At RTXAU 2016 Stephanie “Hex” Bendixsen – host of the ABC network’s popular gaming show Good Game – gave an impressive keynote speech and touched on a few important areas in the gaming community such as women in gaming and the gaming community as a whole.
“Good Game is a program dedicated to video gaming. Each week it will be jam-packed with the latest gaming news and events, top gaming tips, reviews and interviews with game developers and the people behind the scenes.”
The Loaded Gamer asked her some questions and were lucky enough to receive some insightful responses – check out the full interview below.
Q. How has becoming a host of Good Game changed your life?
A. In the most wonderful way – by providing me with a way to pursue and share my passion through my work. I think one of the greatest things you can hope for in life is to wake up each morning and feel excited, challenged and passionate about what you do – so I’m incredibly grateful that I get to do that. Good Game is a show I loved before I landed the job presenting on it, so it really was a dream come true. But I never could have anticipated how much it would enrich my life. Working with a team of passionate people (who are as much family now as they are my colleagues), writing my own content for television, being a part of an organisation like the ABC which I have tremendous respect for – these are all things that truly define my professional career.
Q. What is one of your favourite memories from Good Game?
A. We shot an episode in Japan which was such an incredible experience. Japan is the birthplace of video games in many ways – and it was exciting to experience a very different aspect of gaming culture. We’ve also worked on some really unique episodes that we’re quite proud of – such as one that explored Mental Health in the gaming community. The feedback we got after that episode aired was really moving, and it helped us as a production team see what we could do if we explored themes that were a little more focused and meaningful. Truly though, I have such a close friendship with Bajo (Good Game co-host Steven O’Donnell) so I have too many wonderful memories to mention from late nights on Teamspeak just laughing and messing around in-game. He is ridiculous and wonderful.
Q. How has the idea of being a female gamer changed over the past decade in your experience as a gaming presenter and a gamer in general?
A. You know, it was rough when I started. I didn’t fit people’s perception of what a ‘real gamer’ was so there was a lot of resistance. I felt a lot of pressure to ‘prove myself’ in the beginning, while at the same time resenting the fact that I should have to – when my male colleagues didn’t. But in the end, I believe my work spoke for itself and you can’t fake authenticity for very long. People saw that I was the real deal and stopped giving me grief – and instead I started to get these incredible letters from young girls about how inspiring it was to see a woman on television talking about games with passion and authority.
Q. How did you get into gaming with such strict rules against gaming within your household?
A. Well, I was a teenager – so I was naturally very sneaky. I mean, when I was a kid I would play a lot of Goldeneye 64 at friends houses etc – but around the age of 15-16 I discovered a MUD – which is an online text-based role playing game. It was called Lensmoor, and I became insanely addicted to it. I even got several girls at my school hooked on it. But the best part was, given that it was all text-based, parents and teachers didn’t realise it was a game. Well, at first. The jig was up eventually and then I had to start getting up late at night and playing through ’til morning which was a disaster. I’d pass out at school. It was an interesting time in my life and the one time I can actually say I experienced true gaming addiction. My parents sent me to therapy after that. Ah, misspent youth!
Q. Do you believe that the gaming community has become more open towards gender equality?
A. In some ways yes, and some ways no. I think female gamers are still perceived as ‘casual’ gamers, because they are less commonly involved in online multiplayer sessions of military shooters and competitive gaming environments. This may be due to preference in some cases, but the fact that those communities can be a little harsh and unwelcoming to women also plays into it. I know plenty of women who really enjoy shooters – I’m one of them. But I’d really like it if women could still be considered ‘hardcore’ gamers even if they favour other genres of games – like Role Playing Games for example – which are hugely popular with women.
Q. What do you see or hope for the future of gaming community?
A. I’d like to see better female representation in games. We’ve made some progress in that department with things like Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate and the Tomb Raider reboot – but we can still do better, I think. now that more women are getting involved in game development, I think we’ll see more of a shift in content as well, particularly with the way female characters look, and the roles they play.
Q. What is your favourite video game?
A. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. I’m a huge fan of fantasy fiction, and truly this game is just a dream come true for me in every respect. Apart from the fact that it’s visually breathtaking, it’s this huge open world of endless adventure, challenge and compelling narrative that I wish I could just step into and live in forever. I get misty eyed every time someone asks me about it!
From all of us at The Loaded Gamer, a huge thank you to Stephanie for this interview. Be sure to check out Good Game on Tuesdays, 8:30PM on ABC2.