Posts Tagged iNcontroL

An Interview with Girl Gamer Tara Babcock

iNcontroL and Tara Babcock at Seattle Barcraft, playing StarCraft 2

Gamdo: Hey Tara, first I would like to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to do this interview for the StarCraft community.

For a lot of us, our relationship with you began yesterday when Day[9] tweeted “even supermodels want to date SC2 players” followed by a link to your recent article 10 Reasons To Date A StarCraft Player. Although a lighthearted yet highly informed post, some community members were not happy with either the article, you posing semi nude or the fact that it appeared in the feed of StarCraft 2’s most high profile community member, Day[9]. With over 92k twitter followers Sean Plott a.k.a Day[9] has risen to the top of the StarCraft 2 scene thanks to his awesome daily show day9tv.com and shoutcasting most MLG tournaments amongst many other gaming accomplishments, he is therefore highly respected.

I noticed not long after the Day[9] tweet, and you even mentioned to me, that there was a small negative reaction to your article from a select few, both girls and guys. Some complained directly to Day[9], others just tweeted how they had a problem with the sexualisation of it all, and others were just not happy half of your breasts were out, hence why I thought it would be good idea to get an interview. After doing my research on you, which was tough with all those erm, pictures in my way of the hard facts, I can see that you are actually a real gamer, and obviously a glamour model.

So for everyone who has not read all about you over on ImpulseGamer.com or TaraBabcock.com, tell us in a few sentences what you do for a living?

Tara: Well, first of all, I want to thank you for the interest in interviewing me, and for possessing the drive to delve deeper into a sensitive subject.

I’ve been a professional model for nearly three years now, which means I travel the US meeting clients and other industry professionals. I’ve done a plethora of photoshoots, hosted a ton of events, and represented at a bunch of conventions. I also have had the honor of working with a lot of amazing print publications and well-known websites along the way! I interact with fans on my (non-nude) website, TaraBabcock.com, where I post all of my images, merchandise, and diaries of my adventures. In addition, I also write gaming-related articles for ImpulseGamer.com, quick weekly top ten college lifestyle articles for LionsDenU.com, and I dabble in photo retouching, graphic design and CSS/HTML coding with my side-business, Tara Babcock Can Edit!

Gamdo: That’s an impressive portfolio of work that doesn’t usually span two such extreme fields. There are very few gamers I can think of who are models, male or female, hence the heightened interest in you, not just by myself. Actually I just thought of one who I know you met at a Barcraft in Seattle, Anna Prosser who we all know is often in the limelight next to her progamer partner EGiNcontroL. So you clearly have made the effort to get into the scene, visit a Barcraft, and judging by the photo (above) you actually play StarCraft because you enjoy it, tell me how you got into the game?

Tara: Why, thank you! Yeah, Anna and Geoff (iNcontroL) are very inspirational, sweet people. I had a great time at Seattle BarCraft, too!

I got into StarCraft because I grew up playing Warcraft. I played WC2 religiously with my friends when I was super young. I wrote off the first StarCraft when it came out, until last year. I let my prejudging get the best of me; I thought it was a lame attempt at milking the success of the Warcraft games, and I had no inkling of how amazing it was then. I co-own a raiding guild in WoW, so I follow the BlizzCon events, and during the 2010 ‘con I got really interested in StarCraft, and eSports in general. It also helped having a ton of gamer friends constantly telling me how awesome it was! I finally gave Brood War and SC2 a chance and, naturally, I loved it! To me, it’s more than a game, it’s not something you can just pick up and be good, or even decent, at. It takes time, skill, and dedication. Even at my lower level, often casual, gameplay… it can be such an emotional rollercoaster! It’s exciting to play a video game with such purpose and longevity, other than just for the visual stimulation and the captivating storylines!

Gamdo: StarCraft was pushed onto me by friends too, and I also played WC2. I notice you are Silver 1v1, which is good considering the competition out there is constantly getting better and as you say you are casual. I know a lot of silver players who take the game seriously so you are doing well, heck I’m only Gold 1v1 but in my defense I mainly play team games as they are less stressful, and as you say StarCraft is not something you can just pick up and 0wn!

