Q: Games can cultivate a creative and/or competitive spark—how do you keep your creative and/or competitive spark alive?
A: By showing up at your desk and practicing the craft, by showing up on the field and playing the game. The creative and competitive spark shines the brightest when I love the game enough that the goal is not just to win, but to keep playing forever.
Q: Gamer Collection was inspired by the games of our childhood—what was your favorite game growing up? Is there a character, figure, or person from gaming (or any playing field) that you identify with?
A: Before coming to the U.S. for high school, I spent my childhood and early teenage years in a metropolitan city in China. In urban Asian culture, gaming isn’t some niche hobby, but an inevitable social fabric that weaves together our collective imagination. From navigating the haunted hospitals in Residential Evil, to leading armies in Dynasty Warriors, to exploring the picturesque green fields in Zelda, we played individually but also together. We each deployed different strategies that led to different interpretations of the story, and the next day we got to relive these moments after class on a soccer field. The best games are the ones where there’s not just one way to win. Through the different ways we played, we also got to know each other more intimately as friends.
Every gamer has a different story of how they fell in love. I still remember the relatively homogenous perception of what being a “good girl” means, especially in China. Honestly, I never saw myself through that narrative. Gaming inspired in me a somewhat subversive dream, the ability to fight in battles like a true warrior and to protect the ones I love. Most of these characters are men, and I didn’t think much about it, despite knowing there’s something restless sitting inside a body like mine.
It wasn’t until I encountered Lara Croft from Tomb Raider that an image of an adventurous, fearless, and independent woman calcified into something tangible — a body that’s nimble yet strong, a body with curves toting dual pistol. Stylistically, I also reckon shops like Hypebae and Kith Womens must have been somewhat inspired by Lara’s fit: simple, performant, and confident. The outfit that helps you explore the vintage of pyramids with wonder and terminate the bad ones with no mercy.
Even the controversies around Lara — how she’s an invention of the male gaze and how the pernicious embedded sexism creates a mirage of a “strong” ideal — serve as reminders that regardless of how she’s perceived, she’s unequivocally smart, relentlessly independent, a superb archaeologist, and a formidable fighter.