Mumbai based 23-year-old, Monica Selvandurai is an artist who also enjoys gaming, especially the ones with elaborate stories and lots of lore! Introduced by a friend, she began her gaming journey with Portal 2 and Skyrim on a PC, which got her hooked onto PC gaming. A regular gamer since 2 and a half years Monica finds an emotional connect with the games she plays and feels the urge to go back for more! She also has been contributing to the fan community by cosplaying, posting art, fan fiction, speculations, headcanons, etc.
Mass Effect. (Dragon Age, Portal 2 and Skyrim close contenders)
Mass Effect is the only game that has made me cry real tears when some of my favourite characters died. It’s hands down one of the most beautiful games I know. Dragon Age is also close, with a story and characters who are close to my heart. Skyrim is the only game I’ve had dreams about. Solitude especially features a lot. Probably because it’s my favourite city. Portal 2 has the best GLaDOS lines. I love all the intricate details going on in the background of your game, stuff you uncover by digging into the game files, hidden rooms, etc. It’s creepy and awesome! And turret orchestra!
Favourite videogame character(s)
Commander Shepard (Mass Effect), GLaDOS (Portal 2) and Solas (Dragon Age)
Commander Shepard (Mass Effect) I’m sorry, I really love her. And Josephine Montilyet (Dragon Age)
Favourite esports player/team
Team Secret (though now they’re missing some players), a Dota 2 team. Favourite players are Puppey, iceiceice and UNiVeRsE.
How long have you been playing videogames and what’s your first gaming memory/system?
I’ve been playing regularly for 2 and a half years now. First gaming memory – playing Splinter Cell and loving it when I was 13.
Do you have any role model from the videogame industry?
Matt Rhodes and Jen Zee are my favourite concept artists. Matt Rhodes works for Bioware (Mass Effect, Dragon Age) and Jen Zee for Supergiant games (Transistor, Bastion). I adore their art styles and aspire to be like them some day. I would do anything to be able to meet them!!
Describe gamergate in one line
Both sides are stupid, screaming over each other to make themselves heard instead of discussing and trying to improve the community together.
Do you think gaming is friendly/inclusive to women?
While the gaming companies are certainly being more inclusive, the community is still a bit aloof in my opinion. But you cannot generalise based on a few bad apples.
Right now you have strong male AND female characters. The girls aren’t just eye candy. Even though they all are of similar stereotypical body type, they still manage to stand out and leave an impression.
Have you had any bad gaming experiences/harassment due to your gender?
A couple of times, my gender has made it incredulous for guys to believe I play games. Their reactions range from derision to over-the-top surprise.
If there’s one thing you could fix about videogames and/or the gaming culture what would it be?
I want more “good” dragons. I don’t wanna slay them, I want to keep them as pets/advisors/companions (like Paarthurnax in Skyrim).
With respect to gaming culture – I want the people to be more mindful of the variety of people who enjoy the game (beginners, experienced players, male, female, other genders/sexualities, etc) and respect their opinions.
Why do you think there aren’t as many videogames with female lead characters?
Most fantasy/war related games usually derive inspiration from history and real events. In my opinion, a lot of soldiers/warriors/fighters have been men. So it seems natural for the protagonists/lead characters to be male in such games (It does not mean I am fine with it). It’s only when you go into other genres that you see more female leads – like Life is Strange, Portal, Transistor, Mirror’s Edge, Bayonetta, etc. I think it’s very genre dependent. But from what I can see, a lot of studios are stepping up and moving away from a generic male protagonist to either giving you a choice like in Skyrim or Fallout or straight up having you play as a female character (eg. the upcoming game: Horizon Zero Dawn). Which is great! Special kudos to Bethesda (+Arkane Studios) for Dishonored 2. The trailer with Emily Kaldwin was amazing and no one cared it was a woman. And of course Bioware for being especially inclusive of women and the LGBT+ community.