11th October, 2012 - Posted by Mashupman -
Gamerweblog.com is putting together a series of interviews with gaming ladies of all walks of life. In an effort to put the spotlight on what many still believe is a rarity, the girl who is an avid gamer. Today we highlight: Michelle Vargas.
Hi Michelle, can you briefly talk about what you do for a living?
“Sure, absolutely! I am a life coach and I’m also a video producer. I was a video producer, director, shooter and editor for five years, since I graduated college in 2007. And then I was doing a lot of video content for people who were in the personal development and life coaching arena and I sort of caught the bug and decided to switch careers completely, which happened past February when I wrote my first book. Since then I’ve been full time life coach, still have a few video clients; but I don’t really do the nitty-gritty work now, I just kind of produce and direct now.”
“I’m into the technology side of things, I love the Internet and I’ve been blogging on YouTube for five and a half years. Find me over at http://www.youtube.com/user/FartWithHeadphonesOn”
And what do you do in terms of gaming?
“Well I’ve grown up on video games. My best friend when I was growing up was Super Mario.”
“I’ve always been that weird girl out that actually likes it; and not in a way that I was pretending to like it, but I actually like it. And I think around college I had to stop playing as much. Because I would get really into stuff and forget that the rest of the world exists. And more recently when I moved in with my fiancée Justin, he was playing Halo all the time and I was never good at shooters. I was always more into RPGs and cute adventure games, so I was not into shooters; and then he was always playing and I would watch and see the techniques he was using and I said ‘ I need to get better at this game’ and so we would play together, and he made me play online which I hated, because when I was bad I would need to hear about it from everybody.”
“Which happened all the time and that sort of broke me of being worried about it. And essentially we spent a year just always playing Halo and he trained me. And now sometimes I’m better than him.”
“And then this past week I had a vacation week from work, sort of a mandatory take a week off to recharge thing. And I decided to just playa video game all week and I grabbed Skyward Sword; the newest Zelda game for the Wii. Which is cool because you get to hold the remote like your sword and it’s neat. And I just spent fifty hours playing that game four days in a row.”
So pretty much that was your job for the week? To play Zelda?
“Yes! Yes it was.”
“And it was great. It was a great rest period. I had said a long time ago that I wouldn’t go anywhere on my next vacation, but I would stay home and play a video game. And I fulfilled on that. It was incredibly refreshing to just lose myself in a game like that and get back to not feeling guilty about playing. Which was a very big thing for me, and now I feel like I can work video games into my day more regularly and not feel like they’re going to eat my entire life. Because I actually feel that I have some more control about it now.”
I’ve seen on your website you allow people to schedule calls into your agenda themselves. How do you create moments for yourself to do other meaningful work, or to play video games all day if you feel like it?
“I actually build in blocks of time where people are not allowed to schedule calls. My hours are ten to six and that’s it. Even though I have a few clients who started with me before I made those hours and they’re a little later in the day and I’m sort of riding that out until they are done.”
“But I will put random blocks of time that will look like I’m simply unavailable, that are is just white space for me to do whatever I want with. In particular on Wednesdays; when I don’t work. It’s a total day off. The same goes for the weekends. Period. Doesn’t matter what’s going on. Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Friday’s I’m fair game. But when somebody schedules in something, I will add in some time before and after that, to create some space and I don’t end up with appointments right on top of each other. People can go in and schedule but ultimately I’m able to create some slack in my schedule so it’s not like it’s a rapid fire of people calling me.”
Does your work leave you a great deal of time to play games?
“Yes, actually. It’s pretty great because it’s not like a normal nine to five where you are just somewhere doing some work. Every single client I have, I talk to once a week for one hour. And I have to be physically and mentally on my A-game for them, every single time. So for me a big part of my day is making sure that my personal wellbeing is intact. Making sure that I’m getting enough play-time, enough sleep and that I’m eating good food. Those things are a huge part of my job. I need to make sure that I’m happy, because if I’m not happy, I’m not going to be of service to my clients. So I have a rule that I don’t take more that three client calls on any given day. That doesn’t include talking to people that are interested in it, but my actual clients. I will not have more than three, because I will be too drained and whoever gets me last is out of luck that day, because I cannot be a hundred percent for their session.”
“So there is that, plus when I’m not on the phone with somebody, I’m still running my own business and doing marketing or writing for my next book or making videos. So there is a lot of stuff to do. And I just straight up leave the room for having fun and playing for the days I have off of work.”
When you do play games what draws you to a specific one?
“Uhm [laughs] Like I said. I liked Zelda because it’s Cute and it’s funny and it’s silly and it’s not scary. I had to review Resident evil 5 once and do a video about it and I hated playing it. I just hated it, but at that time I still wasn’t good at Halo yet. So I wasn’t good with anything too confrontational in any game would freak me out. And still; I’m playing one of the Zelda boss-battles and I’m getting sweaty, because you actually need to swing your ‘sword’ around and stuff. It would get my heart pounding and all that. So whenever it’s a confrontational part in the game I’m like ‘Uhh’. But so long as it’s peppered in with enough fun and silly stuff I’m good.”
