This classic GameCola article was originally published in January 2009.
Hey, everyone! For last year’s January issue, I wrote a story starring GameCola staff members. And this year, I’ve done it again!
Or, the Ly “Sis” Strata
The story of how GameCola was conquered in a feminist revolution, then restored to normal.
Vangie Rich was bored out of her mind.
For a moment, she felt like strangling her boyfriend. It was his idea to send her to the Girl Gamer Conference. “It’ll be great for your column!” he said.
He conveniently had forgotten to mention that gamer conferences were nothing but a collection of super nerds dressed up in stupid costumes. So far, Vangie had seen forty girls dressed up like Stupid Pink Princess. Or maybe it was Barbie. Vangie couldn’t tell the difference, and, quite frankly, she didn’t care.
The fact that it was a girl-only convention didn’t help matters. Nerds were nerds, no matter what the gender. Throw in the fact that all the games that were being shown were boring as heck—Vangie hadn’t even heard of half of them—and you could easily see how there was nothing to do but walk around and wait for the conference to end.
Vangie turned her head. A woman with a stern face and clipped brown hair was staring at her.
“Yeah,” Vangie said. “I’m not that into the whole gaming thing, to be honest.”
“But your boyfriend sent you here, because he thought it’d be a great way for the two of you to bond.”
“Something like that,” Vangie said. To be honest, she didn’t feel like telling her life story to a total stranger.
The woman held out her hand. “I’m Ly Strata,” she said. “You can call me Sis. I’m going to change all that.”
Ly winked at Vangie. “Make sure to be there when I give my speech at 2:00. You’ll see what I mean.”
Ly disappeared into the crowd. Vangie stared at the spot where she had been standing. Maybe something interesting would happen at the conference after all.
Apparently, Ly Strata was one of the people who had planned the convention. She took the stage amongst a spattering of polite applause, and held up a hand for silence.
“Fellow ladies, I am glad to see so many of you here,” Ly said. “I was hoping for a great turnout. I purposely arranged for this entire conference so I could get together as big a group of girls as possible, because I have something very, very important to tell you.”
“As far as girls are concerned…videogames are pure crap!” she shouted.
The entire hall went quiet.
“Let’s face it,” Ly went on. “The videogame industry doesn’t care about girls at all. Videogames are completely sexist. If a game has a female character, she’s weak, helpless and gets kidnapped, or else she’s a blatant sex object.”
“Prove it!” someone called.
“I will,” Ly responded. “I bet if I went through the archives of Michael Gray’s column “The Ten Reasons,” practically every single female character would fit into one of those two categories.”
Helpless Kidnapped Females:
April: Not only is she kidnapped and saved by the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but she’s also rumored to have intercourse with them.
Blatant Sex Objects:
I thought Agitha wasn’t a sex object, but after reading Sprite Monkey’s comment on that column, I changed my mind.
“As if that’s not enough proof, consider how videogames reward men for being perverts. Think about Metroid. Beat the game in four hours, and see Samus take off her helmet. Beat the game in under two hours, and see her take off everything but her underwear. And if you do really well at Grand Theft Auto, you get to see women get RAPED as a reward. Oh, wait. Did I say really well? I meant if you play the game for over fifteen minutes.
“Why do we put up with this? Why do we let our husbands and boyfriends and brothers constantly perpetuate this sexism? They waste their entire lives on videogames, while we sit there and do nothing about the fact that they care more about a damn MACHINE than they care about us. A machine that teaches them that women are inferior sex slaves! Well, I’ve had enough! I say we put a stop to guys and videogames!!”
“How?” someone asked.
“We draw the line,” Ly said. “We give them a choice: videogames or girls. No dates, no kissing, no ANYTHING until they agree to give up videogames forever! DOWN WITH VIDEOGAMES AND MALES! UP WITH FEMINISM!”
“GirlCola?” Paul Franzen asked in disbelief. He had gotten a lot of strange e-mails in his career as GameCola’s head editor, but this was the weirdest one by far.
Some random person named Ly Strata had sent Paul a cease-and-desist letter, demanding that he immediately delete all articles about videogames, and change the magazine to suit a female audience.
Paul figured the best way to avoid any trouble was to make something up. That’s up to the writers, Paul wrote back. You’d have to convince them all to stop writing about videogames. I can’t change things without their permission.
