In 2018, it turns out that girl gamers in Malaysia are levelling the playing field. Read on how these regular girls are only slightly obsessed with gaming and powering up.
Text, Interviews and Video Coordination Lina Esa Art Direction Mils Gan Photography and Videography Mohd Nazrul Hair and Make-up Nur Aslina/Lawa Studio
“You play like a girl!” “Noob!” “So…. what are you wearing?” — these were the types of jeers and harassment that female gamers had to face when they were a rare sight in online games, even just a few years ago. For some strange reason, it’s automatically assumed that gamers are mostly men, or that it’s a male-dominated scene. Games, consoles and so on used to be targeted mostly to boys, and having a girl take up gaming was considered a rarity.
“I was introduced to gaming by my brother, and I ended up being more obsessed with it than he was,” said “MakcikSheila”, an avid gamer and also a talent manager on an e-gaming platform. And the perceptions were a little bit more rigid back in the day. “People used to bully me when I was younger when they heard that I played video games,” said “Tashbunny”. “‘You don’t have a life’, ‘Go outside’, ‘You’re a know-it-all’. Those were just some of the things they said,” she revealed.
Thankfully, we’re in 2018 and there’s far more equality and gender equity. It’s no longer out of the norm that a girl games — they’re not rare anymore, and the number of girls scoring POTGs in Overwatch or carrying their teams to victory in Malaysia are burgeoning. As we discovered, there are Malaysian girls who game on the side, girls who game as part of their work, and girls who kick butt at gaming so well that they compete professionally. To boot, there are also gaming devices that aren’t so heavily marketed to men — there are special editions that aren’t so bulky and masculine like they used to be in the past. Sure, looks do matter, and a laptop that looks good on top of doing everything you want it to = #goals!
#TeamCLEO dives into the gaming world to see what motivates these gamers, how they stay empowered, and what they look for in a gaming device.
GAMING IS EVERYTHING — ACCORDING TO TASHBUNNY
“Gaming means everything to me. It made such a big impact in my life,” said Natasha, who actually started out gaming on consoles and now games mostly on a PC. While not a competitive gamer, her life basically revolves around gaming — she is a presenter on a tech review website (go girl!) and in her free time she streams video games on Twitch.
As a female gamer, though, rather than feeling like a minority or outnumbered, she turns it on its head. “Gaming empowers me, because I’m not just playing video games. I’m working in the field and putting myself in a niche community dominated by guys,” she said, while confirming that she herself started gaming not by influence but because she herself wanted to try it out when she was little.
Fast forward to just last year, she even met the love of her life on a game, by pure kismet. While streaming an independent game called Night in the Woods on Twitch, Natasha was joking around, matching her voices to the characters on screen. By chance, her now-boyfriend Ralph heard her doing this when he stumbled upon her channel and they hit it off straight away.
They’ve been together ever since, and with Ralph being all the way in the United States, they spend time gaming and in the virtual world to stay close to each other. “We can’t do regular things that couples do like go to the movies and so on. It’s a way for us to spend time,” she explained. “I used to play alone, but now that I game with Ralph it’s something different. We tease each other, troll each other and we just laugh at each other,” she said.
“I’m not just playing video games. I’m working in the field and putting myself in a niche community dominated by guys,”
When asked about her favourite game of all time, she hesitated for a second. “Well I have over 300 games, it makes it hard to choose,” she laughed. “But I play League Of Legends every day,” she continued. Since this bubbly, outgoing soul loves to be out and about and travel, she needs something that goes along with her. “In a gaming laptop, I want portability. Some are so bulky and big and barely fit in a bag!” she lamented. “I love gaming so much, I sometimes want to game while I’m at the airport,” she said. “I want something functional and isn’t a hassle — I need something that doesn’t overheat so fast, or is too slow,” Natasha continued.
With great portability comes great compromise — or so you’d think. Most gaming laptops have to sacrifice a lot in order to make themselves portable. But not with the Predator Helios 300 Special Edition, which keeps gamers cool even under pressure. A dual-fan system runs with Acer’s proprietary AeroBlade 3D metal fans. Unlike regular fans, the blades are only 0.1mm — keeping the device lighter than regular gaming laptops and guaranteeing coolness even during prolonged gaming.
When asked whether there should be more girls in gaming, Natasha totally agreed. “Gaming’s not just for guys. There are so many different types and interesting bits about them. Games are just like movies, they have all sorts of quirks and you’ll discover them as you try them. Everyone should be gaming!”
Wanted: a gaming device that doesn’t compromise
At one glance, you’d immediately think that Faye is a regular girl who loves going out with friends, going to the gym or being outdoors, and taking pics for the ‘Gram. You’re not entirely wrong, because on top of all that, the all-rounder Faye (who also goes by “X23” as her gaming alias) loves everything to do with gaming. So much so that she gets paid for it — she’s a talent and content creator for Jinny Boy, and she games and streams for work.
