Lady Gamer for the Month of August: Katrina “W4FFL35” Schnell

Katrina "W4FFL35" Schnell

Katrina Schnell is a twenty-one year old college senior looking to make it in the video game industry. Originally from Milwaukee, WI, Katrina currently resides in Los Angeles. Primarily a Xbox 360 player (or 3DS when travelling), she also plays on PS3, Wii, and Mac. She’s recently coming off an internship with Ubisoft, so I took some time to pummel her with questions.

1. What is your internship like? Do you have any advice for other young ladies trying to get a gaming internship?

My internships I’ve had opened my eyes to an entirely new industry I never thought I would make it into. Being a girl in the gaming industry is tough. Many girls feel pressured that they need to have supermodel looks in order to get a job, when in reality that is completely false. Whether you are interested in PR, marketing, development, or any other position in the gaming industry, the most important thing is the passion you have for that job. Networking is the most important thing you can do, and that is something I’ve learned from every internship I have had. Take opportunities when they present themselves to you, and try for things you don’t think you could normally do. You never know where you’ll end up.

2. What is your favorite game of all time? What is your favorite game right now?

It’s really hard to choose my favorite game of all time. I’m obsessed with horror games, and while Bioshock is a favorite of mine, I also love the Silent Hill and Fatal Frame series…but then there’s the original Pokemon Red and Blue, and Kingdom Hearts.

My favorite game at the moment is the complete opposite of my favorite genre. I am playing Ilomilo, and I love it. It’s probably the happiest game I’ve ever played, and I’m constantly singing the music.

I play every genre of game.  While horror is pretty awesome, I need to balance it out with RPG or Action once and awhile.

3. Do you have any interesting gaming achievements or stories?

I do not enjoy bragging about my gaming achievements and I am not a competitive gamer, but I will share an embarrassing story because those events make up 95% of my life. I was playing Rise of Nightmares on Kinect in my tiny bedroom and had to shift all of the furniture over to one side in order to have sufficient room to play. I had to go through the entirety of the game smushed up against the back wall in order for the Kinect to recognize me, and I swore I was going to accidentally injure myself before the end of the game. I made it through eight hours no problem and arrived at the boss battle. I was so proud of myself that I hadn’t gotten hurt yet…but then the fight started. I had to side step as quickly as possible, and as soon as I did I ended up smashing my face against the door of my bedroom. I didn’t know what hit me (pun intended) until I realized I had a really bad headache. But, alas, being the hardcore person that I am, I finished that boss battle and didn’t die once. It was totally worth the black eye.

6.) Who is your gaming heroine?

Why do I need to have a gaming heroine? Can it be a man? Can I want to be as manly as a man? Because I want to be evil like Sephiroth. [Editor’s note: No. No you may not! *smacks on nose with newspaper*]

…Okay, fine, heroine it is. Heather from Silent Hill 3 is pretty badass, simply because of all the messed-up stuff she had to go through.  I’ve played that game almost ten times, and I still wonder how she doesn’t have a mental breakdown and get eaten alive by a monster in the first five minutes…even though I get freaked out and have to press the pause button occasionally. The stereotypical favorites like Lara Croft or Samus Aran just don’t cut it for me.

7.) If you could change one thing about the way the gaming community views/treats women, what would it be?

If I could change one thing about the way the gaming community views women, I would remove the “girl” from “girl gamer.” We’re all exactly the same, we all game, and I think it is ridiculous to separate women from men in the gaming world. There is so much discrimination against women who play games, and we are often seen as being inferior to men. Women are also put into two main categories: either you’re a model who games and has a perfect body and intelligence, or you’re a massive Snorlax who has no social life. Some men don’t believe that there is an inbetween, even though the first one is nearly impossible to find.

But seriously, what’s so exciting about boobs? They don’t even matter when you’re blasting someone’s face off in multiplayer.

8.) What are your life goals/aspirations?

Once I graduate, I plan on moving from the midwest out to California. I’m trying to decide whether I would enjoy San Francisco or Los Angeles more, but I guess it depends on the job I get. Ideally, I would like to be a character or concept artist for a game developer and someday move up to a position as a creative director.

10.) Anything else interesting you would like to share?

I have a phobia of elevators. And I am more obsessed with bacon than anyone. Ever. [Editor’s note: She really, really is.]

So show Katrina’s portfolio site with artwork some love and be sure to say “hi” on Facebook and Twitter!

And take a lesson from her: be careful when you move it move it!

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