“That’s the end of that,” Paul said to himself.
Three months later, Paul had to admit that he was wrong.
“What do you think of this dress?” Lizo asked. “Do you like it?”
The dress looked fine, nothing spectacular, but spending the last four hours watching his girlfriend try on dresses had turned Paul’s brain to mush.
Lizo frowned. “Don’t look so sad, Paul.”
“GameCola is gone,” he said. “I’ve been working on it for nearly six years, and now I don’t control it anymore.”
“I’m not too thrilled about that Strata woman taking over, either,” Lizo said. “But try to be positive. Do you know how much more time we’ll have to spend together, now that you’ve stopped playing videogames? And now that you aren’t spending hundreds of dollars on your Xbox, you can afford to buy me some new dresses!”
“Great,” Paul muttered to himself.
One by one, all the GameCola writers had surrendered to the revolution. The first to fall had been Eric Regan. His sister Genevieve had threatened to reveal some embarrassing photos of him. Vangie had managed to convert her boyfriend in a matter of days. It was a few weeks before Meteo cracked under the pressure, and Matt and Alex soon followed suit.
Paul had tried to remain firm. After all, as head editor, people looked to him for inspiration and support. But three months of constant e-mail attacks from angry feminists, three months without being able to kiss his girlfriend…it was more than he could bear. More than any man could bear.
So he had given up. Earlier that morning, he surrendered. He signed the form Ly Strata had sent, agreeing to all of her demands.
GameCola was now officially dead.
Ly Strata smiled to herself as she read the contract Paul had signed. GameCola was now hers. The writers had put up a minor resistance, but their leader had finally given in. The weak fools.
Of course they’re weak. They’re men, she thought to herself.
Ly went straight to the office and handed the contract to her secretary, Cal Inike. “File this with the other contracts,” she ordered.
“Yes, Ma’am,” Cal said.
“Ah, Cally,” Ly said. “Isn’t it glorious? We have completely defeated GameCola. Not one man remains.”
“Not to contradict you,” Cal said, going through the files. “But it’s not over yet. There’s still one hold-out left.”
“Who?” Ly demanded.
“One of the columnists,” she said. “Michael Gray.”
Ly Strata nearly had a heart attack when she saw the newest edition of GirlCola. All the articles were perfect, except the two by Michael Gray. Not only did he have the audacity to continue writing about videogames, but he had some pretty mouthy things to say about the website’s new direction, too.
If Ly Strata wants to force a choice between girls and videogames, he wrote, all she succeeds in doing is lowering women’s status to the level of inanimate objects. And this from a so-called feminist! Now I know why her name is “Ly.” It’s short for “Liar.”
“DAMN HIM!” Ly yelled, slamming her hand against the table. “He’s ruining my perfect website! Why hasn’t he given in yet?!”
“I have no idea,” Cal said.
“All the others fell! I kept their girlfriends away from them! I made sure the single ones could never find dates! Why can Michael survive that when the others can’t?”
“We’re talking about the guy who’s made over 100 Nancy Drew videos,” Cal said. “Isn’t it obvious? Michael Gray has never had a girlfriend! Threatening to take away his girlfriend and all his dates means absolutely nothing to him! He hasn’t been on a date in years, if at all!”
“This isn’t good,” Ly said. “I can’t start my feminist revolution and destroy all videogames forever if there’s a holdout. Schedule me a meeting with this Michael! I’ll have to talk to him in person.”
The meeting between Michael Gray and Ly Strata took place later that week.
“Michael Gray,” Ly said.
“Ly Strata,” Michael said.
“Look, I want you to know that I’m not the bad guy here,” Ly began.
“Bad guy,” Michael snorted. “Why is it that if someone is bad, you automatically assume that person’s a guy? Sexist.”
Ly frowned. “Listen, Michael. There’s no need for us to be enemies. In fact, as a gesture of friendship, I arranged things so we could start this conference off according to GameCola custom.”
“GameCola custom?” Michael asked.
“Sure,” Ly said, pulling out two gallon-sized bottles of alcohol. “Let’s get super-drunk, then talk.”
“GameCola writers don’t start things off by getting drunk,” Michael said.
