There are many girl gamers in the world, but none are like the one and only AngelEena. A bibliophile, polymath, and major geek, she is a regular gem over at Destructoid, where she blogs on gaming and life.
I have had the privilege to call AngelEena my friend, ever since she found my games list on Amazon. Since then, she visited us in South Korea, along with her wonderful husband Jonathan. I pride myself on being a dork and mock techie, but in reality she surpasses me in every respect.
I decided to hit her up for an interview, as she has much to say about the gaming world.
CA: OK so when did you begin gaming, and what consoles/games were you into?
A: First game system I ever played was an Atari 2600 when I was 4. I have only vague memories of grabbing the joystick and making my own sound effects. When I was right about 5 my family got a Super NES for Christmas that came with The Legend of Zelda: A link to the past. My life changed forever. I would spend hours watching my brothers play. Memorizing dungeon puzzles. Playing it when they were asleep and getting them rupees. I had notebooks full of pictures of special items. Notes on where to find them. I made my own interpretations of the 7 maidens. Ideas on why Ganon wanted a dark world.
On the weekends when I visited my cousin I got my first real exposures to Role Playing Games. Secret of Mana, Breath of Fire, Earthbound, Final Fantasy 3. He had them all. (Or rather his friend from up the road did lol) Hours of stories at my fingertips. New art styles. Wholly different worlds from what I was familiar with. It was astounding. Later on I went through another phase of PSone RPGs by myself where I really grew as a gamer. I’ve never looked back!
CA: You said in one interview on Destructoid how gaming provided you with so much during hard times, alternate worlds that were vivid and adventures that lifted you up. Can you expound on this?
A: Well. When you grow up like I did. It was really easy to lose hope. I was terribly poor. I was hungry. My body hurt all the time. My siblings were all older enough and could get away from the house. My parents had substance abuse problems and we lived in a very rural area. I had no one to talk to once my siblings got old enough. It got to the point that I could never see a future. When you’re a child and you have no hope. You believe that nothing gets better. Sometimes you even hope the sun doesn’t come up.
But when you can play a game where there’s a world in which fantastic things happen. And even children can go on adventures. They can help someone. You can save that world. Well, you don’t want to give up. Just on the off chance you could save someone else. Help another world. Help another person lost and stuck like yourself. Just the idea that you could be someone’s hero can make you want the sun to come up.
CA: Yes I agree completely. Now you are a designer. How has gaming affected your work?
A: Of course! Gaming pushes me to do better. To try the fantastic! To branch and grow. It’s not really that gaming effects my designs, but really my entire outlook. Gaming should inspire you. Like any adventure.
CA: so what games specifically inspire you?
A: Well everyone has favorites. I would say Secret of Mana. Silent Hill. Final Fantasy 3/6. Suikoden 2. Mother 3. Definitely on the top.
Final Fantasy 8 has a special inspiration in my marriage. And the more current inspirations would be Enslaved and Nier.
CA: Why the love of survival horror? I think some gamers don’t understand the beauty of Silent Hill and Silent Hill games. What do you find inspiring about them?
A: What isn’t? It’s about the human spirit distilled to its genuine core. It’s about surviving. It’s what we’re all made to do, but never have to. It’s an amazing concept. It pulls you to your knees and makes you fight again. With Silent Hill the art direction, sound direction, and isolation increases that strong sense of loss. Make you fight back harder even though the world seems bleaker.
CA: What are your favorite Soundtracks?
A: Hmmmmm. Final Fantasy 8. Legend of Mana. Silent Hill 3. Mother 3. Nier. Final Fantasy 7. Bioshock. I could go on and ON and ON.
CA: Moving on to other forms of geek… what are your favorite movies?
A: Oh. I like a ton. Camp to Serious and So on. Let’s see. Dr. Phibes Rises Again. Moon. Blackbeard’s Ghost. Super (2010), Event Horizon. The Descent. Yeah, I like a lot.
CA: I didn’t know you like horror movies Angel, you keep giving me more reasons to abduct you…
A: No I love horror. I used to write a lot of reviews on 70s horror. From the super gory to the camp to the odd supernatural. 80’s horror and I disagree sometimes, but there’s some GREAT campy gems in there.
CA: Tell me about what music gets you off
A: Like music I love or music that literally gets me off?
A: Hah. Some of my favorite groups include David Bowie, Seawolf, Crystal Castles, Garbage, Daft Punk, Andrew Bird, The Beatsteaks. She Wants Revenge, Moby, The Postal Service, La Roux, Chromeo. I could go on and on once again.
As far as the latter is concerned, I put some bands in there that do.
CA: Talk Star Trek to me.
A: What do you want to know? I love it. I’m a blue shirt. Deep Space 9 is my favorite series. The Borg are my favorite bad guys. Andorians are my favorite race.
CA: I still haven’t seen any of them. I want to badly.
A:Well they’re big. The original series is fine if you go into it knowing it’s campy. Next Generation is where I would start if you haven’t seen it. Deep Space 9 is all about characters. It’s not for everyone, but it is by far my favorite. Voyager’s lost out in space against horrible odds. And has some awesomely campy characters. It’s my 2nd favorite.
People hate on Enterprise but I like it. It’s nice and essentially a modern update of the original. And there’s Andorians and Jeffrey Combs is one of them and that makes it all worth it.
CA: where would you like to be in ten years, and doing what?
A: In ten years. Hmmm I’ll be 33. And but of course. I’d really like to be working on my own ideas. I’d love to be publishing my own comics. And working on my own latex designs. See I”m a body painter at heart. But body paint doesn’t last. But with latex. I can take that second skin that latex makes. Applique my designs onto it and have a painting last forever.