In the world of competitive gaming, reputation is king. All year, young players train for recognition to join prestigious teams to compete in tournaments and win top dollar. Electronic sports has gained so much popularity that teens and young 20-somethings are making millions for playing video games. Now this sounds easier than it looks, games in which players compete require a lot of skill, quick judgement and intimate knowledge of the games they play. The game no longer becomes an artful masterpiece, but a precise equation to break down in order to be the best. It can take only a second to make or break a fast paced game that could have millions on the line.
Over the years, video games themselves have been dominated by men, we have yet to see many girls or an all-girls team enter the arena. As it stands on this level of gaming women are rare and few in between. Meet SeYeon Kim, or better known as Geguri, a 17 year old girl from Korea who is kicking ass and chewing bubblegum behind her gravitational heavy gun slinging hero Zarya in Overwatch.
Blizzards new team based first person shooter, Overwatch has been hitting it hard in popularity and hard to miss on live streams. Geguri has caught the eye of many with her 6:1 KDR (Kills to Death Ratio)and 80% win rate (for those who don’t speak gamer stats, she is good, really damn good). This includes the envious eyes of other professional gamers ETLA and Strobe from the team Dizziness. Geguri’s accuracy with Zarya is impressively precise; causing other players to accuse her of using cheats to increase her accuracy. Other players, including ETLA and Strobe, insisted that she couldn’t be playing this well. Strobe even threatened to come to her house with a knife if she was found to be cheating. Seriously?
Geguri stuck to her gravity guns and pushed on playing and through quick play matches stumbled upon pro-gaming team UW Artisan (recently taken ownership by EHOME). Geguri continued to play with UW Artisan and was eventually offered a position on their team. Geguri accepted knowing that other pro-gamer girl, Jisu Jang, was part of UW Artisan. For Geguri, Jisu Jang and her team mates have helped enormously with the negative comments and pressures brought by other gamers and media. Heat for Geguri’s extraordinary skills continued to rise after winning the qualifiers for the Nexus Cup, the most recent foreign tournament.
ETLA and Strobe pressed their accusations of cheating forcing Overwatch creator’s hand, Blizzard, in to the ring to ensure fair gameplay. The gamers from Dizziness even wagered that would quit playing Overwatch entirely if Geguri was found not to be cheating. UW Artisan’s manager confirmed on several occasions with Blizzard that Geguri was not cheating at all, but ultimately it was Geguri who stood up and put all claims to rest. Geguri took the fight back to the internet and preformed a live stream with Inven proving that not only did she not use hacks or cheats, but she was also capable of mistakes.
True to their word, ETLA and Strobe wrote public apologies and withdrew from the Overwatch gaming scene and reportedly quit the sport entirely. No charges were pressed towards these players, as sending them packing with their tails between their legs seemed the best justice of all.
Geguri’s story of perseverance has taken storm on the internet. Had Geguri been a male gamer the accusations would have most likely fizzeled in to dust and not forced her to prove her reputation. It is frustrating to be a girl gamer and have your skills questioned simply because you’re partaking in a predominately male community. With gaming, e-sports and streaming growing each day we will hopefully see more pro-gamer girls enter the field.