In Dallas, Xena, Smiley, Snake and Drummer of Genuwin logged a landmark achievement by becoming the first team with female gamers to reach Halo 2’s Championship Bracket since the 2005 Season. Following their successful debut, we sat down with the team to discuss the long road they have traveled in their gaming careers, the significance of their accomplishment, and their plans for continued success on the Major League Gaming Pro Circuit.
Trunkers: First of all, a big congratulations for becoming the first female gamers to reach Halo 2′s Championship Bracket since 2005!
Smiley: Woot Woot!
Xena and Smiley: (laughter)
Trunkers: How long have you two girls been working towards this goal?
Smiley: It’s been my dream since I first picked up the controller.
Xena: I think we have always had that goal, it just finally happened.
Trunkers: You both had been on many different teams before. How did Genuwin come together?
Smiley: Bon Bon…
Xena: Genuwin ended up coming together because of Jeff (Drummer). At the end of Meadowlands, I was tired of always having a different team so I went to Jeff and asked him about teaming. Then Jeff came back to me 20 minutes later and told me that Felicia would like to team as well.
Drummer: Basically I was going to quit after Meadowlands, until Bonnie (Xena) asked me about it. I’ve wanted to team with her since the Playoffs of last season.
Xena: Felicia (Smiley) and I have talked about teaming before so it was always an idea; it just always seemed to be on the back burner. Jeff recruited Ben (Snake) which was an awesome addition to the team.
Drummer: Ben and I had been stuck on the subway for three hours since we took the wrong train and he asked what my secret team was for Dallas. When I told him, he wanted to be on it immediately.
Smiley: I was really excited when this whole team started to get put together. Jeff is like one of my best friends and I’ve always loved Bonnie and Ben is just awesome!
Trunkers: This will give you each an opportunity to brag on behalf of each of your teammates…
Trunkers: You all seemed extremely excited to put this team together. What qualities of your new teammates made the idea seem so appealing?
Drummer: I had seen Bonnie play in the 2006 Playoffs and knew how good she was when she practiced. Felicia has always been amazing individually. I always knew she was good enough to get into the Championship Bracket.
Xena: The idea that I got to team with another girl was great and she is really good! Drummer was always a cool guy to hang out with too so I knew this would be a fun team. I didn’t know Ben as well then, but I had played with him and he owned.
Drummer: I just saw an amazing opportunity to team with friends and get into the pro bracket and have a blast. Ben and I have been teaming since Dallas 06, so I’ve known how amazing he is.
Xena: Yeah and the fact that it was two girls and two guys would ensure the fact that nobody could say that the girls got carried too.
Smiley: I loved the fact that I would get to team with Bonnie and Jeff because I’ve been friends with them for awhile and I knew this entire team would have a lot of skill. When I found out that Ben was on the team, too, I got to know him and he turned out to be a great guy and he’s absolutely amazing at the game! I was really excited to have a co-ed team, especially with Bonnie on it and two awesome guys.
Drummer: Ben was actually pretty skeptical at first, because he didn’t believe me when I said how good Bonnie was.
Trunkers: Now, from the onset, it seemed this team was completely determined not just to make a good showing, but to reach the Championship Bracket. What kind of preparation did you put into the tournament?
Drummer: When we actually were all on to practice, we worked really hard on the Open Bracket game types.
Smiley: We never played any Championship game types because we were really just focused on dominating the Open Bracket.
Xena: We tried to practice as much as we could. I go to a lot of camps during the summer, so I’m gone a lot and that prevented practice for two weeks. But no more camps for me this summer. (laughs) In Chicago we’ll be a lot more prepared.
Drummer: Exactly. We’ve already started working on Championship game types. Before Dallas, Felicia and Bonnie stepped up their game tremendously in one month’s time.
Smiley: Ben and Jeff had a lot to show me and Bonnie, but we soaked it all in and it made us better than I ever thought!
Drummer: I’m still impressed how much better they’ve gotten in such a short time.
Trunkers: Looking at the tournament itself, it was certainly a rough road going through the Open Bracket. I reported on your team during some of the middle rounds and it seemed each match you guys would drop the first game, then rally back and win the series. What enabled your team to always keep cool and turn those matches around?
Drummer: I think the fact that we’re really solid on the flag game types. Since it’s always the second game type, it’s really a momentum builder for us going into the third game.
Xena: Drummer and Smiley are amazing at keeping the team spirit up. Before every game I would hear, “We got this guys! We got this!”
Smiley: I think after the first game we would realize that we were not about to lose now; that we had worked way too hard and wanted this so much that we were going to give it everything we had to keep going.
