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-   -   [INTERVIEW] - Girls, Games, Geeks and the Industry. (http://www.evilavatar.com/forums/showthread.php?t=6956)

bapenguin 11-10-2005 05:13 AM

[INTERVIEW] - Girls, Games, Geeks and the Industry.
 
Girls, Games, Geeks and the Industry
by Nicholas "bapenguin" Puleo

Women in gaming seem to be a hot topic lately. While most are excited that women seem to be coming out of the closet with their gaming habits, a lot of people aren't surprised by a woman gamer. Some see it as simple attention whoring. Others see it as an opportunity for gaming to grow. There's been a change in society over the passed couple of years, games are having a greater acceptance; gaming is suddenly cool. Part of this may be attributed to the fact that the gamers of the 80's are now adults. They are now in the working world and now have their own disposable income instead of an allowance or a paper route.

To some longtime hardcore gamers though, this shift is a bad thing. Hardcore gamers feel they are losing their industry, that it will become watered down, too mainstream. They don’t want to see the MTV of gaming. Gamers will lose their niche titles, their inside jokes, and the joy they found in their passed time.

We are seeing a change, whether it’s for the better or for the worse is yet to be seen. But with more and more Women finding their way into the gaming world, whether it’s through stereotypical means likes Hearts and the Sims 2 or whether through breakthrough means like Quake 4 and Halo 2. This is a good thing, it can help the industry. They can help grow games in a different direction, into something new and fresh and hopefully with a broad appeal.

I was introduced to a few girls from the PMS Clan at a recent press event in NYC for the Xbox 360. After talking with them for a bit, I came to realize these girls wanted the same things from games I wanted. Most of the women in my life have never been gamers, my sister always played Mario and Sonic and similar adventure type titles growing up. My wife, she dabbled here and there but most games don’t hold her interest for very long. So for me personally, it was interesting to meet real hardcore girl gamers. I asked V3NUS from PMS, “What kind of games do you girls like to play?” Her response shocked me, “Any game that has guns in it.” Guys, we’ve all been there. It’s a Friday night; the guys are all hanging out, playing games talking drinking and having a good time. And there’s the one guys wife or girlfriend that’s there playing along with you. And you’ve either said it, or you’ve thought it: “Your wife/girlfriend is so cool that she plays video games with you.”

So with all this recent interest and media exposure lately, I wanted to dig a little deeper. I got to chat it up with Amber, AKA AthenaTwin from the PMS Clan to get the details.


