I have never had a bad experience talking to people at con. Most of the people are awesome people and have amazing stories to tell. Meeting Genese Davis at Wizard World Chicago was the perfect example of how amazing the people you meet at a con can be. I attended a panel on why we love villains and got the chance to talk to Genese after. Genese Davis is a well-rounded and interesting woman. She has a history as fearless equestrian rider and fearsome raider in the MMORPG world. She is a writer for MMORPG.com and has written the book The Holder’s Dominion. I caught up with Genese after the panel and asked her about women, video games and her book.
What are some of the important things to consider when representing a female character?
It is important to make sure that when you write a female character that she is not just a gender swapped character. She needs to feel like she has her own femininity and qualities that make her unique.
Why are MMORPG video games so important to you?
The community aspect of video games is very important. A lot of my friends didn’t understand what I was doing when I had a raid on a Tuesday night, they had questions and I wanted to create a way to communicate that experience. I wanted them to understand what it was like to work as a team to all go after the mobs. It inspired me to write a book that could immerse someone in that community that linked people from all over the world by playing this video game. It was more than just a game, it was a second family. You make best friends with these people. I couldn’t explain it so I wanted to show them what it was like. I think that The Holder’s Dominion show that experience.
How did video games inspire your book The Holder’s Dominion?
Back in 2010 I started writing The Holder’s Dominion as a little dream to show people the connections in video games. I wanted to correct the media perception that video games are a waste of time or addictive. There is the other side of it; video games help to heal. I was going through some trauma and it was fascinating that I felt like I lost my voice. I felt lost in the world and I was terrified. Being able to play an online video game from home in a safe environment was like finding kindred spirits and I found myself again. It was comforting to find hope in these people. To be an author, host and traveling to cons doing panels feels great. I get to bring these topics to audiences and share with them this love for a connection we all share.
How difficult was the social aspect of video games?
At first I was nervous to get on Ventrillo, especially when the other video gamers would tease me and say, “Girls don’t play video games you must be a guy disguising your voice.” I found that as long as I pulled my own weight and perfected my role they were okay with that. I worked hard and made the top 100 of my class as well as earning a Server First Achievement for Dragonwrath, Tarecgosa’s Rest. It was great that the guild rallied around me to help me earn it. It was months and months of raiding. It was incredible to see my dragon in the sky with my avatar. We put so much work and passion into it with the group. It was great that we could celebrate as a group. That is why I put real players’ stories into The Holder’s Dominion to make it authentic. There is so much negative media around video games I wanted to highlight the positive.
Where are all the strong female leaders in video games?
I like that the emphasis is on leaders. There is big gap between a kick-ass side character or companion and a leader. I do feel like in video games in particular we are missing a leader. When I do video game panels and I ask the audience to name female video game characters Laura Croft is the one I hear the most. I feel that is a missing piece in most video games and a lot of the female fans ask me, “Why is there only one type of female, the overly feminized, and why aren’t there more females in general?” I think that the more women can get into development the more they can influence these changes. I talk with video game developers that feel that it is very male dominated and we need to get women in their to give examples of how to make women in stories work. I love Felicia Day and Jane McGonigal because they represent a positive message for girls in gaming. Jane McGonigals TED Talk was a great example of how I felt about video gaming as a girl. Lady Sylvanas is the first time I related to a strong female character in a real way.
You can find Genese Davis at all the usual places: Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and her Website. Also make sure you check out her book The Holder’s Dominion. You can also find her as an in-demand panelist all over the place.
Tags: Genese Davis, The Holder’s Dominion, Women, Wizard World Chicago, Video Games, Legion of Leia