I didn’t have a lot of heroes as a child. There were various fictional characters that I wanted to emulate (at one point I was very cross that my parents hadn’t abandoned me as a baby in some African jungle to become Tarzan), but that’s not quite the same thing. Through childhood and into adulthood, although there are many people I admire, there are very few that I would consider a “hero” to me. So, I was quite surprised to discover I currently have a small case of hero worship.
If you work or play extensively in the game industry, chances are pretty darn good that by now you’ve seen the music video, “Do You Wanna Date My Avatar” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=urNyg1ftMIU , or watched the web series “The Guild” http://www.watchtheguild.com/ . The writer, the brains and the driving force behind these is a lady by the name of Felicia Day. A few years ago she would have appeared to be yet another struggling actress, picking up small parts on this sitcom or that, good enough looking but not the typical sculpted-and-airbrushed beauty that’s really going to turn heads in Hollywood. There must have been a thousand other young actresses in the same position, but what’s different about her?
First, she plays computer games; second, she admits it; and third, but far from least, she creates her own opportunities. Since she had a lot of knowledge about MMO games, she made a sitcom pilot. And when Hollywood wasn’t interested, she turned it into an online web series. Found co-stars, found staff, worked entirely off fan donations until she found sponsors, and created a series that’s now followed by fans around the world. Not only is she a good role model for anybody who’s not yet where they want to be in their career, but she’s also a fantastic representative of women in gaming. To the old refrain of “girls don’t game” we can now say, look! A woman MMO gamer who is attractive, successful and smart. She’s far from the only one, but she’s certainly the highest profile one around right now, and by doing what she’s doing, she represents all of us. And so, she’s my new hero. Good for you, Felicia Day, for refusing to give up, for not accepting the judgment of Hollywood, and for finding a way to balance gaming, career, and femininity so that all three end up stronger.
- Emily “Domino” Taylor