Bloodrayne: How Periods Affect My Gaming Habits

There’s a crime scene in my pants and I’m going to talk about it.

This story was originally published in May 2016.

It isn’t difficult to find a cornucopia of articles and advice online when it comes to our monthly Red Weddings – pain relief tricks, comfort food tips and even movies to help us forget that there is blood leaking from our lady caves. Even so, these pieces tend to be airbrushed, mostly with cartoons and diagrams. Alternatively, we are presented with pastel shaded photographs of North Shore types sipping green tea underneath their cashmere throws.

That isn’t to say that periods aren’t occasionally brought to the forefront of our Facebook timelines. Articles that highlight period shaming, as well as the societal impact of it, do periodically emerge. Sometimes celebrity names will even be thrown into the mix to normalise what is, ironically, one of the most natural and widely experienced things in existence. The menstrual flood gates were even opened on Reddit back in 2014 when women began purposely posting en masse about the realities of blood clumps and period shits after the TwoXChromosomes subreddit was infiltrated by sexist trolls.

Unsurprisingly, I haven’t been able to find much written about periods in relation to video games. When you take an industry that’s largely dominated by a patriarchal mentality and add a topic that is often still considered to be taboo and ‘gross’, this is to be expected.

I can’t speak for other women out there, because we all have different experiences when it comes to our own personal brand of box wine. However, I can disclose that my periods noticeably effect me both physically and emotionally. This is exacerbated by the fact that I combat endometriosis by using The Pill to control my red sea like mother fucking Poseidon. The downside of acting in this god-like fashion is that when I do allow my period to emerge once every three months, it returns with a vengeance. It makes any FromSoftware game seem like a charming, player-friendly jaunt. There’s a reason they called it Bloodborne.

As someone who places a great deal of importance on emotions when it comes to games, it makes sense that I’m influenced by my periods. PMS is a real and perfectly legitimate thing, regardless of what society might tell us. Frankly, I’m sick of downplaying its impact, pretending it doesn’t exist and feeling like it’s something to be ashamed of. We don’t “just” have an abundance of hormones messing with us and we don’t “just” have blood gushing from our Xboxes. These things are there, and that’s perfectly okay.

For me, PMS can manifest either before or during the blood bath and can transform me into a raging harpy or a crying mess. It’s super fun, especially when I have to then justify or explain it. Interestingly, I have found that my penchant for certain genres will change depending on my period-induced mood.

If I’m erring on the side of sad and emotional, I will gravitate towards titles that are heavy handed with the narrative and characterisation. That’s the reality of my situation right now and I’m finding solace in the likes of Oxenfree, Firewatch and Stardew Valley. Although the latter isn’t exactly a revelation in storytelling, I have found myself really connecting to the little town, which is appealing to the Period Monster. I will also find comfort in old favourites, particularly open world RPGs such as Dragon Age, Mass Effect and The Elder Scrolls series.

However, when I am being fuelled by a blood-induced rage on certain months, gratuitously violent FPS games are the only way to satiate me. Wolfenstein: The Old Blood is an aptly named favourite, which I think goes back to the notion of comfort. This game is reminiscent of the old school FPS titles of my childhood, so it feels like a safe and familiar space to release the tension. I also having a feeling the the new Doom will be on high rotation in the future for the same reason. On the odd occasion when I need something a little lighter, I might revisit Fallout 3, although this has been somewhat replaced by laying waste to street scum in The Division of late. I don’t know what would even happen if I rode into the DZ on my cotton pony – it’s a terrifying thought experiment.

I’m hoping that this short exercise in oversharing will make my fellow lady gamers out there feel more comfortable in sharing their experiences. Furthermore, I’m seeing it as an opportunity to score some fantastic game recommendations. What do you play when your uterus is defragging?


    The menstrual flood gates were even opened on Reddit back in 2014 when women began purposely posting en masse about the realities of blood clumps and period shits after the TwoXChromosomes subreddit was infiltrated by sexist trolls

    I can't not think this can't be applied to Kotaku AU as well, sexist trolls is too nice a term for some of commenters hanging around here.