“Really?” Ly asked. “How do you explain The Gates of Life, then? Have you tried to follow the plot of that story?”
“No,” Michael said.
“Oh,” Ly said. “Well, in any case, I’ve complied with the other GameCola custom of constipating myself for a week before the meeting. That way, I’m completely full of crap, just like all the GameCola articles.”
Michael smacked his forehead. “That’s not a GameCola custom, either!”
Ly cocked an eyebrow. “OK, Michael, now I know you’re just messing with me. You have seen Be Careful What You Search For, right?”
“Did you have a reason for coming here, or did you just want to insult GameCola?” Michael asked.
“I came to convince you to stop writing for GameCola,” Ly said. “Not because it’s a stupid website, and nobody reads it except for the writers. I need you to stop because videogames are ruining people’s minds. Don’t you understand that videogames are sexist?”
“I understand that,” Michael said. “In fact, I once thought about writing a column about it.”
“Good,” Ly said. “So you’ll stop writing for GameCola?”
“No,” Michael said.
Michael stood up dramatically. He wrote this story, so he knew this was the part where he had to make a big dramatic speech that would convince everyone that videogames are OK, and that GameCola should be allowed to exist.
“You see, Miss Strata, feminists like you have it all wrong. Sure, some videogames are blatantly sexist. But that’s not every videogame. The only people who buy those sexist games are horny losers who don’t have lives. REAL gamers don’t care about that stuff; they care about smashing enemies and crashing cars and beating the crap out of your buddies in multiplayer so you can brag about it for the next two months. Getting rid of all videogames just because some of them are bad is like burning down a library because you don’t like one or two books. Why, videogames is something that makes America great, like hot dogs and Coca-Cola and media obsessions over people like Britney Spears and overpriced college textbooks and Spongebob Squarepants and lactose intolerance and the nice warm feeling you get when you put on pants that are fresh from the dryer. That’s what America is all about!”
“Wow,” Ly said. “I never thought of it that way.”
“So will you tear up those contracts and let GameCola return to normal?” Michael asked.
“I have something better in mind,” Ly said.
Shortly afterwards, Michael found himself tied to a stake, with a raging fire beneath him.
“NOOOOOO!!!” Michael screamed. “DON’T KILL ME!!!”
“It’s too late for you!” Ly cried. “Die, videogamer, DIE!”
Ly Strata and her friends danced around the flames, cheering at their victory. Soon, a crowd of people gathered to watch. Most of them were GameCola writers.
“What’s going on?” Vangie Rich asked.
“They’re killing Michael Gray!” Zach Rich—no relation to Vangie—said.
“Good,” Meteo Xavier said. “I can’t believe that jerk gave Final Fantasy VI a bad review.”
“They’re not killing him because of the review—they’re killing him because he likes videogames!”
“This is all your fault, Vangie!” Carl accused. “Ly Strata only decided to take over GameCola because of you!”
Vangie rolled her eyes. “You guys are idiots. I’ll take care of this.”
Vangie walked up to the dancing Ly Strata and grabbed her shoulder. “STOP THIS!” she yelled.
“NEVER!” Ly shouted. “VIDEOGAMERS MUST DIE!”
“You’ve got it all wrong!” Vangie Rich said. “Sure, videogames are sexist, and a stupid, crappy waste of time. That’s the point! If it wasn’t for videogames and sports, our boyfriends would be bugging us 24-7! Haven’t you noticed? Guys are like little kids. All they do is whine about stupid stuff all the time. We need them to play videogames every once in a while in order to get a break from them! That’s what videogames are for.”
“Ohhhh….” the crowd said.
“Hey, she’s right!” somebody shouted.
“Videogames do keep me out of trouble,” Paul admitted.
Ly Strata’s eyes filled with tears as she realized the mistake she had made. “I’m sorry,” she said to everyone. “I thought that by getting rid of videogames, I could make the world a better place. Now I see that the world is just fine the way it is.”
“I’m going to tear up all those contracts,” Ly said. “From now on, GameCola is officially going back to the way it used to be!”
Everyone cheered. And as a symbol of her good will, Ly treated everyone to a free dinner at TGI Friday’s.
And they all lived happily ever after, except for Michael Gray, who died at the stake because nobody got him down in time. You guys are all jerks for forgetting about saving me.