For as long as gaming has been around, it's mainly been a guy thing. Lately, females have joined the fray into proving that they can not only play games, but they'll kick your ass for the hell of it. The Frag Dolls is a team of female gamers employed by Ubisoft promoting women in gaming and Ubisoft's games. Starting in 2004, the Frag Dolls have participated in plenty of tournaments, and can be seen in gaming events worldwide. One of the original members, Brookelyn, took some time from her busy schedule to answer some gaming questions.
O.G.: So on your profile it mentions that you received a NES at 5. What was the game you fell in love with first on that system?
Brookelyn: I liked Mario, but I was more obsessed with Punch Out. My brother and I were in a race to be the first to beat Tyson.
O.G.: During the 16bit era, were you pro-SNES or pro-Genesis?
Brookelyn: I was in love with Genesis for one reason only- Sonic the Hedgehog. I consider this game my babysitter growing up, endless hours of collecting rings. Once my Genesis was stolen and I remember being so devastated. I cried and cried, until my mom went out and bought me another one.
What was your first game tournament and how did you do?
Brookelyn: I use to compete on teamcompete.com in Rainbow Six all the time, but as far as live tournaments go, I believe it was the Rainbow Six tournament held at the Penny Arcade Expo in 2004. We came in first.
O.G.: Is it still a thrill to beat the hell out of some trash talking guys or has that become so common that you don't even think about it?
Brookelyn: It's always a thrill to win, regardless if I'm playing against males or females. As far as smack talking goes, that's just a natural part of gaming. I try not to take it personal.
O.G.: In a clan match, what's your main job? Giving orders, camping, sniping, run and gun?
Brookelyn: Before I became a member of the Frag Dolls, I was always the "run and gun" girl. Frag Dolls has taught me to work as a team and play a little bit more conservative. I tend to stay back more now.
O.G.: Rainbow Six series seems to be your strength in tournaments. Any other games that you compete on the highest level?
Brookelyn: Yes, we use to compete on Ghost Recon before WSVG shut down and have competed in Halo multiple times. We might be competing on World of Warcraft, but that is not set into stone yet.
O.G.: Do you think competitive gaming will catch on in the US like it has in South Korea? If so, what do you think could help?
Brookelyn: I don't think it will ever be as big as it is in other countries, but we're headed in the right direction. With more and more tournaments emerging and game shows like WCG Ultimate gamer, it's allowed the mainstream audience to be introduced to professional gaming as a sport. Gaming is definitely becoming more recognizable in the US than it was years ago. When my grandma says, "What's this Halo game I always hear about?" you know that gaming has finally hit the masses.
O.G.: Are there more haters that criticize you or fans that praise you?
Brookelyn: We definitely have more fans that look up to us than haters. I wouldn't go as far as saying they praise us though. I do know that if we had more haters than fans, we wouldn't exist. I'm not sure Ubisoft would sponsor a team that no one liked. :P We have a lot of support from our community; we owe a lot to them! They're one of my favorite parts about being a Frag Dolls, plus they always have our back when the occasional troll comes stumbling into our forums.
O.G.: Have you done any competitive international play? If you have, how does the US stack up in your mind? Do our women who game much better than the rest of the world?
Brookelyn: Unfortunately, we have yet to compete outside of the US. Someday though!
O.G.: What are you playing right now and what are you looking forward to?
Brookelyn: I currently just finished Killzone2 and Left 4 Dead. I'm looking forward to playing Resident Evil 5. I've had it lying on top of my Xbox for a week now, but haven't had the time to play it yet. It's my top priority next this weekend.
O.G.: As a Frag Doll, what's the best perk so far?
Brookelyn: I love having all my expenses paid for during tournaments and getting paid to play in them, isn't too shabby either. I love traveling as well; I'm originally from Kansas, so there was a time I thought I would be trapped there forever.
O.G.: I know that myself, after hitting 28, my skills seemed to slip a little and I just can't keep up with other players like I used to. Like everything, there's a point where skills aren't what they used to be. Have you seen that yet?
Brookelyn: For me, I don't believe my skills are slipping because of anything physical, but because my priorities are changing. When I was 22, I would literally play 13-14 hours a day, only taking bathroom and food breaks. Now that I have adult responsibilities, I don't have the time to game like I use to.
O.G.: Do you have a pre-tournament ritual? Certain music you listen to on an Ipod, special underwear, play some Pokemon or something of that nature?
Brookelyn: Yes I do. A couple of years ago, our coach, Rhoulette bought us all a book called, The Mental Edge. It teaches you to focus on your win, almost like mediating. I use to get extreme anxiety when I compete, so this book helped me focus my energy and calm my nerves. A lot of professional athletes use this same method before they compete. I highly recommend this book to all competitive gamers.
O.G.: How's the whole "looking for a new Frag Doll" thing going?
Brookelyn: Very good! We're getting application videos every day. I'm excited to sit down and watch all the videos. My selfish side really wants a girl with a lot of FPS experience, but it isn't a requirement. We are looking for a girl that is knowledgeable and passionate about games, has at least one competitive genre under her belt and isn't shy when it comes to TV or interviews.
O.G.: There are statistics that show women are playing more games, and even the Ultimate Gamer has a nice male: female ratio, but in the end, when you head to the arcades, conventions, tournaments and so on, it is still a male dominated. What do you think is still keeping women from really accepting video games as much as the guys? The male characters, the violence, the sexual stereotypes?
Brookelyn: I think games need to be better marketed toward women; not just casual games, but hardcore ones. I mean, when was the last time you saw a video game ad in Cosmo? Most of the women I know, including myself started playing because of a guy in their life. When I was little, I started playing Nintendo because my twin brother was playing it...my ex boyfriend was the first person to introduce me to Xbox live. Maybe when companies start focusing on promoting to women we will see a HUGE increase in their numbers. Until then it's growing slowly but surely.
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