Women in Gaming: Felicia Day
One of the interesting things about the growing popularity of video games is that they have inspired projects on separate media platforms. And we’re not just talking about rare Mario collectibles – video games have also been making their way into television and popular web videos. Actress Felicia Day, has achieved quite a bit of success through writing and performing in a video web series called “The Guild.”
What is The Guild?
Simply put, it’s a video game-inspired web series that follows the life of several fictional players and makes fun of some of the issues that can crop up in the gaming world. For example, the show’s hit music video, Do You Wanna Date My Avatar, pokes fun at the idea of attraction and dating in an online game. While light-hearted in nature, the video does deal with some complex issues like the nature of identity – after all, you never know what type of person is behind a character.
The show also proved that laughter can be the best medicine for dealing with complex problems. The rest of the series is well-known for addressing some widespread gaming stereotypes through the art of satire. Despite the self-deprecating humor, the video game community has expressed a wealth of support for the show, literally. The entire first season of The Guild was funded through fan donations, according to its official website.
Felicia Day and Codex
Another hot-button issue that has cropped up in recent years is video game addiction, which will soon be recognized as a mental disorder. Time recognized Felicia Day as a web pioneer in a 2009 interview for her work writing and acting in The Guild.
However, the discussion also touched on a more serious issue. Codex, Felicia Day’s character in the show, was inspired by her own struggle with video game addiction. She told Time that she would skip auditions and drop out of acting classes in order to play online games.
According to Day, she recognized that her addiction was partially caused by the unfulfilling acting roles she had to take in order to make a living. She started working with web video, which enabled her to do work that she enjoyed. Writing and acting in the internet series also enabled her to better balance her gaming life with her personal life. And Codex may come partially from some dark places in Felicia’s life, but even the character’s story is not a tragedy.
“Basically, her arc – it is a comedy, so we’re not making grand statements about personalities and stuff, but I do think all comedy is based with drama underneath, and the journey that she goes through is one of being self-empowered and being able to stand up for yourself,” Day told Time. “And I know that’s not a huge character arc, but for some people that is a huge thing: just to say no to someone is something that you have to learn, if you’re raised in certain circumstances.”
Although Day said that The Guild hadn’t led her to any mainstream acting roles in 2009, it has gained a significant amount of recognition from the internet community. For example, it won the YouTube and Yahoo Web Series Awards in 2008, and 3 Streamy Awards in 2009: Best Comedy Web Series, Best Ensemble and Best Actress for Felicia Day.
Day has also expanded her career in both video games and television. She played Holly Marten in the TV show “Eureka” and provided the voice for a character in the recent online game Guild Wars 2. In addition, she made an appearance alongside Nathan Fillion (Firefly) and Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother) in the award-winning web series “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog,” which Time recognized as the fourth best television series of 2008.
The impact of video games
Felicia Day’s career is a good example of how video games can have a significant impact on our lives. More importantly, that effect isn’t as negative as many people think it is. Far from being a waste of time, gaming has helped inspire at least one successful career as well as an award-winning web series. Yes, there are legitimate issues that should be dealt with, but, as Day has showcased, some of those complications can be transformed into tools of empowerment that also make people smile.
I guess what we’re trying to say is: Game On!