The search for the ultimate gaming girls in the country is over as GameX, the country’s leading online gaming portal developed by Smart, unveiled the four new faces that best represent female gamers in a male-dominated territory.
Proving they can stand their ground against the most hardcore of gamers in the country are Jillian Ongsip of Pasay City, Tza Gomez of Quezon City, Koleen Mercado of Pampanga, and Alexandra Keuls of Bacolod, who were awarded at the recently concluded Esports and Gaming Summit, the largest gathering of eSports players and game developers in the country, held at SMX Convention Center.
The four girls stood out from a pool of close to 200 aspirants and were handpicked based on their GameX fan votes, personality, gaming skills, and overall impression. Each of the GameX Girls won a gaming laptop and a chance to be join celebrity cosplayer Alodia Gosiengfiao as GameX social media ambassadors.
Through this group of female gamers, GameX hopes to encourage and empower more girls in experiencing a whole new level of fun through video games.
Breaking the stereotype
Nineteen-year-old Mercado said her reason for joining the competition is to break the misconception that females can’t keep up with their male counterparts when playing video games. “I believe that there shouldn't be discrimination because gaming is for everyone, not just for boys.”
Mercado said she has been playing video games since grade school, starting from when her father first bought her a Game Boy. She is currently in her third year in college, and while playing games like League of Legends and other MMO-RPGs is a very important part of her life, it had to take the back seat at the moment.
“Right now I’m trying to balance my time because I’m also studying. I’m actually in third year now so I'm spending more time with books and less time with gaming, but playing games is still part of my routine,” the Accountancy student said.
It's the same for Gomez, who said she joined because she wanted to prove to everyone that girls can be hardcore gamers too. "Especially right now, if you say ‘gamer girl in the Philippines’, there’s this usual stereotype that girls can’t stand their ground when playing against guys,” the 28-year-old said.
Gomez has been playing video games since high school, saying that she used to spend on average eight hours a day. "But it got beyond that from time to time, like that time when I spent one whole birthday playing Half Life with my friends in an Internet shop.” A web designer by day, Gomez spends her free time playing League of Legends and Steam games like Killing Floor, as well as Call of Duty and Diablo 3 on the PlayStation 4.
Outlet for passion
For Ongsip, the main reason for joining the contest is to express her passion for playing video games. "Everyone knows I’m a gamer and I really play every day. So it’s a really good opportunity for me to express my love for my hobby.”
Ongsip has been playing video games since her elementary days, getting into first-person shooters and role-playing games like Counter Strike and Ragnarok Online when they first launched. She is currently playing the support role for her team in League of Legends.
On the other hand, Keuls joined the contest to promote video games not just among girls, but to people of all ages. "I think no matter how old you are, so long as you play games moderately and know how to strike a balance between leisure and the more important things, it’s fine.”
Keuls’ first encounter with video games was at the age of six, when her mother bought a Nintendo64 for the whole family. She has been playing video games since then, and has learned to love games from a wide range of genres. She is currently playing Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, but she is also playing DayZ and Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare from time to time.
“Just because you’re a girl, don’t think that you’ll never be as good as the guys. It’s always about enjoying yourself, that’s what games are for,” said Keuls.