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Girls vs Guys: the big Game-Off

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New broadband service provider PLuGG has entered the big debate: Are girls better at gaming than guys? They’ve brought the most feared and respected girl gaming clan, PMS Clan, to Suth Africa, to take on the top local guys gaming clan in a Counterstrike 1.6 Game-Off on 29 November. ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK speaks to PMS Clan leader Athena Twin.

Are girls better at gaming than guys? That’s the question that raged in gamer forums in South Africa, until new broadband Internet service provider PLuGG decided to settle the argument. They’ve brought the most feared and respected girl gaming clan, PMS Clan, to South Africa for an exclusive live game-off against South Africa’s top male gamers. PLuGG will be hosting five of the top international girl gamers organised and headed by PMS Clan, who have partnered with SK Gaming Ladies and EG Ladies, to participate in this first-of-its-kind game-off, playing Counterstrike 1.6, on 29 November. The event starts at 8pm at Turbine Hall, 65 Ntemi Piliso Street, Newtown, Johannesburg. Buy or win tickets on the PLuGG web site. The PMS Clan is the world’s largest multi-platform online female gaming group, led by Amber Dalton, aka Athena Twin PMS. She spoke exclusively to Gadget editor Arthur Goldstuck:

Amber “Athena Twin”” Dalton, PMS Clan Leader

Let’s get the obvious question out of the way first: how did you get into gaming and what was the response of the guys then, and what response do you get now? And your parents’ response then and now? I started gaming as a child on the Atari and Nintendo platforms playing old school games like Mario, Pac Man, Tetris, etc. However, I never classified myself as a gamer until I started playing Halo on LAN and through Game Spy online and found a passion in competitive gaming. My mother did not really think too much of my game playing other then I spent too much time on it until I started being in media. Now, she takes pride in her “”gamer daughter”” and has been known to throw out a little smack talk to anyone she might meet that games about how her daughter can kick their butt, lol. And the other obvious question: why are girls better than guys?

I do not feel girls are better than guys or vice-versa. I think there are certainly some differences, but both sexes have their own strengths and weaknesses which level out in the end. Bottom line, we are both here to win and to play just the same. PlUGG saw a battle in online forums over this issue and decided to put it to the test by having us come compete against the guys here, but I really think this is going to be a great battle to show both sides have their own strengths and weakness, and anyone can win (although our girls will try their hardest to make sure the ladies come out on top)! Is it a testosterone thing for guys who believe they are better than girls? And how do you cure it?

Many guys think they are better than girls because most women do not place or do well in PRO events against guys. However, this is not an analytical way to look at it, since the reason you do not see many women placing top boils down to basic math. There are thousands and thousands of male competitors in a game where you see a handful of women, so statically when you pull winners it makes perfect sense that the most winners will come from the larger pool of players. This is the same for South Africa as well, since there are less competitive gamers in SA vs. the rest of the world as well. How do we cure it? What women and South Africa need to do is get the talent pools up in numbers so they have more options of raw talent and dedicated players from to choose from when creating teams. Are there games that are better suited to girls or to guys? Or ones where girls display a substantial superiority beyond what you do in average games?

You will find more women gamers naturally drawn to social, puzzle, social and story mode games‚Ķ simply because of how we are raised. There are not many women in competitive games mostly because of what society dictates are acceptable male and female activities themselves‚Ķ starting off with just the type of games in competitive events (Shooters, Racers, Fighters, RTS etc). Competitive genres typically specialise in traditional male passions from the time they are given their toys guns and Hot Wheels (when girls were given their Barbie Dolls and EZ Bake Ovens). Same goes for why many men are not playing the SIMS. A female gamer is not usually going to walk into a store and buy COD4: it usually takes exposure to an FPS or the game itself from a male friend or family member. There are not games “”better”” for guys then girls, there is simply just social factors and exposure that influence who is playing what types games. What’s with the North American vs South African thing? Doesn’t gaming transcend regional borders?

Of course this is not a South Africa vs. North America event: this is a woman vs. male event. PlUGG wanted to help promote South Africa gaming, and wanted to make sure the team would play the best group of women competitors they could find, and most of these ladies from North America have all played on top champion teams. However, I do see a correlation with South Africa gamers and female gamers as I explained earlier, as far as the shortage of number of competitive players is concerned, so I think the PlUGG Girls vs. Guys Game Off will be a great way to show the talent out of both of these groups! Tell us about the origin of your nickname (Athena Twin). And of the name Pandora’s Mighty Soldiers.

My sister’s alias is Athena and she started playing online before me. I would go to her house and play all the time on her account and people would come into the server to talk to her so I would have to explain I was not Athena, I was her twin. Since I played on her account a lot, soon people started coming in asking if I was Athena or Athena’s twin? When I created my own account, Athena Twin seemed like a natural choice for me. As far as Pandora’s Mighty Soldiers goes, we started off as Psychotic Man Slayers back in six years ago, but had a vote for a name change in 2005 to Pandora’s Mighty Soldiers. How do you feel about the claim from some that violent games result in violent people?

I don’t think violent games make violent people at all, but I do think violent people can act on any inspiration from games, movies, music or anything else. This is not games’ or other entertainment’s fault, there are just messed up people in this world that do mean things. What is your favourite game right now and why?

I have been playing COD4 for the most part, but as soon as I get back home I have a feeling GOW2 will keep me entertained through the winter months!! 😀

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