Xena: I think losing was always an extra motivation for us, too.
Drummer: Yeah, Ben doesn’t like losing. Plus, the crowd of our friends and family wasn’t too bad either motivation-wise.
Smiley: The crowd was amazing. We definitely had a lot of support during the games.
Trunkers: One of the most impressive things about your team was there was no single “big game player.” Everybody stepped up at different times. Ben and Jeff went huge in some of those Game 3 Slayer matches, Felicia is perhaps the most clutch Warlock CTF player I’ve ever seen, and Bonnie was somehow always on a killing spree.
Smiley: We all have a game type that’s our favorite and we do really well in.
Xena: Yeah, it’s really a team effort which is really nice because there is no pressure for one individual.
Drummer: That’s my favorite thing about the team, besides the fact that we’re good friends. Bonnie is the pink-side master on Midship. In the game that Ben and I had 41 kills on Beaver Creek, the only reason we were able to do that is because Bonnie was watching portal perfectly and Felicia was supporting from Red Needler. I never once had to worry about someone coming from behind us and it really let Ben and I have fun running around and shooting everyone.
Smiley: We all work together with different roles and it works out really well. Jeff got every single rocket and Ben got every OS, thanks to Photon’s coaching!
Trunkers: Well, it must be a true relief, too. In some of the pre-tournament talks, people seemed to think that if you guys made the Championship Bracket, it would only be because Jeff and Ben carried the team, but what we saw from you in Dallas was a really well-rounded, dynamic and exciting squad.
Drummer: I’ve had confidence in us to get to the Championship bracket since we started practicing. Everyone was doubting us, which for me personally was just one more reason to reach the Championship Bracket; and I’ve never had this much fun with a team, ever.
Xena: There are always those doubters, but we proved them wrong.
Trunkers: Well, this whole event was significant not just in the sense that two girls made the Championship Bracket, but it really sent a message out to the female gaming community. What would you like your female peers to take away from this whole thing?
Smiley: Girls can keep up too!
Drummer: I personally hope to see more girls competing at a higher level now.
Xena: I would like all the female gamers to see that if you take gaming seriously, practice, and have motivation you can be as good as you want. Turn all that negative energy the boys throw at you into motivation. The best revenge is success, after all.
Smiley: I can definitely see more girls being motivated to get into gaming now that girls are finally keeping up with the boys.
Trunkers: What kind of reception/comments have you guys received from fans regarding this achievement?
Smiley: A lot of love.
Drummer: Lots of it! My favorites were the people apologizing for doubting us.
Smiley: Everyone is really proud of us.
Drummer: I got about 20 private messages from people telling me I was stupid for teaming with girls, that got me really upset.
Smiley: Other girl gamers have been awesome about it too, saying they are going to start practicing more because they realize they can do it too. Right as we made the Championship Bracket on the main stage, I was already getting text messages from old friends saying “congrats!”
Trunkers: What can we expect to see from Genuwin in the future?
Drummer: Another Championship Bracket appearance and a more dominant one now that we’re practicing more and playing the right game types.
Trunkers: What kind of practice are you putting in between now and Chicago? Any LANs?
Drummer: Well, we’re going to be practicing more than six times this time around.
Smiley: The Thursday before Chicago we’re going to LAN with our team all day. That’s going to be really good practice.
Drummer: We’re going to play every game type and hopefully Bonnie can come down a day early for the LAN at my house before the event.
Xena: Yes, I am, by the way. Just bought the plane ticket.
Drummer: (laughs) Sweet. I guess Bonnie is coming down!
Trunkers: Glad we could break the news here!
Drummer: Yes, me too!
Trunkers: Well, that pretty much is it for my prepared topics. Any other comments for your fans? Shout-outs?
Smiley: Thank you so much to everyone who has been there for us and cheered us on!
Xena: All our fans are awesome and so supportive! We couldn’t have done it without all of you.
Drummer: Oh man, here I go. Firstly, I want to point out how amazing the girls are at holding Pink 1 and 2 on Midship CTF. And thanks to everyone who supported us throughout the whole tournament, especially Unbreakable who watched every game we played. Thank you Butterz for being so supportive and all our fans who cheered us along and filled up the bleachers.
Smiley: And Ben, who was at football practice during the interview.
Drummer: Yes, Ben! Ben for being hilarious and one of the main reasons I play this game.
Xena: I love Felicia and she’s awesome. Jeff is the best and kept me going through every game. Ben is the best slayer and I don’t think he had under 30 kills during any objective game.
Smiley: Very true. I love my team. Genuwin for the win!
Trunkers: Thank you all so much for the interview. You’ve been great and I wish you the best of luck in Chicago!