Fabulously fierce. This sounds fitting for a woman who writes for more crazy popular venues than there are days in a work week. Ladies, gentlemen, and fabulous swirls in between, meet Leigh Alexander: video game journalist extraordinaire.
I'm gushing because she writes about so many facets of the gaming industry. To name a few: she's editor at large at the art and business of video games epicenter Gamasutra, she talks about socio-cutural gaming issues in a monthly Kotaku column, she exercises her imagination in gaming and beyond at Thought Catalog, she's recently taken on the games section of NYLON Guys, and she rampantly refines her repertoire on her own blog Sexy Videogameland.
For those feats alone we should applaud her. But like her journalistic career, she is relentlessly daring and bold in being our first female PlayNerd spread. She understands our comedic, yet insightful intent and is willing to come to bat just like the rest of the PlayNerds. Her photos may have even one-up'ed our previous half-naked hero, Rob.
Whether or not gamers agree with Leigh, her meticulously crafted, thoughtful pieces never fail to elicit hundreds of responses. Something readers can't debate are the testaments to her love for gaming, woven throughout her writing. And of course, no package is complete without the look to go with the talent. Leigh's definitely got the look. She has a knack for making the joystick-wielding gamers and journalists swoon.
GayGamer's Drand had such a fantastic shoot with Leigh that by the end, I think you'll be wanting to lay on the rooftops and hang out gaming with this fabulously fierce femme fatale, as well.
What about your job excites you?
Lots of things, but what I love most is the opportunity to speak directly to the people who create in the medium of games. It's so exciting and it feels like such a privilege to get to pick their brains and then translate that to others -- my work is to talk to some of my heroes!
What game(s) have gotten you the most worked up?
The Metal Gear Solid series just makes me swoon. That's probably at the top of my list. Especially the third one -- Snake takes so much pain, and you have to be the one to like, splint his bones and stuff. SIGH!
What gaming characters do you think are hot?
Big Boss, Albert Wesker, Vincent Valentine, Tseng, Vergil, Billy Coen, Shinjiro Aragaki, Alucard, Tifa, Edea, Sylvia Christel, Naomi Hunter, Bayonetta.
What are some of the wildest PR/press events you've attended?
Ooh. No comment ;)
Facial hair has become more mainstream and sexy these days. What other attributes would you like to see get attention in games? How else can we objectify men in games?
Wife beaters. More wife beaters. Long, lean torsos. Tattoos. Also, they need to be less superhero and more tortured. They should brood delicately. And they should probably break laws and crack heads regularly but for their own PRIVATE, MORAL REASONS. And throaty, quiet voice acting. Eee!
What dirty secrets have you been told by people in the gaming industry?
Oh lord! No one would trust me if I weren't a vault, and then I couldn't get any work done. Knowing everyone's dirty secrets is part of what makes it fun, even if I can't tell anyone.
How would your personal ad read for who you are and what you are/were looking for?
Oh, geez. Umm... sassy, opinionated nerd seeks well-animated, sulky antihero? Must be able to return from own death for multiple sequels?
What do you think the relation is between Kama Sutra and Gamasutra?
Well, my boss named the site specifically so that people will give me weird looks and ask me to repeat myself every time I say for whom I work. But I'll tell ya -- me and my crew can write news for hours.
How sexy is "videogameland"?
Banned in Australia and Germany.
What games/hardware do you play in the bedroom?
Lately the 3DS comes to bed with me every night. I keep a PSP in my dresser drawer just in case I'm in the mood for some variety.
What are some advantageous situations that exist for woman in video games? Disadvantageous?
Well, lots of the most vocal and passionate game fans are boys who like girls. I'm not naive enough to think that my gender doesn't play a role in why people discover me or my work, although I think (I hope?) there are a lot of people who are simply curious about a female perspective and not following some biological urge! And, y'know, maybe a few people who don't care and just like what I write.
The disadvantage, of course, is that I wonder about that. And there's also a lot of sexism in the industry, even if it took me a long time to accept it -- I wanted to just keep my chin up and pretend it doesn't happen as if simply being myself were enough to make it go away. But when someone calls you a dumb slut because you speak your mind or when you get creepy sexual invitations in your mailbox on the regular -- or worse, when you're at a professional event and someone who is meant to be another professional makes some kind of sloppy overture at you because there are few other single women in the room -- it's hard to really disassociate that.
In order to be successful online, one really has to put oneself out there. Yet standing out in your field or drawing more attention for your gender is definitely a double-edged sword. For every person who takes the initiative to approach me, speak to me at an event or discover my work online because they're curious about me as a woman, there's three people going "she's only successful because she's a woman."
To them, I say, "if that's true, it should be easy for you to do better than I, right?"
Ultimately, what's the worst is that I don't like the idea of being a "woman in games." I'm a person in games, and while I can't have any other perspective than a woman's, I dislike getting pigeonholed as "the female perspective writer". I write about all kinds of things, y'know?
What's the one thing I should have asked that would have been fitting for this interview?
Whether I want a drink before you take these photos, and the answer would have been "absolutely."