By Stephanie "Bobbi" Bergman
angie "Aurora" Beal. What can I say. She's webmaster, editor in chief and head mom of GameGirlz, and clan leader, founder, and (again) head mom of Psycho Men Slayers (PMS) the first all-female Quake clan (of which I just happen to be a member). She's also a mom herself, of a beautiful little soon to be 2 year old boy who has quite a knack for iparty. Aurora's also a great friend, and interviewing her was a pleasure. Enjoy!
Name/rank/serial number? Vangie "Aurora" Beal/SlayQueen/RORA01
How did you get involved in gaming? A very long time ago my parents were kind enough to buy me an Atari2600. That and having a large number of male friends who I affectionately call "Doom-Heads".... I didn't have much of a choice but to be involved in games (not that I needed much persuasion). I grew up in a small area which to this day still doesn't have cable TV, so the only actual entertainment I knew was arcade games and home gaming systems. When I moved to a bigger city, I found my new friends were big into computer games, and I dropped the arcades for that.
How did you end up online? Doing research for work actually. I used to work for a great company in Victoria BC, and we used the net for research. I mostly just did a bit of web surfing and e-mail stuff, but when I actually had a decent 486 computer I decided to get a net account at home. I found all the cool stuff you can do, and used irc a bit then. By the release of Q-test I was an "Internet Cafe" junkie, and that's when the online games started for me. I had used a BBS before. Using the net was like.. the next step anyway.
You founded the first all-female Quake clan (PMS). Where did the idea come from? My Doom-Head friends. By the release of Q-test, I still wasn't into this type of computer game. I will admit it... I was very much a Doom hater. I thought it was a rather silly game which required no brain to play. All my friends and I hung out at a net cafe, and after many nights of being bored I finally decided to play the "stupid Quake game that was taking up all my friends time." Needless to say being a rather bitchy pregnant woman at the time, I fell in love with it. Like.. we're talking forking out a lot of money to play the game on the computers at the cafe.
Every Saturday night the cafe had a Quake tourney. it was in 3 divisions A=kick-ass players, B=okay players C= I'm wearing a target players. Needless to say I was in group c for a long time. The guys were starting up a local net cafe clan, and myself and 2 other girls who played on Saturday nights wanted to join, but they said we weren't good enough. Hitting group "b" was our goal. I figured if I was a "B" player, I'd be good enough. BAH! I think they just didn't want to admit to the guys online who played that they had girlz in their clan. I was pretty pissed off they wouldn't let me join, and the taunts of "you suck" got to me.
At one point, one of the
guys was teasing me and said.. there are girls here, start your own
female clan. Another one laughed and said "yeah! and
So.. I did.
Any regrets? Ah.. yes and no
No in that I love all the PMS ladies, they are wonderful friends and have totally made this past 2 years a very *fun* time for me.
yes.. in that.. I sometimes wonder if I could ever just stop doing this if I did want to (which I currently don't). It would be a disappointment to many people, and I don't know if I would reach a point where I would keep doing this only because others wanted me to.
Why GameGirlz? :) I used to by PC Gamer every month. I used to read about 3 game sites daily. I honestly got sick of looking at news and ads for games that was being shown. I mean, I'm sorry. If people are going to say "this game rocks and the character is a sexy girl with big b00bs", that just not enough for me to take a closer look at it. I started really looking at the game news and reviews out there, and I found so much of it was totally unfriendly to girlz. It sucked 99% of the time.. and I was just starting to get bored of the whole thing.
Because PMS had so much exposure, women who played games other than Quake would contact me. We'd do a general chatting thing back and forth, and most times they would ask for resources and info on different games. I then kind of realized that I wasn't the only girl who sometimes felt overwhelmed by the sheer mass of "expert" advice in games mags and websites, and I finally came to understand that indeed other girlz were quite turned-off by the whole thing.
GameGirlz was a natural progression for me. Clan PMS was time consuming, and I knew I didn't have time to start all-female groups for the dozen or so games out there I was playing and met other girlz playing. I just decided to do GameGirlz because I thought it was time for both gamers and developers to realize there are girlz out there who like this game stuff. I also knew GG would be a wonderful way to get females interested in games if they could read reviews and editorials they could relate to.
