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Becky “Aktrez” Young: YBMW’s Girl Of The Month

Posted by MM on March 12th, 2009
(+5 rating, 5 votes)
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Becky YoungBecky “Aktrez” Young may be known to many as the creator of the Girls Entertainment Network (GEN) or just simply the coolest girl gamer around. But here at YouBentMyWookie, she’s all that and a complete Triforce, in addition, to being our newest Girl of the Month! Perhaps one of the most prolific girl gamers who’ve turned a hobby into a full-time job, Becky took some time off her busy schedule to chat with us about video gaming, what she’s currently up to, and to rock her geek creds. If you don’t know who Ms. Young is or just want to get to know her better (in a non-stalker way), keep reading, you’re in for a treat.

Full name/Alias:
Becky “Aktrez” Young

Profession:
Creator of the Girls Entertainment Network, Executive Producer/Host LAGtv Networks, Event Director of Video Games Live, Consultant in the gaming industry.

Favorite Movie:
I am going to be SOOO obvious on this one. My favorite movie is Princess Bride. I know, typical geek girl answer.

Favorite TV Show:
I don’t watch that much television. That said, I love reruns of Ugly Betty and Behind the Actors Studio with a little Family Guy thrown in for added flavor. Hulu FTW!!

Favorite Book:
Twilight series. Not the movie. Now I feel like Baby Sinclair from Dinosaur. NOT THE MAMA!

Do you read comic books or manga, what are you currently reading?
I just finished going through Astonishing X-men. I’m a huge fan of Emma Frost, who is the reason that I am into comics to begin with. I also have the first book in the Fables series that is just itching for me to go through. I really enjoy the campy mangas. For example, Divalicious and Dramacon are two of my favorites. They are cheesy and over the top. Fun to read when you just want a laugh!

What’s your favorite comic or manga?
The Emma Frost series where they go back and explain why she is who she is. Greg Horn’s artwork is what drew me to comics to begin with so, having the entire series covers done by Greg added to my obsession with them. I also am always interested in finding out why comic heroes/villians are who they are. Emma had a hard life ladies and gents… She’s not just a bitch for sake of being a bitch!

becky young white queen cosplayYou play video games, founded an awesome online community and cosplay as comic book characters. You’re an Internet sensation and an ambassador to female gaming. When you were a kid, was this what you wanted to be when you grew up?
When I was 4 years old I won my first pageant. It was Maine National Little Miss and was the first taste of being on stage for me. From that moment on, I dragged my mother to dance lessons, singing lessons, auditions, acting classes - anything I could find to get me in front of people and entertaining. That same year, my brother got an Atari 2600 and my mom got me my first video game. I sort of feel like the two have always gone hand in hand for me from that day. It wasn’t until 2002 when I finally thought about paring the two together - professionally - and doing something in the public to entertain as well as talk about my passion.

Do you collect anything?
I collect Disney pins. I’m kind of a nut about it actually. I go to the park every Sunday to pin trade. I travel to pin trading events. Most recently I travelled to Orlando for the big pin event there as well as to Paris for the Peace Love and Pins event at Euro Disney. My biggest collections are my Jessica Rabbit (blalalala), Belle and Tinkerbelles. I have them all on one big corkboard by my bed. It really is a lot of fun and you meet some amazing people!

What games are you currently playing and for which systems?
As I speak/type I have Little Big Planet in my PS3 and am in the process of downloading
Flower. In my 360, I JUST took out Fable 2 (after getting all 53 achievements) and replaced it with Mirrors Edge which I am just now getting an opportunity to play.

In a fight to the death, who would win, a polar bear or a Great White Shark?
Oh, not even a question. The Shark is much more agile in the water than the bear. The bear has all the weight of the bones and fur to worry about. Not to mention those teeth are like knives. Sorry teddy bear, you have NO chance on this one.

How long have you been gaming and what were your early gaming experiences like?
Well, like I said before, I got my first game (that was actually mine) when I was 4 years old. I would constantly try to steal my brother’s games and gaming time and after getting numerous bruises from him pushing me out of the way, my mom decided to buy me Strawberry Shortcake musical Mix-em-up. This was a game she KNEW my brother wouldn’t steal from me.

Becky Young How do those early experiences compare with your experiences playing video games now? Do you think it is possible to mature as a gamer?
I believe 100% that we all mature as gamers. As we live our lives, we tend to be drawn to games that reflect our own desires. For example, my love of entertaining makes me more interested in games where I can create who I am. I love RPG’s and MMO’s. I can socialize with people, become anyone I want to become and live in a world that is whatever I want it to be. Some people are more drawn to competition and will gravitate towards the shooters racing or fighting games. I believe that as we grow, we emulate - in our gaming - the type of person we are deep down.

If you had to pick a game world to live in, which one would it be and why?
Wow. That’s a tough one. I honestly don’t think there is a current gaming world I would want to live in. If you think about it, there is always so much drama in video games! I mean, I could live in Hyrule but then I’d have to worry about all the monsters and ghosts and little elf boys always having to save me. Same goes for the Mushroom Kingdom. Plumbers and big turtle dudes always fighting for a little princess booty? Not really my thing. Then you look at games today and you think, why would ANYONE want to live in a post-apocolytpic world where big creepy alien things come out of the ground and destroy you or you can’t live on earth anymore because it’s been destroyed by man. I don’t know if there has been a world created for me yet. I am curious as to what kind of world your readers are interested in living in? What game do you all see yourselves in?

What’s better, the more simple, old school games or the high budget, 3D cinematic games of today? Do you think it’s even fair to compare to two?
High budget 3D cinematic games! I’m sorry but I like to really feel like I am IN the game. Gaming back in the day was always fun and entertaining but we really couldn’t feel like we were part of pixels and bleep/bloops. Today, we can feel connected to our gaming characters in a way that we could never have 10 or 20 years ago.