bapenguin: Hello AthenaTwin, how are you? Could you please introduce yourself?
AthenaTwin: I am Athena Twin, Athena is my sister. And, I am doing fantastic now that you are here! :)
bapenguin: Excellent! Glad I could make your morning. So what is your role with the PMS clan?
AthenaTwin: I am clan leader of PMS clan, the largest female clan in the world. Our mission is to provide a fun & competitive environment to female gamers in the gaming community.
bapenguin: As of now, how many female members are there in PMS?
AthenaTwin: We number over 400 females at this time in 3 platforms: Xbox, PlayStation & PC.
bapenguin: I've been curious, PMS. What does it stand for? Or do I know already? :)
AthenaTwin: lol, you might and you might not. PMS Stands for Pandora's Mighty Soldiers....it use to stand for Psychotic Man Slayerz, but a lot of people though that was "man-hating". We LOVE men, and we did not want to misrepresent what we were about so we changed it this year.
bapenguin: Interesting. I noticed on your website that there is a section of your members that are men. They seem to be part of a Halo 2 online group. Are these actual PMS members?
AthenaTwin: They are not part of PMS Clan, but are part of the PMS family. We needed a way to house & recognize the men that supported us everyday in the gaming community, so H20 Clan was the solution. It is our way of honoring the men that help us everyday online with skill training, recognition, & friendships. Each girl is allowed to chose 2 H20 guys, and only 2, so it is a place of honor with us & the individual girl who selects them. It is our brother clan. We never intended them to be created, just kinda happened when there were so many guys backing us. We really wanted a way to acknowledge them & their efforts to help us in the gaming community
bapenguin: That's great.
AthenaTwin: Thanks.
bapenguin: PMS has had a lot of exposure lately with the Women's Gaming Conference, Digital Life, MTV TRL and Entertainment Weekly...does it feel good to see Women in gaming getting exposure?
AthenaTwin: It feels great on many levels. Up until this last year, gaming & gaming products have always marketed to males. Women gaming groups, like PMS, help show the industry we are here...and we are not just playing Simms. We like FPS, Fighter, and other traditionally male-dominated games, but we are handed Barbie Dolls while our brothers are given their Pain Killer. What PMS is shouting is that we are here too...like it or not. Most people like it.
bapenguin: Why is it important for Women in gaming to gain exposure? Some people think it's just a craving for more attention.
AthenaTwin: One thing I would like to point out is that exposure for ANY gamer, be they female or male, is important to the gaming community as a whole. ANYTHING gaming related that gets the mainstream audience's attention helps bring interest, and therefore money, into the gaming industry on all levels...including sponsorships of tournaments, sponsorships of teams, and more products. Women teams do this, regardless if people disagree with the attention or not. Fact is, female players/female teams transcend into the hard-core gamers, casual gamers, male/female, and mainstream audiences, something most males do not do. Why? Because there really are so few of us doing it at this time in the hard-core male dominated games like FPS. The most important thing for ME is that female teams show other women that gaming can be done by them, which brings more women to the gaming scene. This increased interest should create more women who pursue careers/education in the gaming industry (i.e. techsupport, graphic/creative design). I see female team exposure bringing more women in the industry, period, which could create a wonderful diversity & creative appeal to the industry as a whole.
bapenguin: So are you a long time gamer?
AthenaTwin: Heck yeah, but not hardcore FPS like now.
AthenaTwin: I started off on the old Atari...Pac Man, Centipede, joust. I was totally hooked on the old Mario Bros (still love them now). I moved to FPS hard-core with Halo on Xbox. It really was the online function with the console that got me gaming hard.
bapenguin: What did you like the most? The social aspect of it? Or the fact that you could kick people's asses from around the world? :)
AthenaTwin: Both, but really the social aspect of it was amazing for me. Something totally new & exciting. I am a very social creature, as a lot of females are, and online gameplay is definitely the key for a lot of female gamers (which is why you see more of the coming in videogames). As we females began playing together (it's not as if top male players would put us on their team), we ended up building a community of mutual respect and love of gaming. It is really quite amazing for me to think about still. As more women see groups like PMS out their fighting, more will see it attainable (as men already do), and become more interested in gaming, design, and other tech involvement...which will bring more women into the industry as a whole...I think.

