Rather rare, similar to girl geeks, and there is likely a lot of overlap between the two.

Even more rare are hard-core girl gamers, the ones who really like a large variety of games, and aren't afraid to admit it. They're the ones you see kicking some behind on Quake, or otherwise getting that kind of attention.

Many girls who play online don't like making their gender known because of the hordes of adolescents who somehow think they have to treat them differently, or that they're somehow special.

I'm one of that group. I suspect it had something to do with both of my parents being into games - I spent plenty of days with the old TI-99/4a computer working on the Scott Adams Adventure games, or the Infocom classics, and later on we fought a little (though in a friendly way) over who got to play the latest RPG on the Super Nintendo.

I also seem to notice there are very few girls who play in Nomics, whether here, or anywhere else on the internet.

One thing I've noticed about us when playing net games like Diablo II is that we seem to do better than the guys at that whole cooperation thing; we "play well with others". Every single time I've played in a party instead of by myself, and found it worth my time and effort, has been with other girls. Maybe it's just due to the abnormally high number of teenage morons doing all that stupid stuff that's got me thinking this way, but the only players I've enjoyed working enough to write their account/character name down for playing with later happened to be estrogen-based. Maybe it's the tendency to share fairly, not be a hero and run ahead and do it all, and the fun little chatter during playing that does it...

One of the rarest catagories I found (mainly by virtue of belonging in it) is the RPG Girl. This is someone who GMs Whitewolf with the best of them; this is someone who made it past the door into the Tomb of Horrors (though to be honest, not very much farther) in AD&D. There is a decided dearth of RPG Girls around, which is probably the reason why most female characters in RPGs are either 2-dimensional idiots with usually nothing better on their mind than trying to sleep with anything that breathes (now tell me that's not transparent, folks), insipid little princesses who, due to severe inbreeding, have less brains than a turnip, or innocent little girls who are so pathetically weak it's not even funny; the only thing they're ever allowed to do is cast cure spells.
This crosses over into video games as well, but what do you expect? As I think Saige mentioned above, they are catering to a specific crowd. Still, what can you do? Don't get me wrong- I'm not a feminist (or a Feminazi). I'm just telling things the way I see it.
Thank you, this now concludes my daily rant. G'night, folks.
I personally wish that there were more girl gamers out there. This is not solely because it would be much easier for me to find a date, but that's a lot of it. There is some hard scientific evidence that in general, girls are at a biological disadvantage when it comes to the FPS games that are so rapantly popular these days.

It turns out that, while women are naturally better at things like communication and emotional perception, they tend to suffer when it comes to spacial reasoning. For instance, an experiment conducted by a Dr. Ruben Gur (see the interview transcript at http://www.dana.org/dabi/transcripts/eyb_0298.html) consisted of the following.

Hold up a cup of water. Now, suppose the cup is tilted. The subject is then shown lines in different orientations and is asked to pick out the one that matches the level of the water when the cup is tilted. Even men with relatively low intelligence will find it simple and give the correct answer immediately. Women, even very intelligent ones, will still give the correct answer (the water remains level) but often have to think about it for a lot longer.

This carries over to the game genres that require lots of spacial ability like Quake and all it's descendants. Women tend to shun this type of game because, thanks to mean 'ol Mr. Evloution, they are not naturals at it like most men tend to be.

This, of course, by no means rules them out of puzzle games and RPG's like Final Fantasy, which correspondingly tend to be much more popular with women.

ApoxyButt begs the question: sure, you can do all sorts of tests that show that on average, men have better spatial orientation than women. However, this says nothing as to the cause thereof: nature or nuture? In other words, genetic or learned/cultural?

The very fact that there are females with outstanding spatial reasoning, and males who are lacking (my husband is one of them), points towards this gender difference being a culture-related thing.

Think about it. Traditionally and stereotypically, boys are encouraged to play physical sports, play computer and console games, and to play with building toys. Girls, on the other hand, have typically been discouraged from playing physical sports, from playing electronic games that build spatial sense (shooters and the like, usually somewhat violent), and from playing with building toys (instead, they are encouraged to play "house", to play with dolls, etc.).

Fortunately, there are parents out there who do not raise their children in this fashion. My parents were one of them. I had lego bricks, and lots of them. Sure, I played with My Little Ponies, but I also played Super Mario Brothers, Spyhunter, and The Legend of Zelda. I had sword fights with the kid next door. My dad taught me how to use firearms.

I've heard of the experiment with the cups and the water, only it was in a Discover magazine. They found that people who worked in restaurants and the like were more likley to draw the water line as about to spill over, whereas people in calmer jobs (bank teller, for example) usually drew it level. Go figure.

So the next time you're playing with your daughter or niece or friend's daughter, remember that you have to start early, and engage them in something that will build their spatial sense.

Not only do girl gamers exist, but I've met quite a few in person. I know of a few from each genre of game I've played who were more than capable of kicking my ass in that game. There is something in girls that give them an innate ability to kick the collective asses of most guy gamers. It's pretty disheartening, to lose a one on one deathmatch, then have the victor come over, give you a hug, and say in a sweet voice "good game!".

It's quite possible that it goes back to the schoolboy/girl mentality of "you lost to a girl?", which is something that most schoolboys would like to avoid hearing if at all possible. There are plenty of young female athletes who are more than capable of kicking the asses of their male counterparts, and when this occurs, the boys will usually get teased (almost exclusively by other boys).

Video games, are then, the non-athlete's competitive arena. The playing field is more than leveled, as girls seem to possess a distinct natural ability for hand-eye coordination, and twitch reflexes; even while on average inferior to males in terms of strength, video games are not measures of strength, they are measures of quick thinking and reflexes.

So next time you do lose to a girl in Quake 3, Unreal Tournament, or Starcraft, don't get upset. Realize that it's more than likely that you are the one with the disadvantage. Take that "good game!" and hug with pride. And failing all else, just think to yourself:

"I let her win."

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