Almost one year ago, we spoke to the Gamer Next Door, Playboy's Jo Garcia , about our favorite subject: Video games.
As it turns out, there's more than one Playboy bunny who enjoys the interactive entertainment medium. There's also Pamela Horton , who looks great, has an artistic streak, and loves MMOs like League of Legends and World of Warcraft . We talked to her about a variety of topics, including a few you guys suggested . So without further ado:
PSXE: How and when did you first get started with video games?
Pamela: "I’ve been a gamer since I was 5 years old. Gaming has always been a large aspect of my life. I didn’t start modeling until 18, so I was a gamer long before I was a model. 'laughs'
PSXE:Do you have a favorite genre and favorite game of all time?
Pamela: "My favorite genre is role-playing, basically any sort of RPG. I enjoy most all of them, and I get the most amount of time out of MMOs like League of Legends and World of Warcraft. If I had to pick a favorite game of all time, I'd say it's a toss-up between Chrono Trigger and Earthbound for the SNES.
My dad actually got Chrono Trigger before I even know anything about games and their titles, so I was basically playing it before I even knew what it was. Then I got Earthbound for my 9th birthday; it was right when it came out. It only became a big cult classic later, but I remember it releasing right around my birthday."
Quick side note- This got us talking about Chrono Cross , and Pamela reminded us that not everyone was all that happy with the game, as it wasn't exactly a direct tie-in to CT. There was also the mention of Legend of Mana , which wasn't anything like Secret of Mana . Yeah, it was my fault; I got her talking about it. But when it's JRPGs…we're gonna talk more. Anywho…
PSXE: What's your take on the ongoing West vs. East debate in gaming? Do you see any lagging in Japanese games versus their Western counterparts?
Pamela: "Personally, I enjoy games for what they're worth. The Japanese culture obviously has certain standards, and they put out the sort of games they would enjoy. Americans are stereotyped for only playing games with guns, so FPSs like Call of Duty and Battlefield are excelling in our current culture. So games that are super popular in Japan don't do that well here.
Obviously, Japan wants to drive towards the world market, but they're still going to appeal to the audiences they believe will like they're type of game. Games they like to play, you know? It's just two different cultures trying to appeal to different audiences, so it's hard to speculate on this. There can be no cease-fire here."
PSXE: What do you think of mobile gaming (cell phones, tablets, etc.)? Do you play those games often?
Pamela: "I do play mobile games. I've got all the Zenonias and I really like to play Plants vs. Zombies. That game became popular on the mobile market, and I thought it was weird that it came out for the 360. I've always been a big fan of the cash-op games, anyway. As for the mobile market, I don't think it will get worse or anything but I do think it has peaked for now. Everyone has their smartphones and and there's always something to play on them, but now it feels like it has plateaued."
PSXE: What do you think about handheld gaming in general? Like the PlayStation Vita?
Pamela: "Just to give you some perspective, I have a 3DS and a DS but I don't own a PSP or a Vita. They just didn't put out that many games I enjoyed, so I don't have my original PSP anymore. And right now, there aren't enough Vita games to warrant a purchase for me.
Obviously, there were plenty of games for the PS3 (I got it for God of War III). I'm not the type of person who says, 'oh the new system is coming out so I'm going to buy it.' I wait to see what games are coming out for it and if I like them, then I buy it. The PSP just never had anything I was particularly excited about. And a lot of my favorite titles came out for the PS3."
PSXE: What do you expect from the next generation of hardware?
Pamela: "As much as I love a lot of the shooters and Assassin's Creed and all those games, I'm really looking for something new. It seems like no one is really trying new titles these days, so I'm hoping the new systems give way to some new games that can become the next big thing.
People are all looking at the Wii U and going, 'oh, I want a new Mario,' and they're looking at the PS4 and going, 'oh, I want a new God of War,' or 'what's the next shooter going to be?' I just want games nobody has ever seen before. It's almost like they've run out of ideas, but I have a feeling there will be new games [on the new consoles] that I'll really want to try. I have high hopes."
PSXE: How do you define a hardcore gamer vs. a casual gamer?
Pamela: "I say if you can go a week or a month without gaming, you're a casual gamer. If you can't go a day without playing a game, you're hardcore. When you get home from work, pop open a beer and instead of going, 'I wonder who's playing [sports] tonight?,' you decide to play a game. And gamers will always be gamers, regardless of how little time they have."
PSXE: Besides MMOs, do you like to play online multiplayer in other games?
Pamela: "There are of course a lot of stigmas in the gaming community against women who play shooters online. I really lost interest and appreciation [for the genre] because I was treated like crap. I don't play FPSs online now because of that.
There's anonymity behind a gamertag; nobody knows who you are or what your situation is, so you can just say what you want and there are no repercussions. There really aren't any police officers online so you can get away with anything; you can hide behind that anonymity. People are going to use that to just troll or get a rise out of someone. There's a certain arrogance with people playing online FPSs and I want to avoid the whole thing. It can be very stressful.
It reminds me of when I’d get bullied in middle school and if someone tried to protect me, it’d get worse. You just have to shut them out but it's hard to do."
We'd like to thank Ms. Horton for taking the time to speak with us, and we're one again marveling at just how popular video games have become. It seems like just about everyone of a certain age is involved somehow and a few, like Pamela, are just big fans of the medium. Yeah, it's kind of annoying that girls like this just didn't seem to exist when I was growing up (you hear me out there, 30-somethings, I know) but hey, it's nice for the young'uns. And they better freakin' take advantage, too.
Feel free to check out Pamela on Twitter , and maybe we'll talk to her again someday. Guest review…?