It’s book day! I’ll be saying that a lot over the next year, with releases scheduled so far in December, January, March, April, May, and June, but today is the day for Chicks Dig Gaming: A Celebration of All Things Gaming by the Women Who Love It.
My essay closes out the collection, and instead of being about any of the games I’m actually good at, it’s about the one I’m terrible at: Chess. It’s about how I learned to play, taught by my neighbors as a child. But it is also about my difficult family and the backdrop of pop- and political culture at the time. While I have always written personal essay that seems, I think revealing to others, and am often nostalgic about my childhood, the fact is my stories about me, my family, and my childhood are well-honed. This piece, written quite some time ago now (well over a year) was a first attempt at letting myself really talk about the corners of my childhood. As I’m increasingly working on doing both some fictional and memoir work about my weird teen life in queer NYC in the ’80s, having this essay be out in the world is scary and important and exciting to me.
Of course, also, what a time to be in an anthology called Chicks Dig Gaming. Regardless of the games we’ve written about (this book contains everything from video games to RPGs to LARPs to board games and more), I think it’s hard not to be nervous and excited. I’ve already seen one very positive review of the book that also noted some of its feminism hurt the reviewer’s feelings.
Which sort of really makes me wish I’d written about a game I don’t suck at as much as I suck at chess. But skill isn’t what makes someone a gamer. Love of the puzzle, of the art, of the technology, and of the social contexts that come with games are what make someone a gamer. Hell, just playing the game. Because that’s what is important about games: showing up, participating, giving it a go, and being open to the experience.
I hope you’ll be open to the experiences in Chicks Dig Gaming. My own copies just arrived, so I’ll be reading along with you.