First Woman Qualifies for ‘Call of Duty’ World League: A Q&A With Squizzy

Call of Duty

“can I call myself a pro now?”

-@Squizzay

On Tuesday afternoon, a little known Call of Duty team called Pure N3gs closed out a close match against fellow Australian team Viable, securing themselves a spot in gaming giant Activision’s upcoming Call of Duty World League. Making it into a professional league is normally a fine accomplishment in itself, but this particular win was something unusual. The team included the first—and possibly only woman—to qualify for this year’s CoD World League.

Kayla “Squizzy” Squires’ and her teammates’ (Glodek, H220k, and Tupacah) accomplishment came as a surprise for the wider Call of Duty competitive community, due to the smaller competitive scene in their native Australia. Squizzy is also one of the least visible women in the already small pool of professional players who are ladies in the international Call of Duty competitive scene. She doesn’t stream, she doesn’t post a lot of selfies on social media, and by her own admission, she doesn’t often advertise to opponents that she is a woman. Despite keeping a low profile online, she and her team made a big impression in the Online Qualifying stage for the Call of Duty World League, giving their first three opponents the hot 3-0 before winning their final match 3-2.

Call of Duty as an eSport is currently dominated by North American teams, with a few EU teams managing to keep up with the likes of the big names in the young eSport like Optic Gaming, Faze, or Envy. Teams from outside those two regions have struggled on Call of Duty’s biggest stage, the annual World Championships, with its $3 million dollar prize. So it’s little wonder that fans and players on Twitter and Reddit let out a collective “Who?” when it was announced a woman from Australia had qualified for one of eSports’ biggest leagues. 

What is interesting is the overwhelming support she has received online for being the first woman player in the league. Congratulatory tweets rolled in from well-known pros and gaming personalities, and well wishes from the competitive community on Reddit. It looks as though fans of CoD as an eSport are ready to see women on the main stage at competitions playing games, rather than dancing on stage like the cheerleaders at ESWC.

Continue reading “First Woman Qualifies for ‘Call of Duty’ World League: A Q&A With Squizzy”

Press F to Grab Kleenex: Our Top Emotional Moments in a Video Game

Everyone here knows what it’s like to feel invested in a video game. Whether it comes upon you gradually after twelve hours have passed and the controller is still clutched in your hands, or the process began while you were lining up outside GameStop in the rain shivering with anticipation—we’ve all been there. But what about the games that broke you? I’m talking about that moment you froze, headphones digging into your ears, so stunned by the unexpected left-turn in the gameplay that there were tears in your eyes long before you realized it. This is when you left invested behind, and the game truly became immersive. So, what games have we lost ourselves in? Check out what made our list of top emotional moments in a video game. (Break out that Kleenex, friends.)

Tomb Raider

Anonymous

In the 2013 reboot of Tomb Raider, I was emotionally invested in the scene where Lara Croft killed her would-be attacker. It was a particularly striking scene for me because I was sexually abused as a kid. When he ran his hand down the length of her arm, I knew what was about to occur and it gave me chills all over. Though Lara saved herself from a potential rape by shooting her would-be attacker in the face, she still fell to her knees and gagged until she nearly vomited. This scene was considered controversial and talked about in-depth as a result. Personally, I thought Lara’s emotional response to murdering another person was very raw. Had I been in her position, I would have ended up in a puddle of my own sick if I was forced to kill someone.

Emm ()

When Sarah dies within the first ten minutes of The Last of Us. It’s hands down the most brutal scene I’ve ever experienced in a video game. It doesn’t matter how many times I play the game or watch the scene unfold, because I will always end up in tears. The part that gets me every time is when Joel is holding his dying daughter in his arms and glances over at Tommy in despair, before turning his attention back to Sarah and realizing that she died. He repeats over and over again, “Don’t do this to me baby girl,” and coupled with the amazing soundtrack, it just sets the stage for weeping.

Continue reading “Press F to Grab Kleenex: Our Top Emotional Moments in a Video Game”

You’re Never Too Old To Be Creative (Why I Love ‘Minecraft’)

Minecraft

Recently, Deadspin ran a piece that made my eyebrows become one with my hairline: a rant from a dad who absolutely hates Minecraft. I found my blood pressure rising a bit as I read through his reasons for loathing the game:

  1. His kid likes to watch other people play it online, and many of those people are “too old” to be playing games.
  2. His kid likes to actually play the game and occasionally asks his dad for help installing mods, which is apparently a total pain. Dragging zip files to a folder is pretty tough, I know.
  3. He thinks Minecraft is stupid and a waste of time.