Has GameGirlz had the effect you've hoped it would? Definitely!!! We have a very decent female readership, and a lot of people have taken the time to tell us that some of the things we post have made them stop and look at online gaming from a girlz' perspective. We have had many developers spend time with staff members getting a female's opinion of their games, and to just provide general comments on what may or may not interest a female.
I guess the other big benefit: Feedback from our readers has shown that females who check out GG are not afraid to e-mail us asking for help (and neither are guys for that matter), and to me, that is the best possible thing that could come out of GG. Not too many other sites will actually take the time to help people out.
What would you say to women interested in getting involved in gaming? Start small. If your new to gaming, no one says you have to jump into a 32 player Quake CTF game. There are so many smaller games out there that rock as far as fun and online gaming is concerned. Don't be afraid to say "hey I'm a chick", you'll end up meeting some of the coolest women online that way. Never take the people you meet on servers or the things they might say to heart. Just try it. I never ever thought that playing these types of games (like Quake, NetStorm, I'76) would be something I would like. But once I ignored the people that told me this was a guy thing, I found out I loved it. It is truly a fun and rewarding hobby to have! :)
When will Brennan start gaming? He is now =D
What's he playing? We're playing Catz and Dogz 3 beta. He LOVES it
There's a lot of talk about violence in games, and how it's effecting kids. As a mom, at what age do you think it would be appropriate to expose your baby to violent games? Do you think it will have an effect on him? (Be that negative or positive) I am a firm believer in that it is a parent's responsibility, 100% to monitor their children when they decide to take an active part in games (which are adult oriented). I don't think, that a child would ever have misconceptions about real life/game violence if the parent takes an active interest in the child when he/she is playing. I also think that parents need to be aware if games is causing any behavioral effects, and if it is, to talk to the kids. Don't just say You can't do this anymore Or that sort of thing.
Now, as for my own personal choice. My son is only 2. The bright colors and gun sounds he hears is something that fascinates him. He sits on my lap and watches me play. Some parents might criticize that.
When my son is with other kids, or even with me, he knows that hitting, slapping, biting, pushing and using toys etc. to hit things is wrong.
When the day comes that he wants to play games on "mommy's puter", I will allow him to. But you can damn well bet I won't be letting him sit down and play the games (be then adult or kidz games) without my supervision.
What are your favorite
games? My all time favorite game that nothing will ever ever beat
DOLPHIN?! Waiit... Explain :) Dolphin kicks-ass!
You're a Dolphin
And your under the water, being chased by a Squid
ok, so you go along, and there are rows of ocean type plants (they run from almost the top of the screen to the bottom). Now, somewhere in that line of plants is a break you can guide your dolphin through... or you can jump over the line (and hit the surface) if you hit a plant, you slow down and the squid advances. You get more points by going through the break. Now, once in awhile a helicopter will fly above, and if you jump up and eat it, your a turbo-charged dolphin and you can like chase the squid and eat him, and run through the plants. hrm... ya know ... After saying that, I'm not so sure it sounds as good as it really was. I mean... I kid you not! This game rocked. I swear!
Yeah, I am the Dolphin Queen
I have to admit, I had an Atari, but I never played Dolphin. you missed out! :(
What are your other favorites? I play Quake. I think I will always play Quake (I'm not fond of Quake II). I play Shanghai: Dynasty online a fair amount, it's rather cool. I play NetStorm (still), and I have an on/off kind of relationship with I'76 (I play the semi truck). I recently tried Swarm, and that's gonna stay on my computer for quite awhile/ Motocross Madness just plain rocks, and I am totally into RainbowSix right now. That's my play list. I generally spend too much time reviewing different games to pick up that "addicting quality time" with many of them ;)
What are your favorite bookmarks? Since I no longer do the news on GG, I actually visit my own site for general game news, I tend to read Redwood's daily for Quake/3D news, http://www.parentsoup.com/ has saved my sanity on occasion, and I generally read all the Estronet sites (Bust, maxiMag, Wench) http://www.estronet.com/.
- Stephanie "Bobbi" Bergman is an associate editor for loonygames.
Credits: Community Profile logo illustrated by and is © 1998 Dan Zalkus. Community Profile is © 1998 Stephanie Bergman. All other content is © 1998 loonyboi productions. Unauthorized reproduction is just a bad idea. We have lawyers.