1. How did you come up with your username?
I actually used a Korean transliteration of my English name “Cynthia” online at first because that’s the username I’ve been using since forever. But I’ve had either racist players telling me to “Go play on an Asian server if you are Chinese” and that they are going to win because we have a Korean player on the team or sexist players who keep asking me if I had a boyfriend, since I had a girl’s name. So, I started looking for a neutral name but also wanted to keep trace of Cynthia. I chose Cythera because not only it sounded similar to Cynthia but I liked how it was a birthplace of Venus in Greek mythology. (I was also taking Art History class and even though I hate French paintings, I somewhat liked Watteau – and his painting The Embarkation for Cythera.) But now I have people asking if I am the porn star Cytherea. Can’t satisfy every person on earth, especially if he can’t read.
2. Fun fact about yourself!
I speak four languages. No, we only speak Korean at home. I’ve learned others from scratch. I’d be fluent in French by now, if it weren’t for Overwatch.
3. What’s your Overwatch journey been like?
I’ve never really played video games before Overwatch (a lot of my IRL friends are surprised to hear this but it’s true). My friend one day asked me to go to PC Café with her to play Overwatch – she heard about the game but was too scared to go alone. Even though I felt so sick after playing the game for 30 minutes, I kind of got really hooked. I bought PS4 version first but that did not feel like playing on PC. I work on campus and spent all the money I’ve saved on a gaming laptop.
I had fun time socializing online because it was so different from meeting people IRL. It made me realize how narrow my social group was. I also came to realize how important positive community is and that it was possible to combat negativity, when you were playing with a group of people who also believed in that cause. I ended up with GG but I’ve sought out many other female or LGBTQ-oriented groups online. Now I feel like I’m a bit complacent and have not done much to socialize but that’s life.
It also hasn’t been that long since I played competitive. In Korea, I often played with my male friends because most of my IRL girlfriends do not enjoy video games. I knew I wasn’t that good and I didn’t want that to consolidate stereotypes against female gamers. I bought my first alt account so that I can secretly play competitive and see where I am. Well, I am still in gold but all the guys who thought they could teach me how to play Overwatch are now in silver. So suck it.
4. Do you have a favorite pro OW player or streamer?
Probably Fitzyhere. He is the first person I’ve ever subscribed to on Twitch. I’ve been watching his Sombra play a lot but I decided to sub when he was so devastated after a game of Minesweeper. He “logically” made his way through the game, so he was so shook that he inevitably had to guess at the end. Poor guy. I still sometimes wonder why I subscribe to anyone on Twitch, though. It’s a mystery that people want to pay money to watch someone else play video games. But it’s a mystery I thoroughly enjoy.
My other favorite streamer is SarahDeeGee. I love her.
5. Are there any other communities or groups you’re a member of?
I am in GG affiliate team Licorice Whip and team Velaris as a flex player. I also sometimes take over insane mod timeslots because I have a lot of flexibility with my schedule.
6. What are your top 5 favorite games?
Overwatch, Don’t Starve Together, Minesweeper
I don’t think I play enough games to rank top 5. But I know I hate PUBG the most, especially after they made the blood go green.
7. Do you have a favorite all time character from a game?
8. In your opinion, what’s the best part about being a gamer and the worst?
The best part for me is that I get to perceive the world in a different light. Gaming is such an interesting phenomenon. Video games make it clear to me the artificial boundaries of the world that I often forget to think about. A lot of the things we have to do are arbitrary agreements, just the way a lot of video game rules are. But, as long as we play by the rules, we can’t break them. But it still feels okay thinking that even if I am not the best in the world (according to whatever the fictional rules), as long as I enjoy it, everything is cool – just the way I get to enjoy Overwatch even though I am not Top 500.
The downside of being a gamer is that you are constantly exposed to meritocracy that surrounds gaming. In video games, successes are rewarded and failures are punished, without question. On the other hand, the process is rarely evaluated. So, everyone has an illusion that the results are what matters the most. Especially in competitive gaming, I think the toxic meritocracy is real. As long as you are good, you can do and say whatever to people who are “bad”! That allows blaming, smurfing, hacking and other negative behaviors online. Once you encounter these behaviors, you also want to “git gud” as a revenge and the cycle continues. If you are not vigilant, it’s really easy to fall into the trap.
(See answer 3.)
TL;DR: the best part about being a gamer is that I always have food for thought; the worst part is that I rarely can share it in-game.
9. Favorite food, drink, color & day of the week?
Noodles, soy milk and coffee, purple and black, and any day on which everyone else works but I’m chilling at home.
10. Do you have any other hobbies besides gaming?
Collecting and writing postcards. I sometimes feel bad that both are such a first world hobby.