We may be toying with the body when we play, but we remain fl esh as we become machines. (Lahti 2003: 169)

Virtual worlds and computer games (CG) in general seem to provide users myriad choices to create (‘write’) their own ‘Second Lives’. It is arguable, however, that the choices and tools we receive as users of New Media are more limited than they appear at fi rst, and that the gendered messages that are semiotically and linguistically encoded in virtual worlds and CG, by virtue of their being naturalized in the mainstream discourse about CG, not only affect our experience of gameplay, but also defi ne the construction of gamers’ identities and create a gate-keeping mechanism that ultimately determines the extent to which virtual communities become (or not) gender-inclusive.