She started at the tender age at 15, playing console games with her brother. Two years ago she fell in love with DOTA 2, and has never turned back. She started watching people streaming and got curious. “I thought, ‘Hey, I can do this, I can enter this field’. I tried it out and over time I realised, people actually watch me,” she explained. “I didn’t know it would take me to where I am today but I’m glad that it did!”
In a world where we are multi-faceted, a multi-functional device has to do it all. For Faye, a laptop that allows her to multi-task and switch between different programs is a must, and the device has to be powerful enough to edit videos and content.
“I actually love being outdoors too, so sometimes I’d go hiking with friends,” she revealed. On top of all that, Faye is a huge beauty gal so she loves to watch YouTube tutorials, and even does her own reviews.
But when it comes to a gaming device, she doesn’t want to compromise. “The main things I look at are the CPU and graphics card. I shouldn’t have to compromise graphics for performance. I used to game on a laptop that didn’t have a graphics card so I had to lower the quality and sacrifice graphics just so it wouldn’t lag. That affected my gaming experience,” she explained. “As a streamer and YouTuber, I also multi-task. I have to constantly Alt-Tab to read my chats, record games and do other things. Plus, for content creation I have to edit heavy files and videos,” Faye said.
Engineered for power, this is where the Predator Helios 300 Special Edition hits all the marks. On top of its good looks, it packs performance — an 8th Gen Intel CoreTM i7 processor paired with an overclockable NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 graphics card. It’s VR-ready with an upgraded 144Hz refresh rate, which means no lag, and multi-tasking is a cinch. So powerful, it’s able to do the heavy-lifting such as edit videos and heavy files as any desktop would.
“There are a lot of toxic people in games. It’s inevitable. I’m a positive person though, so I don’t get too tilted.”
As a girl, though, she says there are two sides to gaming. “There are a lot of toxic people in games. It’s inevitable. I’m a positive person though, so I don’t get too tilted, I guess because I play for entertainment purposes,” she revealed. “Surprisingly also, I don’t face discrimination, when they find out I’m a female. You get advantages — when you need help they’re more tolerant,” Faye said.
a gamer needs a device that does it all
When you meet “Makciksheila” in person (or in gaming speak, IRL — short for In Real Life), you’ll notice her energy, which overflows. In her signature light, candid manner, Sheila revealed that she too started gaming while she was young, thanks to the influence of her older brother. “I started in high school, playing PC games online such as Ragnarok Online and Maple Story. But then I stopped PC games for a while because my computer back then wasn’t capable enough,” she shared.
Fast forward to now, and now she games frequently for leisure, and for work. “I do enjoy playing mobile games with the gang, because I learned to do streaming which is part of my day job. At work, I teach my talents how to use OBS and use live streaming, and how to stream their games from their phone or PC to [our app, Tamago Live],” she said. How did she end up there? “Honestly it happened very quickly. My boyfriend recommended that I apply for the job opening we saw together and I just did it anyway. Within a week I was hired!” she said.
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The outgoing and outspoken Sheila knows that people like her hold a special place in Esports in Malaysia. “Girl gamers are on the rise right now here. I don’t think people are shocked that I’m a gamer,” she said. The downside is also that when you’re a girl, you do get picked on. “There can be the usual harassment like, ‘Kau ni perempuan, kau ni noob la!’, the typical sort of thing. So sometimes when a girl messes up, it’s harsh on them. They’ll pick on you ’cause of your gender,” she revealed, while adding: “But when you’re good at what you do, the haters will just shut up.”
Behind her boundless energy and enthusiasm though, is a dark secret: “I am naturally a competitive person. My friends know this. I’m a real sore loser! That’s what makes me love to game so much. I really hate to lose,” she laughed.
Since she’s super competitive, Sheila accepts nothing below her standards. “In a gaming product or laptop, I definitely look at all the specs it has. When I play something on a normal laptop and it crashes and hangs, I can’t stand it. I look at the RAM and the memory, everything, to make sure I know I’m getting the best,” she said.
The Predator Helios 300 Special Edition is built for powering games — and gamers. Loaded with 8 GB of DDR4 memory and a 1TB hard disk drive, plus the super impressive 144Hz refresh rate, makes sure that lags and hangs are a thing of the past. A gaming laptop needs to be able to ‘hold’ my games so I can WIN!” she said. When asked about looks, Sheila also admitted that it matters. “This white Predator Helios 300 Special Edition is so gorgeous!” Finished in a sleek white and gold-trimmed chassis, it’s the best-looking partner to give any gamer a fighting chance.
When asked whether she would play competitively, she said she would. “More girls should play competitively. Right now in E-sports, there are a lot of guys and the girls, while coming up, are not there fully yet. I’m hoping for girl casters for games,” she said. “Gaming makes me feel happy. It allows me to spend my time alone. It’s my form of me-time!” she enthused.