I thought your article was great fun, the humour was right up my street, sex and StarCraft, after all I am from England. It was clearly written for entertainment value, yes it is sexualised but this is the games industry, pert breasts, skin tight outfits are on every female character from Tomb Raider to Kerrigan, and even male characters are hardly ugly and out of shape. But clearly a lot of girls (and some guys) have issues with this in the gaming and now in the SC2 community. How do you feel about sexualisation in games, and female roles being heavily sexed up?

Tara: I’ve done a lot of StarCraft observing and studying, but I’m definitely lacking tons of practice and experience! I’m not satisfied with my ladder ranking and I hope to get to Gold or Platinum before I decide to stream. Even then, I plan on using my stream to shamelessly document my rise in ranks, and whatever weaknesses and difficulties I happen to encounter along the way. That should be interesting!

With my article, and all of my Impulse Gamer articles, I wanted to make it cute and fun, while also being informative. Anyone can write a dry, typical guide or review to a video game, but if it’s also interesting, clever, and relate-able, then it has an edge! Especially with StarCraft; I don’t feel like I have the right, or the knowledge, to write an article like I am an expert, so a beginner’s guide that would promote the community in a more mainstream and interesting light would be perfect, I thought. I wanted to make everyone in the community laugh, and I wanted to interest new players!

It’s hard to explain how I feel about sexed-up media in a brief paragraph. However, I don’t see anything wrong with sexy male and female super heroes or game protagonists. We are all sexual beings, and we all love to look at beautiful things. Although what is “hot” is very subjective, there is an overlap where most people will generally agree, and it becomes an argument of semantics. These video games are meant to be fantastical, and out-of-this-world. They need exaggerated characters, and ones that will grab attention. It’s cool to see a woman who looks too proper and delicate to be tough in a fighting game, or adventuring in an RPG. The only problem lies with how the community interprets this information. A lot of people take this as an attack on them because they do not look this way, or gain unhealthy image issues from it. That being said, women should not have to look this way to be girl gamers, and I don’t think this is an issue. After all, not all gamer guys look like Tychus Findlay! Gamer girls should, and do, have a ton of support!

Gamdo: Well I can only vouch for what I have seen at London Barcraft, but most of us DON’T look like Tychus Findlay, even after a few drinks!

I get the impression you’re just like every other girl gamer, but rather than a 9 to 5 job you are a glamour model. The problem is I don’t think a lot of people saw that, they just saw large breasts. One thing that may have caused this is as soon as you hit the link to your article 10 Reasons To Date A StarCraft Player over 50% of the page is pictures of a hot (imo) semi nude chick, you. I can see that scaring off a lot of girls, my wife for a start would close the page instantly, and I bet a few guys who are in the office or with family would have to ALT+F4 the page.

Whether or not we closed the browser or read all your articles, people were quick to spit out a few hurtful remarks on twitter, some saying you were a porn star not a model, some saying all they saw was just a pair of tits which isn’t how girl gamers should be portrayed and some were saying why would Day[9] link to such a thing. How do you feel about these reactions and have you anything you want to say to those who judged you so quickly?

Tara: Well, I bet you would look like Tychus if you were a stimpack advocate who carried around a Marine suit twenty-four hours a day!

Day[9] did say it was “slightly NSFW”! I would think that gamer girls, a group often targeted with prejudice and trolling, wouldn’t do the same to someone else. I never said that how I look is how they should, or anything to that effect. I’m quite used to comments and judgements like that, and I don’t waste my time on negativity, but I was quite shocked that some were so offended they threatened to e-mail Day[9]’s feedback team. I am incredibly sorry that I inadvertently pulled him into that situation and caused him any trouble. It’s saddening that an article that was meant to make people smile did the exact opposite for some, as well.