      Considering one of your posts on a recent article here was to declare that people couldn't respond to something simply because it came from a woman, I wouldn't be so quick to call other people sexist. How about let's just not insult other readers in unrelated articles and talk about the topic instead?

      Last edited 03/05/16 1:50 pm

        Play nicely, you two.

          I think 'let's talk about the article and not each other' falls under that category pretty nicely =)

    Great article Tegan. Topics like this should be talked about openly and not hidden in shame.

    That's one impressive collection of euphemisms.

      I think that if she has blood gushing from her xbox, that's got to be a matter for Microsoft's warranty department

        Or another visit back to EB's pre-owned department.

        Isn't that the plot of one of those Paranormal Activity films? At least that's what the trailer suggested.

    "There’s a crime scene in my pants and I’m going to talk about it." pls don't

    I kid, interesting article, though i feel people always tend to gravitate to certain genres according to their emotions regardless of the cause.

    Last edited 03/05/16 1:25 pm

    My balls get itchy when im in-game
    its hard to scratch them and not die


      You gotta get one of those Thermaltake keyboards with the fans.

      Just extend those fans down to your gonads for those intense gaming sessions.

      Perhaps try some of that special shampoo. It could help clear up that condition pretty quickly.

    I find I play better at cod when I'm holding in a big turd or pee

      maybe it helps you relate better to the CoD playerbase?

        No wonder everyone's yelling at each other and saying they're full of crap.

    I have absolutely already used a gif of that to respond to someone trolling the article. Hive mind!

      I'm curious, did you intend the article more rhetorically or are you expecting questions? I don't have any myself but knowing the internet I can see that venturing into personal territory pretty quickly.

      As for game recommendations (from a guy), Journey (if you have a PS) and Kentucky Route Zero are pretty good on the beauty/emotion side of things. For violence, the Overwatch open beta starts soon and the game comes out later this month. Maybe a bit left field, but I always found the visceral combat of Diablo 3 pretty satisfying, especially when you take out a few hundred enemies at once!

    Alright, I guess I will help.
    I suffer from immensely painful periods and I have to take the pill to prevent them from being so painful. I once ended up having to take 10 advil just to ease the pain. If I didn't take the pain killers in time, I would end up in so much pain I would begin to dry retch. This would mean that I wouldn't get much gaming done.
    As regards to whether or not it makes me play certain games, I don't think it really affects me. As long as I take the tablets, I am okay.

    @zombiejesus I'm always keen for more titles to add to the shame pile! I guess I was mostly curious to see if any other ladies out there were drawn to specific titles or genres whilst perioding.

    Funnly enough my partner and I just started running through Diablo III again as local co-op which has been great for mindless fun! I have also been having some with Overwatch recently :D

    As a man who knows at least 2 females I think I'm more than capable for speaking for everyone when I say that periods clearly don't exist. now back to your cooking marios and super mamas and your totally not socially taboo bodily functions

    Great read. So many metaphors I've never considered.

    I am definitely more competitive when I have PMS so play will play whatever FPS I have installed. I think I get a little more vocal and there may be more swearing.

    I've definitely noticed differences in womens' moods across a cycle (and been given appropriate instructions on how to respond to those, which I'm grateful for), but never thought about the impact it might have on gaming.

    That seems like a difficult subject to broach for the sake of idle curiosity. People can get pretty sensitive about that.

    Last edited 03/05/16 3:51 pm

    Imagine what other effects it has in the real world (workplace, for example).

    Staying away from this one lol just like my missus when she is going through it :P

    I ate too much dried fruit and did runny poos, no effect on my gaming so far.

    but do you feel guilty about pirating game of thrones?

    My gf reckons her WoW transmog varies in skimpiness depending on where she is on her lunar cycle.

    My other half is going to cop every new euphemism in this post.

    Box wine, it's so good.

    Last edited 04/05/16 11:10 am

    Please don't ever change. This is the best article I have ever read on Kotaku.

    So not going to lie, I instantly had a dry heave moment (though if I am being honest it wasn't about the period perse, as much as I am a massive sook when it comes to anyones blood that isn't mine). However this article was at least an interesting insight into why my female friends and why every once in a while they will hard push for out group to play super violent games.

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