I love Minecraft for all of the reasons above. All of them. I love that I can watch fun videos of entertaining people playing various mini-games of Minecraft on YouTube while I plow through rows upon rows of of cobblestone. There are few things more zen to me (other than yoga and actual meditation) than peacefully carving up a mountain in search of minerals that I will invariably hoard until I move to a new server. Creating a home in Minecraft indulges my inner architect; while playing in Survival mode, I spend time sketching out housing plans and searching for the ideal ocean or lakefront property for my allies, and planning a few traps for my foes.

I love that there are so many mods and texture packs for such a simple-looking game. It’s a fantastic sandbox and people have managed to create absolutely beautiful worlds and mini-games within Minecraft (including full kingdoms, beautiful renditions of Minas Tirith, Hogwarts, and just about anything else nerds could love) using just the resources that are online.

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Out of Character: An Interview With Twitch Streamer Kaceytron

When I think of social media hearsay, I instantly recall the intro to the 2002 Missy Elliott banger “Gossip Folks.” Girl that is Missy Elliott she lost a lot of weight / Girl I heard she eats one cracker a day / Oh well I heard the bitch was married to Tim and started f***ng with Trina / I heard the bitch got hit with three zebras and a monkey / I can’t stand the bitch no way.

Kaceytron is a bespectacled, busty, and brash Twitch TV partner who has been a successful fixture of gaming live streams since early 2013. She’s known for playing League of Legends, acting out on stream, and interacting with her chat for several hours most days of the week, just like most well-known and well-established streamers. 

If you do a simple search for Kaceytron on Twitter, you may confuse the 24-year-old retail manager-turned-gaming entertainer with an evil harpy who is out to enslave poor innocent victims (men) with her indecent and impudent ways. Here is a small sampling of the Twitter direct mentions and indirect derisions I found during the past hour while writing this piece:

@kaceytron you say your carrying the team on cs…you can’t even open a door you fat slut never mind fit through one, #Cleavage4Views

“lol that camwhore kaceytron responded to me even though I didnt tag her. God damn what a disgusting slice of diseased pie. Fuck Outta Here”

“I can guarantee 95% of the people who watch her stream just come to hate and she deserves it all.”

What, exactly, is it about Kaceytron that so enflames and enrages some viewers? The people in her stream chat are outspoken in their endless love or seething hatred for her, and she responds to haters just as often as she responds to fans. Yes, she does display her ample cleavage on stream, however, Twitch only implemented a rule to keep streamers from appearing on camera fully nude or in lingerie. One reason they had to make this rule? Men and women were playing “strip poker” versions of games, flashing body parts for donations, or simply playing games casually — stark naked.

Continue reading “Out of Character: An Interview With Twitch Streamer Kaceytron”

Ladies Who Let’s Play: The Year of the Girl Gamer

Transistor

For anyone with even a passing interest in watching people play video games—whether it be a live stream or a prerecorded Let’s Play—the gender disparity of the hosts is nothing if not immediately apparent. Now, I’ve been a Twitch lurker for a good nine years. That pretty much encompasses the formative years of my life, beginning with my high school graduation and higher education pursuits, my first internship, and so on. It’s helped shape both the way I game and the way I look at gaming, thus, you can imagine how fiercely supportive I am of the women within it. (I’m the Cassandra of Let’s Play ladies. Fight me.)

As much as I adore the uniquely creative experience of sharing a gameplay experiences with someone else, I’ve always braced myself before choosing a stream to watch. There’s a ritual in browsing a site like Twitch: turn down your volume (or find headphones), screen the title of the stream for any offensive language, and hope for the best when you finally choose one. It’s strange that, despite considering myself a feminist, I’m all but entirely desensitized to the barrage of racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, et al. garbage that—nine times out of ten—is what I hear when I open a stream. Any stream. As much as I love being reminded that half the industry wants to drive me out of their boy’s club, I could do without the casual slurs while watching a game as innocuous as Minecraft being played. Thanks, but no thanks.

That’s why I’m starting this series. It’s important not only to support visibility for women in this industry, but also to encourage them to continue creating. I want for this list to be an ongoing work, not simply a one-and-done attempt at fixing an inherent issue. For that to be a reality, I’ll need your help. Did I miss one of your favorite gaming personalities? Comment below or send an email!

Continue reading “Ladies Who Let’s Play: The Year of the Girl Gamer”

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