To get to know the girls a little better, we gathered in a downstairs room for a chat to see what's going on. All four permanent housemates - Missy, Ms.X, trito and Liefe - were present, as was Tim Brown, Marketing Manager from VIA's Corporate Marketing Division. It was about as informal as interviews go: Ms.X and Liefe sat opposite me on the other sofa while Missy bounced on an inflatable exercise ball and trito sat cross legged on a mini trampoline.
As if there wasn't enough oestrogen in the room by being outnumbered by four to two, one of the girls lights a trio of tealight candles in the middle of the coffee table. The gesture sums up the vibe of the house in general: hardcore gaming surrounded by a soft femine touch.
Just as we begin, Tim Brown interjects with a great suggestion. "I've heard all the interviews, right; I usually sit on these," he said. "I've heard some of the weird stuff come out in these but some of it doesn't - you get the generic stuff and get the weird stuff. But I catalogue all the weird stuff - you want to get the full deal of all the weird stuff?"
The girls all laugh at this suggestion but they're a good natured bunch and don't hesitate to answer some rather off-the-wall questions:
Name: Alana Reid Nickname: Ms.X Age: 25 Hometown: Vancouver, B.C.
What is it with tattoos and the girlz 0f destruction? Alana: Well, I don't know about the others, but out of my love for Quake, I got a Quake III symbol tattooed on my back. When I went there with the picture, he said he could do it but then he changed his mind after I waited 2 hours.
He said "I can't do this much detail" - either I need to enlarge it by 30% or you need to come back another day. I had been waiting for so long, and it was my first tattoo and I really just wanted to just do it so I said "enlarge it if you must" so it's a little big, but I like it; I'm happy with it. I have no regrets. I'm guessing you want to see it...
It's not actually the Quake 3 logo - it's modified a little bit - but when I saw the image a friend of mine sent it to me, I thought "yeah it looks really nice" so I went for it. It hurt a lot. I have no regrets - I'm happy. I had it done in Vancouver - it took 45 minutes and he was very good. It was torture but I survived.
Name: Jamie Pereyda Nickname: Missy Age: 19 Hometown: San Jose, California
Along with Alana, Jamie is one of the clan leaders, having co-founded the girlz 0f destruction clan in October 2001. She is currently ranked in the Top 100 on the GGL world ranking for Quake 4 and is, in fact, the only female to feature in the Top 200 in a sport dominated by guys. Not bad for someone who played Wolfenstein 3D, Doom and Quakes 1 & 2 with the keyboard, not graduating to a keyboard / mouse combination until Quake III.
At MsQuakecon 2005, Jamie placed first, winning US$15,000 in the process. Indeed, such is the skill of this particular all-girl clan, the girlz 0f destruction occupied all three slots on the podium, netting a total of US$30,000 in prize money. Chilly Stockholm is a long way from sunny San Jose, California however.
How do you convince the parents of a top honours student to leave Berkeley for a year and go play PC games? Jamie First, my Mom wanted to ban me from the family. I wouldn't get any help from them for doing this. I wasn't going to have any money. No contact. I couldn't come home. She wasn't going to talk to me at all and she was going to tell all our family members not to talk to me. For a couple of weeks, it was very, very intense.
I was going to class and I would see my cellphone ring and if it was my Mom I wouldn't pick it up. I was avoiding it because I knew that she would have a different opinion in a week. So I didn't talk to her as much for like a whole week and then my Dad talk to her. My Dad's more OK with it because he's more laid back. He has been travelling with business so he's got the chance to do it so he knows it's a good chance for me.
She finally agreed to it but I couldn't just say "I'm going to go off for two years and play games" so I said I'll take one semester off, but it has been longer than that already. She's slowly coming around to the idea. But all my friends think I'm crazy - none of my friends play games.
Alana: My Mom is the total opposite. I get in trouble if I'm not getting my daily games. She'll call me up "Have you been playing? Have you been practising?" It's quite funny that she's the total opposite.
In fact, she didn't even ask - she told me. It came down to either I go to an event or I get fired from my job and I had quite a good job at the time. My Mom said "Listen to me. You're gonna quit. You're gonna walk out of there. And that's it." So I did it and I'm really glad that I took her advice because that was the first event that I ever went to. And I'm really glad that it turned out that way.