Exclusive – Author Genese Davis Stops In For A Chat

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I’ve had the distinct privilege in my career to interview some of the most interesting people in the gaming industry. Over this past few weeks I’ve been fortunate enough to have corresponded with Genese Davis. If you’re unfamiliar, Genese stands as one of the best examples of what modern gaming has to offer. She’s a trained pilot, acclaimed author, and video game personality. But most importantly (to herself) she’s one of gaming’s largest evangelists. Genese is knowledgeable, charismatic and beautiful. She’s oceans apart from the negative stereotypes that foster within folks that aren’t well-versed in our industry. In fact, one of her many goals is to dispel the negativity surrounding gaming, and redefine the word “gamer” in the process. Throughout our lengthy chat I solicited a variety of answers from MMORPG‘s first lady (my evaluation). Everything from her late budding love of gamings social aspects, her writing career, and even what she thinks is next for the industry. Our conversation was much more in-depth than we’d anticipated, so I’ll be breaking our chat into multiple pieces that we’ll be releasing over the next few days. We didn’t want any tl:dr posts coming in.

After reading a bit of your bio, I understand that being an avid gamer didn’t come about until you’d had a myriad of experiences both personally and professionally. Did you find yourself becoming enamored with the RPG in a more solitary sense before moving onto MMORPG’s?

As a young girl, I was enamored with aviation, equestrianism, fashion, math, and writing. Other than playing an occasional Nintendo title, I didn’t have much exposure to video games while growing up. However, that changed in 2002 when I discovered more serious gaming. It was then that I started playing with competitive guilds in Final Fantasy XI.

 

FFXI showed me how interactive and social gaming can be. For example, in this MMO, there is a translator function where players can tab through phrases in different languages and select the appropriate questions and responses to communicate with those who don’t speak the same language. So, even if you’re playing from one country, you can still meet and forge friendships with players from all over the world. Video games are one of the most interactive and social forms of entertainment we have available.

When did you first realize that gamers had a deep sub-culture all their own?

Immediately. And I love it. For example, I admire the level of dedication and effort pro gamers devote to mastering each video game. There are a lot of details that go into video game strategies that often get overlooked. It is not simply a set of pixels gamers are staring at when they play games. It’s actually a whole spectrum of invention and discovery. Players are discovering artwork and storylines, while also developing skill sets and tackling challenges.

 

Almost instantly I knew that the challenges in hardcore gaming were improving my life on a macro level. Even though I was being introduced to something new, I didn’t let myself get intimidated. I listened well to veteran players and worked hard to perfect my skills. While playing with competitive guilds in Final Fantasy XI and World of Warcraft, I went on to rank consistently in the top 100 of my class in the latter and won the server first legendary achievement. I experienced co-founding new raids, leading raids as an officer, and worked as a liaison between new players and raid leaders. This experience naturally laid the foundation for The Holder’s Dominion, and gave me the tools to accurately portray the dynamics between PvP and PvE gameplay. The benefits to collaborative gaming are abundant, and I’ve been on a mission to share these positive experiences and debunk negative gaming stereotypes.

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As a woman, did you find it more or less difficult to break into gamer social groups?

I never felt any exclusivity or difficulty getting accepted into gaming social groups. That’s one of the coolest aspects about gaming. You can meet incredible people from all over the world who are living proof that gaming is not just children’s entertainment or a consoling escape for social outcasts: Lawyers, doctors, athletes, office workers, nerds, jocks, children and adults, even politicians, men and women alike, are known to play games. Just as it is in film, gaming has something to offer everyone, and everyone is a potential player.

 

While more people today play video games than ever before, there are still significant misconceptions about gaming. Much of the media fail to report that the average gamer is in their 30s, and up to 70 percent of all Americans play video games in one form or another. Though many see gaming as an “alien concept”, games literally have something to offer everyone. The key is how we define games and the word “gamer.” This is one of the main reasons I created The Gamer In You initiative.

Tell our readers a bit more about The Gamer in You

The Gamer In You is an online movement I founded with one goal: to offer new meaning to the word gamer. No matter our passions: family, career, sports, meeting new people, traveling, puzzles, artistry… We all like to relax and play a game once in a while. Between card games, video games, board games, mobile games, and edutainment games, all of us can call ourselves gamers.

 

There is a video game out there for everyone whether that game incorporates social interaction, sports, or is an RTS, or FPS. The Gamer In You advocates for changing the term gamer to represent all people who like any kind of game, and for the word to be a universally positive term for everyone. No one should ever be ribbed for playing video games, as gaming encourages ingenuity, fun, togetherness, personal growth, and healthy social connections. Pixel Vision asked me to host a webisode that extrapolates on my Gamer In You initiative and it’s available on Youtube! Check it out below:

 

Being involved in the gaming industry is something to be thankful for, I know I am. What about your time in the industry do you hold dearest?

It’s an exciting time to be a part of the video game industry. There is so much creativity blossoming everywhere. Being able to collaborate with positive, like-minded individuals who want to contribute to this industry is inspiring and certainly something I hold very dear.

That’ll do it for the first part of our chat! Stay tuned over the next few days for more content from my extensive conversation with one of the industry’s best and brightest. On the docket for part two is an examination of cosplay as well as some insight into Genese’s creative process when writing her gamer lit novel – The Holder’s Dominion.

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Dylan Zellmer

Dylan splits time between games journalism, designing video games, and playing them. Outside of his deep involvement in the games industry, he enjoys It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Shameless, A Song of Ice and Fire, fitness, and family.
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