bapenguin 11-10-2005 05:14 AM

bapenguin: I recently got a chance to play with you and a few of the other PMS Girls in Halo 2 online. A lot of guys are shocked to even hear that girls are playing Halo 2 online. On top of that, their predisposition of it is that the girls won't be any good. I can tell everyone right now, these girls are for real. I was glad I was on their team! In matchmaking games especially you girls take a lot of abuse (I know, I heard it first hand). One thing I thought was really admirable was the fact you won't leave negative feedback against the guys you play against if they give you "female oriented" trash talk. Basically, you say, if I was a guy, would they have said the same things? If the answer is no, then you won't leave negative feedback. How hard was this to come up with as a policy for PMS? What made you decide this?
AthenaTwin: Well, it is a numbers game. How many female teams will these guys be running into smack talking? Not many. We need to save our resources for things we can actually help change. If they are making comments about us being fat, or whores, our feedback would do essentially nothing to get them banned since they probably will not be doing this against males. Now, if they say racist comments, or cheat, this is something that they might do to ANYONE, so all the feed back we can leave we will. As far as our rules/policies...we try to keep it simple & professional. No cheating, no hard-core shit-talk (you can playfully smack talk, but nothing offensive), no inappropriate conduct online (use your imagination). These are the kind of rules we have to keep it to our ideals, as decided by PMS leaders, of what female gamers should represent.
bapenguin: I take it your favorite game is Halo 2?
AthenaTwin: Right now, yes...but I really like Halo 1 the best.
bapenguin: (me too...shhhh)
AthenaTwin: lol...so did everyone. Your secret is safe with me.
bapenguin: Damnation is still the finest multiplayer map ever created.
AthenaTwin: OMG, yes! I thought all the maps were great. If they could bring that to Xbox live, I would never leave.
bapenguin: Have you entered any Halo 2 tournaments?
AthenaTwin: Yeah, I've been in four major tournaments (for me). I have been in MLG Houston (Championship Bracket), MLG St Louis (no placement), CPL Summer (8th place) and a variety of local tournaments & online ladders. Our teams have been all over though. CPL was the first PC tournament to run a console game, so it was amazing for us to be there with 1000's of gamer across the world, and see the awesome PC side of gaming.
bapenguin: I've never entered anything for Halo 2....I wish I had. I did place 1st in a Gamespy tournament for Halo 1 though. :)
AthenaTwin: Ohhh, good job! You are really good, I played with you and you were top a lot of times :)
bapenguin: So are you primarily a console gamer? Ever dabble in the PC realm? I know there are quite a few PMS girls that are into PC games. In fact, we (Evil Avatar) are sponsoring one of your girls in the CPL Quake 4 qualifier.
AthenaTwin: Yes, that is correct, you are! I am so happy to have Evil Avatar help support Cella in the event, and she is so excited! We do have some PC girls, about 20, but this is a division that we are struggling to build. We would need solid sponsorship of a female team to start getting PC teams (we have individual, but we really need solid teams). Several companies have contacted us, and we are working with them to see if we can get a dominate team of girls over there. Keep your eye out for solid PC girls and send them my way!
bapenguin: So what big plans are there for PMS this year?
AthenaTwin: 2005 is settling down, we are trying to get teams sponsored for the 2006 season...this was the first year we entered into major tournaments and we did well...we need strong sponsorship of teams to make sure players do not have to be swapped out and teamwork is maximum. That is the only way anyone will see a top 4 (which is our goal) placement of a female team in a co-ed tournament.
bapenguin: Are there male only tournaments then? Like...have you tried to get in a tournament and been rejected because you were girls?
AthenaTwin: The tournament circuits have always been supportive of us at their events. MLG, CPL, VGL, & GGL have all done their best to recognize what we are out there doing: to give exposure to women gamers & the gaming industry as a whole. Any recognition we bring to the mainstream audience is good. Media has been wonderful in their support, and we have actually had a lot of casual gamers turn hard-core, or non- gamers come in SPECIFICALY because they did read about us in Entertainment Weekly, or see us on MTV. It is a great feeling. All the sudden gaming is "cool" and not just a geek sport, as some perceive, anymore.
AthenaTwin: Of course, truth be told, we are all geeks anyway! No matter what we look like. :)
bapenguin: Yes....I know. It happened sometime this generation with the Playstation 2. I've been a geek all my life and enjoyed that status...suddenly...it's cool to be a geek....and I'm enjoying it more.
AthenaTwin: Isn't it great?!?! I can't even talk to people that don't game anymore...they don't understand me or my passion for gaming & PMS Clan...they just roll their eyes :(
AthenaTwin: But it is worth it! :)
bapenguin: Are you excited for the Xbox 360? Have you had a chance to play it yet at any of the recent events?
AthenaTwin: OMG. Is a crack-whore excited about her next fix? You bet.
bapenguin: haha. Nice analogy
AthenaTwin: TY. Anyway, I got to play it at the MTV 360 special with Perfect Dark Zero...I can't wait for it! PMS received an invite to the media-only special in New York (where my girls met you), and they said it was amazing. I just wish Halo3 would have come with it. Bungie is amazing!
bapenguin: Yes...everyone is counting the seconds till Halo3…whenever that is.
bapenguin: Are you looking forward to any of the other games?
AthenaTwin: I love FPS, and I am still waiting to see the titles coming up. I have to tell you, I am really looking forward to that new poker game (what is the name?). It is not going to be made for 360, but I will probably disappear for days.
AthenaTwin: What games did you like on the 360?
bapenguin: I really liked Kameo....it's an adventure kind of game which isn't my typical cup of tea...but it was just one of those games that were really fun and inventive. Call of Duty 2 was a lot of fun as well.
AthenaTwin: Yes, I heard that was amazing!
AthenaTwin: You wanna know a secrect?
bapenguin: sure
(she tells me a secret, sorry I can't reveal it. : )
bapenguin: Did you get a chance to see the Live Arcade stuff?
AthenaTwin: No, is that pretty good?
bapenguin: I think you'll really dig it.
AthenaTwin: What games on it?
bapenguin: Basically...they are quick pickup titles, things like Joust, Hexic (a puzzle game), Geometry Wars 2 (my personal favorite) Most of the game will support online multiplayer, co-op, online leader boards, etc. All done in Hi-def 1080i. And they'll be cheap too, 5-10 bucks.
AthenaTwin: I will dig that, that could bring a lot of old-school gamers back to a console
bapenguin: Yeah, my dad wants a 360 just for joust!
AthenaTwin: That was one of my favorites. I own at that an Frogger.
bapenguin: Well...when we get our 360's we will have to play some Joust over Live.
AthenaTwin: Heck yeah, be prepared to lose though ;)
bapenguin: Bring it!

