ZombieGrub (ZG) is a caster for BaseTradeTV who mainly focuses on StarCraft 2 and a little bit of Overwatch. She is a well-liked figured of the SC2 (StarCraft 2) community, having been in the scene for some years and helping the scene grow.
Sarah Gaulin: First gaming related memory?
ZG: My mother likes telling this story, but when I was about 3 or 4, on the Genesis, there’s a Michael Jackson game, and she says that I had no idea what I was doing, but I knew exactly what I was doing! I was winning that game, so hard. So that is my first memory. (laughs)
S: Favourite game as a kid?
ZG: Final Fantasy 8! Still is, by the way.
S: Favourite recent game?
ZG: Hum, Overwatch? Yeah, Overwatch.
S: How did you get involved in gaming?
ZG: I am the youngest of all my cousins and brothers and they’re all boys so, I mean, I was always a tomboy and they always played videos games and I would always play and they’d say I was cheating. I hated that. I mean, they were the mean cousins and older brothers, right? So I remember watching my brothers play games like Final Fantasy and then eventually, I decided to play it too. That’s basically it. (laughs)
S: How did you discover eSports?
ZG: You know, I really wish I could remember. So, I very distinctly remember my brothers getting SC2, because everyone kinda played Brood War (StarCraft 1’s expansion), right? Not super serious, but I mean, I still have the N64 version. So I was like, yeah, I think I’m gonna get SC2, it looks like a cool game. I must have really liked it, I played it and beat my brother and he was very salty about it. And then I remember looking up YouTube videos on how to get better or something, and I saw some YouTubers, and then I saw Koreans play. I was like, oh my gosh, they’re so good! That’s the last thing I really remember about it. It’s pretty much that. (grins)
S: How did you get involved in eSports?
ZG: Initially, it was just me and a friend and we were like, we should cast this. We didn’t really like that many casters in America. So we were a little rude. (laughs) We weren’t supposed to, but we just asked if we could join a game, it was a small tournament. And then I started casting for clans and eventually I applied for slightly bigger things, which gave me enough experience, resume experience, that MLG and Axeltoss specifically, for the 2013 MLG Anaheim community cast, accepted my application. That got me a lot of recognition, like oh my god, a girl casting. (laughs) So that got me into DreamHack and then WCS Challenger picked me up for a while, and around that time was when Rifkin (founder of BaseTradeTV) contacted me for BTTV.
S: The scene has been evolving rapidly in the last few years. How do you feel about it?
ZG: Obviously, I’m really excited that eSports is getting more popular. You’re talking to older people and they say that some kid has won a few thousand dollars, and I’m like, yeah, I know that kid. (laughs) So that’s really cool. It’s developing so rapidly, but it’s really been happening since 1998, you know, especially in Korea, with Brood War. That spiked the popularity, but for the rest of the world, it’s just now so rapid. It feels like we’re now experiencing what Korea experienced back in the days; people becoming superstars, winning thousands of dollars. It’s really cool to be involved in this time, where there’s actually there’s more opportunities. It’s more difficult, but there’s still more opportunities.
S: What do you love/hate about the eSports industry?
ZG: I love all of the traveling and the people that I get to meet. I mean, six years ago, I would not have known anyone from Germany, for example. So that’s really awesome, and everyone really has been really friendly. The worst thing would be the elitism, especially in SC2, to be honest. And also, being a girl. I’ve honestly forgotten, for the last two years, what it’s like to be a new girl coming into the scene, but I remember every so often. I cast something like Overwatch or a CSL, and you just remember that some of the guys will be nice to your face, but then they’ll ask you stupid things like, you wanna butter my muffin. And there’s no good way to respond as they’ll either call you an asshole, even if you tell them it’s your answer is a joke or if you laugh, they’ll think it’s an okay thing to do. So I really do not like that part of the scene.
S: Any game that is a guilty pleasure?
ZG: Honestly, I haven’t played any guilty pleasure recently, but my friend introduced me to HuniePop, it’s a dating simulator. It gets rowdy later on… Anyway, my friend bought me that and I have to play it. I’ve only played 20 minutes of it, and every single time I tell myself I’ll play all of it, but then I have to leave. It’s fun, you have to give them presents and things like that. The cool part about HuniePop is that they’re so real with you. If you give them something stupid, they’ll be like “what the heck is wrong with you?”. They’ll say that. For me, this is real. This is my game! (laughs)
S: Any stream/streamer that is a guilty pleasure?
ZG: No. I’m actually very pro at watching stream. I used to watch so many SC2 streams, I used to have them in the background. I’d run home and watch VODs. But I watch so much StarCraft all the time and I’m not so good at searching new streamers, so no guilt anywhere. The guilt is not watching enough!
S: How many events like this have you been to?
ZG: Like DreamHack? Yes actually, I have. I go to a lot of anime conventions, which is what it feels like downstairs, with all the boots, but I also go to a lot of tournaments. This is a really cool mixture!
S: Is this your first DH?
ZG: It is my first DreamHack. I like it a lot so far. I went downstairs and bought some anime toys. And then I come upstairs and watch SC2. I know also, that as far as production goes, they’re a lot chiller than most other events, I mean, they’ve just let us cast a few minutes ago. Being live in attendance, it doesn’t feel that much different, but it does feel better. It feels like the MLG of old, because there’s the LAN setup and you can see the players and watch them play. It’s not a thing that is completely there at IEMs, for example.
S: What do you look forward to the most for this event?
ZG: Honestly, just hanging out with people that I like. It’s such a blessing and a curse to make friends in eSports, because you’ll see them and it’ll be the biggest blast for a weekend, and then you don’t see them again for 6 months. So people always ask me if I’m there for the games, but as a SC2 caster, I have to say yes, but actually I just want to meet everybody again. (laughs)
S: Your best memory of gaming/eSports?
ZG: Gosh. I don’t know. My best memory of game in general are pretty personal stuff, like when I played Final Fantasy 8, back when I was 12, tomboy, rough and tough, and I remember being like, oh I like the romance. Because that was one of the main part of the game. So that helped develop me, or whatever. As far as eSports, it’s really hard to choose. They all have to do with the friends that I’m with, you know. The first time I probably got too drunk was with you. That damn Canadian whatever it was alcohol. I don’t know why it hit me so hard, but I remember being like, wow this is what it’s like. Because I had never been drunk before, not really. I’ve been tipsy, like at my brother’s wedding, but that was on another level. That was a first. But yeah, I can’t really choose one. Got too many stories.
S: Other hobby/passion not related to gaming?
ZG: I’m actually an artist, which most people don’t really know about. I graduated with a degree in Animation, focusing on environment modelling, but I’ve never used it so… At times, I like to draw and just chill out, basically. I try to study Korean, that’s pretty hard to do. I also like working out a lot, I haven’t been doing it much lately, but I do running and weightlifting, that’s been my hobby for that last few months, to get in shape.
S: Final words?
ZG: Hum… Eseipha’s the greatest. There you go.
You can follow ZombieGrub on Twitter here.