.
“Hey?” she says.
“Yo? … Oooh ith a lady.” Dick attempts humor.
“Sorry. Just don’t see that a lot these days.” he tries to maintain dignity.
She sighs, “Yeah.”
“What kind of guns do you use?”
“Uhh..” she starts.
“I noticed…” he inadvertently interrupts her.
“Go on.” They both say in unison.
“I saw you holding a shotgun. I just grinded one with exploding rounds that explodes on reload and I don’t need it. It is yours if you promise to use it and not sell it.” he says cheerily.
“Oh! Really? Yeah. That’ll be fun.”
“I’m Richard. Everybody calls me Dick.”
“I’m Nicole. Everybody calls me Nikki. But not like Nickie like Nick with an I-E or Y. Nikki with the double K-I. Ya know?”
“I get cha.”
And with that, a temporary alliance was formed. They traversed the lands of Elpis together and accomplished a few tasks before adding each other to their friends lists and saying goodnight.
But that would not be it. Nikki signed back on and dropped back into Dick’s game now that they were friends. But now Dick was not alone. He was joined by two random players.
“Yo what the fuck is the hold up?” One shouts.
“I’m staring at Moxxie’s tittays bruh!” another banters back.
“Hey Nik, yeah, we’re just about to..” Dick tries to talk through the madness.
“Where’s the tip jar mothafuka!” the first one says.
“Oh cool. I’m ready whenever.”
As soon as Nikki spoke, there were various mumbles of “Is that a girl?”
“I can hear you and yeah I’m a woman.” Nikki laughed.
“Ooooh shit! What’s up then?” one says.
“What?” she replies confused.
“No, I’m sayin’ what chu sayin’ girl?” the random says.
“Uhhh…” Nikki starts.
“Yo! Loading into the mission. Everybody by the fuckin gate.” Dick jumps in.
The mission does not go well or swiftly. After several hiccups, Nikki, in a fit of frustration attempted to be the hero and got pinned down. For some reason, Nikki’s first death, some forty five minutes into the mission was hilarious to the random stranger despite dying at least ten times.
“Yo dat bitch dunno shit about Borderlands. You don’t do that shit. Dumb bitch.”
Nikki doesn’t say anything, she doesn’t respond, she simply quits out of the game.
Moments after that, the void Nikki left in her absence was filled with another gentleman, obsessed with irony it would seem.
“Yo yo yo! Where are all the bitches at?!” he shouts moments after syncing in.
“Yeah, look guys. Don’t take this personally but…”
Dick sets his game back to friends only. He sends Nikki an invite. It became obvious she declined. He explained they were random and they were gone. She reluctantly accepted his invite.
“I didn’t know those guys, I closed my game. I’m real sorry. It should only be friends that drop in and…” he trails off.
“It is OK. I know you’re not a bad guy. But how would you like to be called a bitch everywhere you went?”
“I get you.”
“Hey we don’t need to talk. I got your back. Let’s just kill some aliens and shit.”
Shortly after that, Nikki took to her blog and noted how she meant no malice or ill will towards the gaming community, she has been online long enough to feel like prey most of the time. A sea of harassment and threats were immediately tossed at her by the irony impaired.
Nikki stays strong through it all, believing one day boys and girls can go back to playful banter instead of blatant abuse.
“It’s never been perfect. But it used to be better than this.”
What happened guys? What happened?
The Jaded Gamer