As a woman who plays video games, do you like being referred to as a “Girl Gamer?” Does the label mean anything to you? Or do you see it as nothing more than a phrase, something that can be empowering or a niche novelty? Because let’s face it, there are some stereotypes attributed to “Girl Gamers” and they are not always positive.
This is a bit of a soapbox topic for me. Here is how I see it: I am a girl (can’t really help that without a LOT of surgery involved) and I play games (sort of something I enjoy doing). Therefore, I am a girl gamer. It isn’t until girls starting getting a lot of attention for being gamers that the negative “girl gamer” stereotype came about. Once you throw in male attention to a competitive female world all hell breaks loose.

Think about how girls will fight over the bouquet at a wedding. It’s downright BRUTAL! Now throw that bouquet at a bunch of girls who sit around and blast people’s heads off for fun? I think you get my point.

It doesn’t have to be negative. If more girls would get over the whole jealousy/competitive nature of things or at LEAST make the competition fun then most of this negative stereotyping would go away and we can all go back to just playing games with our girlfriends.

What is the weirdest reaction you’ve ever gotten in game from someone when they realize they are playing with a woman?
I normally try to play online games with friends (when on Xbox where they can hear my voice) This is simply because it seems that EVERY game I am in I get some kind of comment like “are you a girl or a 10 year old boy?” or “Need help?” So, I take myself out of situations where my gender really has anything to do with me having fun. I can’t say that I’ve had a weird reaction … More rude in the past than weird.

Becky YoungAs video games become more mainstream and narrow the gap between the gender divide, do you think the industry has done enough to acknowledge, encourage and draw in female gamers? Are you satisfied with the current progression or do you still think the industry is still too male dominated?
I have always been an advocate of marketing INCLUDING women and not marketing TO or FOR women. I still feel that the industry sees the female demographic as this newfound species that they are still trying to unlock the mysteries of. Honestly, this is one of the reasons Nintendo is having the successes it is. It shows women playing its games in their advertising. That’s it. It automatically is inviting women to check out what it’s about because it includes them. I really think that is what the industry needs to focus on. Women can LOVE Grand Theft Auto but if all you are doing is showcasing the porn and violence aspect of a game, women won’t necessarily feel like it’s for them. Show some more of the story… Show some girls playing the game. I think the industry should take some lessons (some … Not ALL) from how Nintendo is doing things.

With the onset of the Internet and the digital revolution, we’ve seen everything from the fall of arcades, the social acceptance of gaming, to the multifaceted ways in how we interact and play with other gamers. As a hobbyist and someone involved in the industry which change do you think made the most significant impact?
Having gaming seen in the mainstream media and mainstream people involved in gaming has impacted us the most. Once games were put into a light where it was OBVIOUS that not all the participants were nerds living in mom’s basement, it allowed other people to see what it was all about and become interested in what’s going on. When bands get their albums launched in games, when game composers are nominated for Grammy’s when major budget movies are based on or made into games, when games are talked about on CNN and talk shows - this is when gaming becomes REAL and not just underground. This is what has been happening in the past 5 years and what I feel is the most significant impact.

becky_young_halo_girl.jpgDo you think video gaming has reached its absolute pinnacle or do you think, aside from full 3D immersion, that there are still newer ways to “game” in the distant horizon?
Oh goodness no! As long as we can learn and grow as people we can grow as gamers. There will always be some new technology or new idea that pushes gaming to that next level. We will always have a next Gen something or other. Come on now! I still don’t have my virtual reality, jetpack, hoverboard game yet. I’m not throwing in the towel until I do!

Where do you see yourself 20 years from now? Will video games continue to always be a part of your life, or do you think that you may one day hang up your controllers and retired from gaming?
I don’t think I will ever retire from loving games. Gaming does have a tendency to burn you out from time to time. A lot of gamers don’t understand that about those who are in the gaming journalist careers. It’s hard to find the time to enjoy gaming as much when it becomes your job. You have to learn to really separate the two and make the time to sit down with games that you love to remind yourself why you got into this in the first place. While I may feel burnt out and need breaks from gaming now and again, I always come back to the controller at the end of the day. It’s my favorite drug.

What projects do you have coming up and where can people go to see you online or at live events?
As always, you can find me on www.girlsentertainmentnetwork.com along with a whole crew of really amazing gaming, anime, cosplay, gadget and culture loving girls. You should also check out my new gaming network at www.lagtv.com which will be launching this month. Don’t forget to find out when www.videogameslive is coming to your town and go check out video game music like you have NEVER seen it before (unless you’ve been to VGL before and then I would say “Right!?”) I’m always up for meeting cool gamers so hit me up on my Facebook (Becky aktrez” Young) or Mysapace (Aktrez) and let’s be friends!

A special thanks to Becky “Aktrez” Young for taking time to chat with us. We wish you all the best with your launch of LagTV. Now, scroll down and check out the amazing gallery of YBMW’s Girl Of The Month!


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3 Comments »

xnoybis said on
March 24th, 2009 at 7:24 pm...

Thanks a lot, Wookie. I have drool all over my keyboard now. Fun interview, too!

 
Stevie said on
December 5th, 2009 at 11:56 am...

You look good as Emma Frost….But doesn’t she dress a little bit skimpier??
lol……nuthin better than a little toungue in cheek humor…. ~ Stevie ~

 
Mooseknuckle said on
January 12th, 2010 at 8:44 am...

Wow Becky is something else…. I saw her featured on a different website a couple months ago…
here is a link
http://www.myspace.com/hottestblondes

 

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