bapenguin 11-10-2005 05:17 AM

bapenguin: Anything else you want to say about PMS clan?
AthenaTwin: I just want to let you know that PMS has been able to pass the traditional boundaries of gaming because of its members themselves. Their work, their dedication, and their loyalty is what keeps this group going. I couldn't thank them enough! :)
bapenguin: It feels good to lead and be apart of it huh?
AthenaTwin: I can't even begin to explain it, honestly. All of them mean so much to me; we truly have an amazing group of women! I am so proud of them all. :)
bapenguin: I have to say, when I met Cella and the other girls at NYC I was pretty impressed (especially when they kicked the producer of DOA4's ass in DOA4). Then when I got to play with you and some of the other PMS girls in Halo 2 you totally shocked me. Not just in how good you were (I didn't doubt that), but the style and class you played with. I'm happy that Evil Avatar is going to support you guys!
AthenaTwin: Thank you so much. Come play again!
bapenguin: We have the match this week. Thursday at 8:00 EST.
AthenaTwin: Sweet, I can play!
bapenguin: Well thanks for your time Athena, good luck with everything PMS (except Thursday when you need to lose in Halo 2 to us).
AthenaTwin: Your welcome. Bye!
bapenguin: bye.

stomper1080 11-10-2005 06:00 AM

Congratulations to Bapenguin for being an excellent interviewer!

Nice choice of subject as well, it's always interesting to know advancements in gaming socially.

AthenaTwinPMS 11-10-2005 06:25 AM

It was such an honor to do this interview, Bapenguin was amazing! I can't wait for our match tonight! I have 1 member of each divison of PMS (not just PRO players) coming, so it should be allot of fun! :p

P.S. The PMS Clan link does not work ;)

Knite 11-10-2005 06:32 AM

Nice sig Athena. =) I'd say good luck tonight, but since I'm against you, BAD LUCK. Boo to the PMS clan! (or something =P)


Good job penguin. More in house content = more gooder!

bapenguin 11-10-2005 07:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AthenaTwinPMS
It was such an honor to do this interview, Bapenguin was amazing! I can't wait for our match tonight! I have 1 member of each divison of PMS (not just PRO players) coming, so it should be allot of fun! :p

P.S. The PMS Clan link does not work ;)

Fixed that link for you.

