R-POV Feature: Gender in Quake II by Jordan

R-POV Feature: Gender in Quake II by Jordan

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Gender in Quake II
by Jordan

Gender in Quake II

As a female Quake player, making the switch from Quake to Quake II was quite exciting. I loved Quake, but still wished it had a default female model. The first thing I did with Q2 was have a friend model all the female skins for me so I could carefully select my favourite. I felt like I was 6 years old again playing with my Barbie. I chose Cobalt and have used that skin ever since.

At first I didn’t see many female skins on servers, they were definitely a novelty for me. I found theQuake-Cat-Calls amusing… “whoa, you’re hot!” and “nice ass!” were very common. I even had one friend who quickly developed a crush on Jezebel (the blonde)! In fact, once while playing with another female model (Jezebel) one person started a vote as to which of our skins was sexiest. I was thrilled when I (uhm, Cobalt) won!

But I was naive in the beginning and assumed all players using female skins were in fact female players. Perhaps they even were used primarily by females at first. Then a rumour circulated that the female model (being smaller) was harder to hit. Suddenly being female was all the rage, (I won’t bother going into other reasons that guys enjoy using female skins) hence the term “crossquakers“.

Once crossquaking became popular, the only way to (seemingly) separate the gals from the guys was to use a blatantly feminine name. That was until the guys thought it would be fun to name themselves after their favourite flowers. With Rose, Daisy, Lily, Petunia and the like, the Quake community had flourished into a healthy botanical garden.

As a female player with a unisex name… once the crossquaking started I stopped receiving the attention I had gotten in the beginning, and was assumed to be male from that point on. Recently I took on the name “Lily“, just to see if female names had also lost the trust of the Q2 community. I was surprised to find that it had not. As “Jordan“, I blend into the crowd and am barely noticed. As Lily I believe it’s assumed that I’m female. People seem a lot friendlier to Lily. They also assume I can’t play very well. Lily is regularly cheered on, encouraged and the recipient of advice on how to improve her game.

I’m not saying that female players aren’t taken seriously. Many are. And I know I’ve run into a great number of very talented women Quakers. But in my experience…


  • Thought to be male.
  • Taken more seriously as a player.
  • Ignored.
  • Typical phrases heard: Llama! – 0wned! – Stop shooting me!! (hey what can I tell you, it gets confusing when you change teams enough through the course of a game).



  • Thought to be female.
  • Not taken very seriously as a player.
  • Greeted in a friendly manner, applauded, encouraged and helped.
  • Typical phrases heard: Nice shot! – Good job! – Hehe you’re shooting your own team (see Jordan) – It’s ok, it happens! – Are you female? – Do you have ICQ? – GG Lily! :).

Does gender in gaming reflect how you are treated? In my opinion it does. Thinking ahead to Q3A, perhaps I need to find a new name. A cross between the two, one that will both be respected as a player and be treated with kindness (if there is such a thing). Feel free to send in your suggestions. I’ll let you know how they work out!

© 1999 R | POV.


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