“That being said, I really appreciate games like resident Evil. So what I did was I had a friend of mine come over and play the game and I would watch them. So I didn’t have to feel like I was the one doing it and that made up for it.”
“I guess what draws me in is that I really like games where I need to collect a certain amount of things. Or find things and solve puzzles. Those always got me really charged up. My favorite game back in the day was Banjo Kazooie for the Nintendo 64 and the second one that came out. Those were just fantastic games and I fell like Zelda is very similar to that. So yeah I just really like going on a little adventure in a game.”
Describe, if you would, your perfect night or day of gaming. Who is there, what do you play?
“Well, I guess it depends I guess. Some really fun days I’ve had playing games were just me and Justin playing Halo together as a team. Because when we’re sitting next to each other and point things out to each other and employ some strategy; that’s super fun.”
“We have spent whole perfect days just doing that. Breaking to get some good food and watch some tv and then go back to it. And that’s some of the best times I’ve had playing games in general, was teaming up with Justin and kicking some butt together.”
What are some of the other games that you enjoy playing?
“[Laughs] Well for a long time I was very hooked on Age of Empires for the PC. Prior to that, things like Rollercoaster Tycoon. But like Age of Empires and all that stuff, I love that. And I love it so much that I had to delete it from my computer, because if it’s on my computer it will eat me alive.”
“That was when I had to stop in college because I was way too immersed in that. And I never ever got into World of Warcraft, because I know that I would likely have a similar experience and possibly way worse.”
“I’ve had the same thing. I never played World of Warcraft as well, because I know that everything else I do would suffer from it. Right? That is so true.”
Do you tend to hop around from game to game, or do you play one for two weeks straight and finish it all the way before moving on?
“I tend to do things in bursts. Like for instance when Halo: Reach came out we didn’t really play anything else. We took a break to play Portal 2 and finish the coop together and I played through the single player game by myself.”
“So when something else pops up I’ll play it. But I usually don’t hop around between games. I usually focus on one thing for a long time.”
Does that relate to your time constraints?
“Yeah. I think I’d just rather be focused on. So I can be like ‘let’s complete this. Let’s get it done’. Instead of hanging a lot of games hanging that I haven’t beat; because I hate it when that happens. I think I do have some that I haven’t beat, but I’ve conveniently forgotten so yay!”
Are there any upcoming or recent titles that you’re excited about?
“Well there’s a new halo coming out, so that has me pretty excited. Especially since I’m good at it now. When I used to suck at it, I wouldn’t get too excited about a new one coming out. But I’m pretty psyched about that right now.”
“I have a copy of Mirror’s Edge sitting here that I haven’t started playing and that bums me out, because I think it’s probably awesome and I’ve heard a lot about it, I do want to get on that at some point.”
“Oh, and LA Noire. I read about it way before it came out in Game Informer. I was totally enamored with it and then it came out and I was like: ‘ I can’t do that, I’m just going to get way too involved with it’. But that one is still sort of on my mental radar of something that I want to jump on.”
Do you have a favorite platform that you play games on? And can you explain why it is your favorite?
“Well. I have to say Nintendo in general. I grew up on it and I really didn’t want to switch when the PlayStation and everything else came out. I was like: “ I’m a Nintendo girl, through and through’. Which is why I still have my Wii and for my week off I chose a Wii game, because I’d rather play a Nintendo game. I just like them. I guess it just reminds me a lot of when I was a kid.”
To conclude the article, I’d like to use this set of ten questions that I have prepared to include in every interview. For this I have taken inspiration from Bernard Pigott and James Lipton (Inside The Actor’s Studio).
Here they are, the Trivial Ten!
1. What is your favorite word?
“[Pauses] Oh! Serendipity”
2. What is your least favorite word?
3. What draws you into a game?
4. What turns you off of a game?
5. What game mechanic do you love?
“Ooh. This is random: But the Spider-Man for GameCube. I would play it just to kind of fly around the city. So the Spider-Man ropes. Shooting webs.”
6. What game mechanic do you hate?
“[Giggles] I hate jumping around in Halo. Because other people do it better than me, and they’re still able to shoot.”
7. What is your favorite curse word?
8. What game that you’ve not played would you like to pick up?
9. What games do you steer clear from?
10. If you were to design a game, what would be the name of the main character?
“Fart. It would go with my own brand.”
I would like to take this moment that thank you for answers. And would like to leave you some space for any final comments you may have for the readers. Is there anything in particular you want to share?
“Well thank you, for having me on. Love talking about video games. I’m actually writing my second book right now and it’s due to come out on September 20th and it’s called Fart With Headphones On. It’s all about being a creative person and how to create content and put it out into the world.”
“So it’s sort of about my process of going through that for the past five years and all about how to get past your self-doubt and personal blocks around it. And also some really workable tips for unleashing your own creativity.”