Despite the video game industry being worth nearly $200 billion, there’s still a pervasive stereotype that only men who still live in their parents’ basement and teenage boys are gamers.
Of course, people with any sense know this to be false. According to data collected by the Interactive Software Federation of Europe, as of 2021, 47% of gamers in Europe, including the UK, are women, with a whopping 72% of people aged 15-24 playing video games. Video games are so popular that in 2021 the industry was worth an estimated $200 billion, which makes the gaming industry bigger than both the music and movie businesses combined.
Given the size and scope of the video game industry, it makes sense that there would also be LGBTQ+ gamers. In fact, 21% of the people working in the UK gaming industry identify as LGBTQ+, a figure which might account for why video games have become more LGBTQ+ inclusive. Huge blockbuster releases such as Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us: Part 2, the on-going Life is Strange series, favourites such as Dragon Age and Mass Effect, and that old stalwart The Sims all provide gamers with much needed queer representation.
Naturally, queer gamers don’t need queer characters in video games in order to enjoy playing their favourite titles (although it doesn’t hurt). This is certainly true for Emma. As a gamer and content creator, she is immersed in the world of gaming, playing everything from Tomb Raider to Demon’s Souls, and streaming it all to her legion of followers. Gaming impacts everything, from the people who inspire her to the clothes she wears.
Nevertheless, the hangover from that old stereotype about gamers still lingers. That’s why GAY TIMES, in partnership with Klarna, sat down with Emma to find out more about her love of gaming, how it impacts her style and what advice she has for any queer people wanting to venture in the wide world of gaming.
Hi Emma, how would your friends describe you?
This is a tough question. I asked my best friend and she said, “Naturally funny and clever, always available to listen to a moan and gives solid advice, also – she’s a big fan of a voice note.” I’ll humbly accept that and agree that I do love a voice note. It’s like Emma’s podcast time to tell my friends some ridiculous thing that’s happened to me that day, or to reply to texts because I’m too lazy to type. I like to think I can cheer my friends up. That’s the most important thing to me.
How did you first get into gaming?
I got into gaming as a toddler through my dad. He showed me Tomb Raider and I fell in love with Lara Croft and her sass. In my head, I was completing those games by myself at three years old. The reality is, I was making Lara run into walls and fall off bridges and my parents were likely doing most of the work for me. But those memories are so fond. I was lucky to have an original PlayStation and N64 at a very young age and dive into some iconic titles, including Super Mario 64.
How would you say that gaming influences your style?
Because I hoard so many gaming-related items of clothing like graphic tees, crop tops, hoodies, I tend to incorporate them into my everyday style because that’s how I’m most comfortable. Fortunately, many pieces I’ve managed to collect are subtle but still cute. For example, I have a little white cropped t-shirt with Pikachu embroidered on the front that goes down a treat with any outfit – I’ve worn it out to clubs and bars before. Gaming fashion is always suitable, if you ask me.
Who are the people you take inspiration from and what do you love about them?
In the world of gaming, I take the biggest inspiration from Elz the Witch. She’s a creator I’ve admired for years and one of the people that gave me the confidence to get into creating gaming content. I love how she incorporates gaming into her own personal style through cool cropped tees. Her home décor also really embraces her femininity, and she has been so unapologetically herself in a space that has historically been very critical of women.
What’s the best thing you’ve ever bought as a gamer?
It’s so hard to pick one but I’ll go for the obvious and say my PS5. It felt like I was fighting tooth and nail to get my hands on one, and once I did, I felt like it opened the door for me into content creation. My PS4 was very old and struggling to stay alive while I was originally making videos, so my PS5 made it so much easier. Not to mention it’s allowed me to play so many incredible games, some of which are now my favourites like Returnal and Demon’s Souls.
What’s your favourite shopping feature on the Klarna app and why?
For gaming, getting notifications when prices drop is super useful. It’s a feature I get the most benefit from. Games and equipment for streaming can be quite pricey, so it’s great to get notified when a game in my backlog has come down in price so I can swoop in and grab it, although that doesn’t help with the problem of having no time to play them all. Everyone loves a delivery tracker too. It makes you feel like a kid on Christmas – waiting underneath the letterbox for the postman to deliver a new game is a feeling like no other.
Given that you can shop anywhere in the Klarna app, what are your favourite retailers to shop for gaming gear?
I’d say ASOS is my top retailer through the Klarna app – their variety of products coupled with the next-day delivery works for me. I’m a sucker for any gaming-related clothing and accessories. I have found so many gems on ASOS. My usual habit is to type in “gaming” or “PlayStation” into ASOS and see what pops up. Amazon is also an essential one for me, too, as most of my technical setup for the streaming side of things has been put together with products from Amazon, such as my capture card, camera and microphone arm.
What advice would you give someone looking to get into gaming?
I’d say try not to get too overwhelmed and start small. There’s so much to play and so many different types of games on different platforms that you’re bound to find something you like. Start with what your personal interests and passions are and work from there. I grew up loving sci-fi, adventure and fantasy movies, so it’s no surprise to me that my favourite games reflect these genres. Figure out what you want from gaming, whether that’s to relax or to be challenged, and go from there.
Shop Emma’s Gamer collection in the Klarna app here. With the Klarna app, you can create your own wishlist, get price drop notifications and can even spread the cost into 3 interest-free payments when you do decide to checkout via the Klarna app.
Klarna’s Pay in 3 instalments credit agreements are not regulated by the FCA. Use of these and any missed payments may affect your ability to obtain credit from Klarna and other lenders. 18+, UK residents only. Subject to status. T&Cs apply. klarna.com/uk/terms-and-conditions.