I believe Day [9] posted the link because he read the article and thought it was something the community would enjoy. Being such a nice guy, I don’t think he would get hung up on my profession. I think he supports the whole of the StarCraft community, not just those who look a certain way, or have a “normal” job.

Gamdo: Hey I go gym! I’d like to think I’m on my way to the Tychus look but without the stimpacks, but people say I look more like the Hellion avatar!

I think Day[9] may have also been overwhelmed by you mentioning he is cute, although a lot of girls say that! Personally I think his brother Nick “Tasteless” Plott’ is the cute one, I can say that right, that’s not gay? So who in the SC2 community does it for you, who do you follow and cheer for, players, casters whatever. Oh and I just got a request asking what race you play and if you are an a-move girl?

Tara: That’s awesome! You’ve gotta love those Hellions! I look more like an Overlord without makeup!

I’m sure Day[9] is extra used to gamer girls having huge crushes on him, so my calling him cute shouldn’t be an issue! Tasteless, eh? I don’t know about that! My favorite progamer is definitely SeleCT. I play Terran, so I enjoy watching him, and I envy his dropship play awesomeness. Other players I like are MMA, Sheth, HerO, and I enjoy Idra’s play, drama-filled or not. My favorite caster is, of course, Day[9], but I also think Husky is really great at what he does!

I’m assuming when you say “a-move girl” you’re asking me if I send my army blindly at the opponent without bothering to micro. I definitely don’t do that! I enjoy micro-ing my units during an attack, and the challenge of trying to keep up my macro and keep an eye on the map is really exciting. I’ve never been great at multitasking, and StarCraft is the ultimate challenge! I’d like to think I’ve got some of the basics down… it’s just the application I sometimes fail at!

Gamdo: Terran, GG! All this drama around you reminds me of an incident last year, when another hot blonde was in the StarCraft limelight. Lindsey Sporrer was put on air live in between NASL games, unlike you she had no clue about the game but was a great filler. The community was divided but generally took to her, alas her promise of staying in the scene and live streaming her StarCraft games never quite came through. I guess some of the community may be worried you will disappear too, are you here to stay and if so how and where are the best ways to see more of you? (Excuse the pun)

Tara: While I play Terran, I actually think Zerg is the most adorable, interesting, and challenging race!

Well, from what I understand of that situation, Lindsey Sporrer was a gorgeous aspiring host and actress who just booked a job and kind of botched it with her lack of knowledge. After the warm welcome and understanding of the StarCraft community, she was humbled and compelled to learn more, but got busy with her budding career. In contrast, I was a gamer before I had any success with my career, and my gamer status has endured throughout as well. Hell, I was a gamer before I could walk. No matter how busy I get with my career, gaming will always be how I spend whatever free time I may have. StarCraft is a game that will never stop being rewarding and interesting to play, and watch. I can’t see myself going anywhere! In addition, I would love to use my pull in the industry, and with the general public, to make gaming part of my job as well. I would kill for a chance to transition and host eSports events, or do other exciting gaming-related things like my Impulse Gamer writing gig. Combining modeling with gaming somehow, and becoming a personality and an inspiration to those in the community, would fulfill all of my dreams!

For now, you can find more of me at tarasgspot.com, which is my direct URL to the articles I write for Impulse Gamer. You can also check everything out at tarababcock.com, and keep an eye out for me on Twitch soon! Follow me on Twitter, too, @TaraBabcock. That way, you’ll know what’s new with me!

Gamdo: I’m sure you will have a bunch of new fans following you on twitter now thanks to Day[9] and hopefully anyone who felt you didn’t deserve the link in his feed now either loves you or, still hates you, but at least they know a bit more detail behind the girl gamer that is Tara Babcock. Plenty of us would love to see you shine in the StarCraft scene, and we will be following you closely on twitter. I know the community would love to get another interview with you further down the line to see where you are, I’m in Las Vegas in May so if you are nearby we could do another interview, for YouTube ;o) Thanks again for taking time out to talk to us and we look forward to seeing you again, soon! Gamdo.

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