Good thing you arent bringing all the pros....we need a fighting chance! :)

TrackZero 11-10-2005 09:13 AM

Quote:

AthenaTwin: You wanna know a secrect?
bapenguin: sure
(she tells me a secret, sorry I can't reveal it. : )
Damn you! Why post something like this when we'll get nothing from it? Did she reveal that J. Allard actually is a pirate brought forth from the past in a time machine?

Drinking_Buddy 11-10-2005 09:19 AM

Next time Bapenguin, could you try and not flirt with the interviewie? :)

I was about to vomit all over my keyboard.

bapenguin 11-10-2005 09:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Drinking_Buddy
Next time Bapenguin, could you try and not flirt with the interviewie? :)

I was about to vomit all over my keyboard.

She started it. ;)

Mason 11-10-2005 10:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bapenguin
She started it. ;)

"Hey baby, I won a Halo tournament..."

Great interview. And I agree with Athena, it isn't just about girl-gaming but rather the mainstreaming of gaming in general. Our society tends to have a narrative about how games are for white/asian nerdy guys, and so public attention for clans like PMS does us all a service, by challenging the stereotypes about gamers. Since the media keeps portraying gamers as violence-prone brainwashed weirdos, challenging that narrative is definitely a good thing.

Weefz 11-10-2005 12:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bapenguin
Girls, Games, Geeks and the Industry
by Nicholas "bapenguin" Puleo
Most of the women in my life have never been gamers, my sister always played Mario and Sonic and similar adventure type titles growing up. ..<snipped stuff about wife>.. So for me personally, it was interesting to meet real hardcore girl gamers.

Whooooooa there, matey. Your sister plays Mario and Sonic and other adventure games but isn't a proper gamer? Is FPS was the only real game type around?

bapenguin 11-10-2005 12:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Weefz
Whooooooa there, matey. Your sister plays Mario and Sonic and other adventure games but isn't a proper gamer? Is FPS was the only real game type around?

She DID play them. And only casually when I played them. I didn't say proper gamer, I only said that I never met girl gamers like those in the PMS Clan.

Arcon 11-10-2005 03:35 PM

and, to be fair, sonic and mario arent propper games

TheKeck 11-10-2005 03:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Arcon
and, to be fair, sonic and mario arent propper games

:confused: Yes they are.

AthenaTwinPMS 11-10-2005 10:19 PM

Lol, you are all awesome. It was great playing everyone tonight, it was fun to actually be able to mess around and be playfull for once! ;)

P.S. The secret you shall never know...WHhhhhaaaaaaaahh! <spooky music>

PMS Huggable 11-10-2005 10:48 PM

Very nice interview - goodjob :]

& How did the matches go? Who won! :p

Weefz 11-11-2005 11:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bapenguin
She DID play them. And only casually when I played them. I didn't say proper gamer, I only said that I never met girl gamers like those in the PMS Clan.

Ah... reading back now I guess you're saying most women aren't gamers aside from your sis and wife, and they were casual. Thought you were saying that even they weren't gamers despite playing games. My misunderstanding.

If single-player Doom 3 is a proper game then Mario and Sonic are proper games. They may not be complex games, but that's not a requirement, is it?

TheKeck 11-11-2005 12:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Weefz
Ah... reading back now I guess you're saying most women aren't gamers aside from your sis and wife, and they were casual. Thought you were saying that even they weren't gamers despite playing games. My misunderstanding.

If single-player Doom 3 is a proper game then Mario and Sonic are proper games. They may not be complex games, but that's not a requirement, is it?

If wonderful, polished, amazingly fun games are proper games, then Mario and Sonic are proper games.

TrackZero 11-11-2005 12:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by PMS Huggable
Very nice interview - goodjob :]

& How did the matches go? Who won! :p

I posted what scores I managed to screencap here:

http://www.evilavatar.com/forums/sho...40&postcount=5

But by and large, PMS beat us down. Especially in any battle rifle/sniping match. ;)


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