I shamelessly invaded your Xbox Dashboard last week – and now that my thumb fatigue has expired, I'm here to tell you about it.
When Avery Alix from Xbox Live emailed me about participating in a "Game with Fame" event, I said, "Hell yeah!" faster than Lindsay Lohan to another shot of Cuervo. Avery is not only known for his rapier-like wit and awesome hair, but also for being Xbox Live's events producer. He is currently in charge of both "Game with Fame" and "Community Playdate" events.
For anyone unfamiliar with the "Game with Fame" events, Xbox Live's "My Community" section frequently provides gamers with the opportunity to befriend a well-known singer, actor, athlete, etc. in order to partake in some online multiplayer merriment. Players can play right alongside celebs! Like Dane Cook! But more importantly, they can shoot Dane Cook in the back of the noggin with a sawed-off shotty for bragging rights! Popular game choices for these events include Castle Crashers, Halo 3, Call of Duty, and UNO. I chose BioShock 2's online multiplayer because it's undeniably fantastic and I just can't get enough of the glitching, freezing, and spawning inside of walls. (Ooh, cheap shot!)
BACK TO MY STORY!
After providing Xbox Live with pictures and a preferred time, I was given a specific gamertag for the event. I soon saw my face on the Dashboard and nearly passed out from my irrepressible mirthquake. I was expecting to get a few messages and friend requests, hoping at least some people would notice the event.
…I had no idea what I was in for.
Within the first hour of my promotion going live, I had one hundred friend requests and one hundred messages. This didn't seem like too big of a deal, considering how many Xbox Live members exist… until I found out, oh, wait, one hundred is the limit for both messages and requests. Turns out I had WAY more than that. For every message I deleted, another one came in right behind it.
Here's a quick breakdown of the plethora of messages I received:
• 50% - Extremely nice messages/Compliments from excited gamers.
• 38% - Charming notes from bold English professors, like this:
• 7% - Angry, mean messages mostly regarding the 100 friends cap. Apparently, that is my fault. (Sorry, everyone.)
• 4% - Inaudible voice messages.
• 1% - Pictures of male genitalia.
With these messages in mind, I became slightly nervous, convinced I would be spending the majority of the event deflecting pick-up lines from the types of gamers who probably didn't buy DoA: Xtreme Beach Volleyball for the volleyball.
In fact, it can be bad enough playing as an anonymous female in online multiplayer matches. I stay away from games like Modern Warfare 2 online since, from my experience, the judgments, jokes and insults start flying once some opponents discover I'm a chick. I can only laugh along with them for so long before I start shaking my anti-misogyny gaffi stick over my head and then quickly log off before my Tusken Raider battle cry worries the neighbours. I figured it would be twice as bad playing with individuals who knew my identity.
Thankfully, I was completely proven wrong.
The first lobby was quiet. Only one or two players were willing to speak. But using the approachable personality and naturally infectious laughter that I'm famous for to beguile them into a bust-out-the-keg comfort zone, a few more came out of their shell and soon began saying things to me like, "Who are you again?" Things loosened up and nearly everyone was chatting. I played round after round with cool, mature gamers who behaved themselves and (thankfully) endured my sarcasm. My teammates stuck by my side and, while I won't claim that certain opposing teammates ganged up on me, I will absolutely hint at it. (You know who you are!) The best part was the complete absence of humiliating questions and rude comments.
Let's throw on our analysing hats and our online social interaction psychology clam diggers for a moment and consider the results of this coincidental experiment. One would think that after receiving so many ballsy, juvenile messages to my "Game with Fame" gamertag that at least one person during the event would have acted similarly. But they didn't. My in-game, voice-to-voice interactions were very courteous and rather timid. If only I could enjoy the same chivalry when playing on my private gamertag with an unknown identity, where, instead, it is more common to be told I am ugly, unwelcome, and stupid.
While it is disheartening that so many disrespectful gamers exist and make the unfortunate decision each day to open their fat traps, it's also extremely refreshing to know so many gamers are not like that – like the ones in my "Game with Fame" event. As a female gamer, I can't express my appreciation enough. You nice guys out there make online gaming experiences much more enjoyable for gals like me.
Quick note! If you ever feel like trying a "Game with Fame" event, keep in mind how quickly the host's friends list will fill up. Admittedly, it was pretty difficult to sift through the multitude of messages and gamertags to see who was actually serious about playing.
The event was a really positive experience. Thanks again to everyone who participated and did not send me pictures of their genitals. It means a lot.
Lisa Foiles is best known as the former star of Nickelodeon's award-winning comedy show, All That. She currently works as a graphic designer and writes for her game site, Save Point. For more info, visit Lisa's official website.