Editor’s Note: First note, I know Rishi through Real Women of Gaming, and have been on stream with her several times. I started this series, way back, as a monthly feature intended to prove that women who game were not a myth. Over the years, especially the last two, I came to realize that I was going at this problem I was seeing all wrong. There’s still a disconnect between the reality of women in gaming, and what many people perceive. A recent Pew poll shows that while almost half the gamers out there are women, most men and women still think that it’s a vast majority of men that game. I was doing this to show other gamers the truth, but in reality it’s not the fault of gamers that this myth persists, it’s the fault of our media, the games media that is supposed to inform and support our community. So I’ve shifted gears, and in an effort to counter the media’s constant narrative about how awful it is for women in gaming, and how few there are, I’m going to do what they’re not and share positive stories. Features about the good things women find in this community. Rather than scare off new gamers with horror stories that may or may not be true, I want to give the community something good, so here is our latest in the series. So without further blather from me here is Rinshi, cosplayer and gamer.
Rinshi: My Gamertag (when I actually have one) is Rinshi, and it’s basically how my actual given name would be pronounced in Japanese. The only real significance of that is that I’m interested in Japanese culture, specifically anime and manga.
F&B: We are getting a lot of readers outside the U.S. If you don’t mind everyone knowing, what country do you hail from?
R: I’m from the good ol’ USA
F&B: Gamer guild/clan affiliation?
R: None, really.
F&B: Console or PC? Reason for preference?
R: I guess PC, as I don’t really do much console gaming at all. The main problem I have is that I suffer from motion sickness, so unfortunately a lot of games set that off and just aren’t feasible for me to play.
F&B: When did you start gaming?
R: I started out as a little tyke, playing the NES and Sega Genesis with my brother and a few kids that lived on our street. Paper Boy and Fester’s Quest were where it was at XD
F&B: What got you started in the world of gaming?
R: Again, it was playing with my brother as a kid that gave me that first taste, but what really got me started was getting a system and game of my very own: a GameBoy Color and a copy of Pokemon Yellow back in the year 2000. I still have the receipt from it.
F&B: What is your favorite game?
R: That’s a tough one. I think it’s actually a toss-up between Persona 3 and Persona 4. I just love the Persona series. Persona 3 is where I came into it, and I absolutely loved it. Then Persona 4 came in and built onto what Persona 3 had done in such a wonderful way. Persona 4 also has the dubious honor of containing my favorite ship pairing, haha. Kanji X Naoto forever! My husband and I actually cosplayed Kanji and Naoto at last year’s Otakon, and we had a lot of fun with that.
F&B: Currently playing?
R: At the moment I’m playing a visual novel on the PlayStation Vita called Code: Realize ~Guardian of Rebirth~. I also play 5th edition D&D, and I run a Pathfinder game. Plus I play board games whenever the opportunity arises.
F&B: Most anticipated future release?
R: I don’t really keep much of a finger on the pulse of upcoming video game releases, but I am curious about Pokemon Go, and No Man’s Sky looks really interesting. I do have the new Pokemon 3DS pre-ordered as well. Oh, and there’s a visual novel in the works called Rising Angels: Fates that I voice a character in, so I’m pretty excited for that to come out.
F&B: Build your own or off-the-shelf PC? Any reason for preference?
R: My PC is a custom-built unit that my friend built for me, but it’s quite a few years old at this point so I don’t use it much. It could do with a fair number of upgrades to get it in proper working order again. I like the customizability of building your own unit, though I wouldn’t be opposed to buying one off the shelf if the specs were decent.
F&B: Favorite game type?
R: As far as video games, I like puzzle games, adventure games, and RPGs. With tabletop games I’m willing to give pretty much any system a try. I’m a big fan of BESM d20 and Call of Cthulhu, in addition to more traditional systems like D&D and Pathfinder. I am also a huge board game nerd, and I love, love, love Arkham Horror. I have all of the expansions.
F&B: Favorite game character and what drew you to them?
R: That’s another tough one. I’m kind of ADD when it comes to favorite characters in any media. Once I fall in love with one, another one will come along and grab my attention. I’m like that with cosplays, too. XD Although, the character that I voice in Rising Angels: Fates, Zuri, does have a pretty special place in my heart.
F&B: Have you experienced any issues related to being a female gamer and can you share a memorable good or bad experience?
R: Fortunately I haven’t experienced any major negative issues, although one minor thing that happened to me when I first started tabletop gaming was that I was crossplaying as a male character in a group of mostly male players, and everyone kept assuming that my character was female because I was. That was irritating.
F&B: What advice would you give you ladies who are worried about sharing their love of gaming, or experiencing negativity because they have?
R: My advice is to do what makes you happy, and if sharing your love of gaming is going to help you along that path, then by all means do it. I have made some of my closest friends because of my love of gaming, and it helped me to bond with the man who would one day become my husband. Haters gonna hate, so let you geek flag fly.
F&B: Finally, of all the ladies at RWoG you appear to be the one who favors tabletop RPGs and board games over video games, but you do play casually you say. Do you see a difference as a woman in face-to-face gaming at tables than you do with the video gaming community, more or less acceptance, etc?
R: It’s hard to say because I don’t really play with people that I don’t already know. Even when I do play games that have multiplayer capability, I usually don’t utilize it. I’m an introvert, and actually very shy, so I have trouble interacting with people I don’t know very well. With tabletop and board games, I almost never play them outside of my own home or at a friend’s house. I’ve been to maybe one board game event at a comic store, and that was a lot of fun. I think that, generally, people tend to be nicer in person than online, because there’s something about the anonymity of the internet that gives trolls a license to be jerks. I’ve seen this in the cosplay community as well, where people will use the fact that they’re wearing a mask to try to get away with inappropriate behavior. When you’re just face-to-face with someone, I think you become more of a person in their eyes.