By Stephanie "Bobbi Bergman
ver on GameGirlz thereís a column you may have read (or you should have read) called the Mighty Times. Itís great, one week all about how men are PCs and women are Macs, the next itís about the author, Mur Laffertyís love of the Matrix. Really well written, biting humor. That in itself is worthy of a profile, who wouldnít want to know where stuff like that comes from. But, oh, did I mention she also works for Red Storm Entertainment? Now, you canít get much cooler than that. :)
Name/Rank/Serial Number? "Sailor" Mur Lafferty. Internet Manager/Webmaster/Columnist. 42.
What do you do at Red Storm? I do most stuff related to the Internet. Internally, I design, update, maintain our website and police our forums with an iron fist (OK, forget the iron fist part - we have a great group of people who hang out at the RSE site). Externally I am in charge of organizing and implementing online advertising campaigns for our games. My official title is "Internet Manager" but I still use the title "Webmaster" when it suits, because that part of my job didn't really change when my title did.
As a game player, what effect do you think multiplayer games have had on Red Storm's games? As a game player, I think the company has shown a great awareness of the multiplayer gaming community. All of the games released so far have had lots of multiplayer support.
What about as a developer? As a developer, I think the same thing. :) But seriously, we try hard to encourage online gaming. Our Rainbow Six developers sometimes host games to play with the guys who frequent our forum area. We've built solid communities dedicated to Politika and Rainbow Six and we're proud of that.
What is your favorite Red Storm game? Why? Difficult to say. I've logged the most hours playing Politika, but I probably have to say that so far, ruthless.com is probably my favorite. I really like the strategy involved, and there are several ways your gameplay can go - nice and defensive, or mean and offensive. It's a lot of fun.
Of course, my favorite game may change in 2000.... (of course, I can't say anything about it....)
Red Storm is embracing its community in a really open way, letting fans ofthe game in to beta test, something other companies seem to be following. Is fan feedback different than that of internal beta testers? How so? Now, I'm not in the QA department, so take this with a grain of salt. But my perception of beta tests is that you want to test three things: the game
(duh!), the various setups of machine hardware, and multiplayer connectivity. With internal beta tests, you have a much smaller pool of machines and you're not testing the 3000 mile network connection. So personally, I think that outside beta tests are instrumental to testing multiplayer games.
Do you think open beta tests are a good thing overall? Well, there's always the danger of someone violating the NDA, but that's a risk that I think is worth taking.
When is Rogue Spear coming out? September, 1999.
Where did the concept for the Mighty Times come from? Well, Aurora had done a Weekly Women's Spotlight with me, so we already were familiar with each other. After looking at my home page, she liked my writing style, so asked me to write a column. We agreed that it would not be completely about gaming (because I sometimes dance around the "conflict of interest" line), but about community, Internet stuff, geek stuff, and pretty much anything bizarre that comes to my mind.
What's the strangest idea you've had for a column? Toe hair. No doubt about it. I still can't believe I wrote that one. But it needed to be said. My momma never told me about toe hair, and I felt lost in the world of feminine hygiene. (Not *that* feminine hygiene! Get your mind out of the gutter, dammit!)
What's the strangest e-mail you've ever gotten in response to a column? I have a couple of regular misogynists who read my column for the sole reason to get pissed off and then write to me to tell me what a feminazi I am.
What was your reply? After a bit of debate, I finally decided to give one what he wanted. He obviously wanted women to stop writing and expressing their views, so I told him that he finally got through to me, and that he was right, and I was quitting my column to go home and cook for my husband. I thought that was what he wanted, but he wrote me back and said that he was disappointed in me and wanted a better debate. Oh well.
What's your favorite column so far? Um... couldn't you have asked me this when I only had 10 or so to choose from? :) The serious column that's closest to my heart would be the Feminist column (You've Heard This Before). I feel very strongly about feminism, and I don't understand the hatred for that word. I got surprisingly little reader response from that, BTW.
Humor wise, I think my favorite has to be probably A Modest Proposal. I've had the idea for some time to parody Jonathan Swift's satire by the same name, and finally got a chance to do it. Of course, for reader response, my fave is still the Women/Mac, Men/PC column...
When did you start getting into games? How? Heh- actually my column this week talks about it. My dad bought me an Atari many years ago, I can't even remember how old I was... 10? 11? I became addicted to Combat and Defender, and often played Ms. PacMan. I lost interest in high school (boys and angst and all that) and got back into it in college when I saw a friend playing Doom. I haven't looked back since.
What are your favorite games? Strategy, mostly. I count most every game that doesn't rely on how fast you can move your mouse and fire as strategy, though. Starcraft, Roller Coaster Tycoon (latest PC addiction), Baldur's Gate, Final Fantasy VII, Populous, Monster Rancher (latest PSX addiction) are just a few. I await Dungeon Keeper 2 with much bouncing and excitement.
What are your favorite websites?
Sluggy Freelance for my daily dose of humor.
Goats for my daily dose of sick/surreal humor.
GameGirlz for news (come on, you expected that!).
Hissyfit for amusement that others are more annoyed daily than me.
The Matrix - the best movie website I've ever seen -- www.whatisthematrix.com
Ain't It Cool News - well, because it's cool, ain't it?
CNN for keeping up with the world.
Thanks Mur!! Check out the Mighty Times over at GameGirlz!
- Stephanie "Bobbi" Bergman is an associate editor at loonygames. She's currently organizing the Female Frag Fest tournament.
Credits: Community Profile logo illustrated by and is © 1999 Dan Zalkus. Community Profile is © 1999 StephanieBergman. All other content is © 1999 loonyboi productions. Unauthorized reproduction is just a bad idea. We have lawyers.