This past weekend at rAge I got to sit down with the amazing Lauren “Pansy” Scott to chat about her career and stay in our beautiful country, have a read.
Picture: © ESL/Patrick Strack
MP: Tell us a little bit about yourself
LS: I’m Lauren Scott, a professional commentator for video games, specifically e-sport. I do the live commentary of professional matches.
MP: Why the nickname “Pansy”?
LS: The reason for my nickname is, 10 years ago I was playing a videogame online and obviously no one knew whether I was a guy or a girl and I was told I play like a pansy. I thought it would be funny to put that as my name, turn the negative into a positive.
MP: Where did your love for gaming originate from?
LS: It started when I was younger as I was always competitive. I played tennis and football and was quite good at it until I hurt my knee and couldn’t play anymore. When I discovered video games, that same spirit kicked in. I got excited as I could do what I love, even in a virtual setup. I made friends through it when I went to events etc. as it was really cool meeting people I’ve only chatted/played with online.
MP: Do you still remember the first game you’ve ever played?
LS: The first one I actually really loved, I mean I played other games before, but the first one I remember loving was a game called Doom on PC that I used to play with my dad. I was too young to be playing the game but yeah I did. When I got to levels too scary for me he would take over or when my key gets stuck somewhere I’d take over so that was my first memory of enjoying games.
MP: What exactly is eSports?
LS: eSports…it’s actually quite difficult to describe it. It’s the pinnacle of the competitive aspect of a game, it’s the best of the best. For e.g you get 5 friends together and you play, invest a lot of hours and get really good, then you go to these events and tournaments and compete for money and other prizes and prestige, that’s what it is to me.
MP: What does being a commentator entail?
LS: I do something similar for the video games that commentators do for a football/tennis match. It would be 2 teams against each other and I’d just describe and explain what’s exciting, what’s right or wrong etc. I’ll try to tell a story and tell people at home why they should care about this game and why they should be interested so I’m essentially a storyteller.
MP: Did casting prepare you in any way for commentating?
LS: It’s basically the same thing as the one is on and the other offline so it definitely did.
MP: Do you think professional gamers are regarded as actual athletes?
LS: For me, I’m a little bit different in opinion as I know a lot of people in my industry will say, yes they’re athletes as they do have the athlete visas to travel etc. but I don’t see it as much of a physical sport. I think they are professionals in what they do and that’s enough of a title. Athlete adds a physical connotation to it, which is important as you need to have great reaction time but I don’t feel it’s the right word. They don’t need to be boxed into a certain category or have a name tag attached to it.
MP: What is your routine before commentating?
LS: Wow, that’s a cool question actually. I don’t have a set-in-stone routine, it depends but before a big stage event I do my practice, I have a notepad where I jot down pages and pages of notes a day before. Just before I go onto stage I always listen to the same song and that gets me focussed, my absolute favourite song by Gigi D’Agostino – L’Amour Toujours.
MP: How difficult is it being a female in this industry?
LS: It’s quite weird, for me I wish there were more women in the industry but everywhere I go, if I work with the same commentator they become my “siblings’ and it’s always been really nice. The guys I work with are always friendly and we look after each other and that’s been really cool for me. You get a lot more attention online when you’re a female, some negative, other positive but you get used to it and develop a thick skin. I’ve had other women coming up to me, telling me that I’ve inspired them to get into the industry and I find that to be quite incredible.
MP: How does your family feel about what you’re doing?
LS: Originally they didn’t understand what I do but now that the gaming scene has blown up, that I’m more established and have a career in it, they do. When I first started that wasn’t the case as it was risky to leave my normal job and do this. I went back home 2 years ago and showed my family the events we’ve done and they were mindblown, surprised and proud of me.
MP: What has been the highlight of your career thus far?
LS: Wow, entire career so far? There’s a few moments I’d say with my favourite moment being when I went back home for Christmas (I live in Germany but my family live in London) I went out with some friends from school and we went to a bar to chill and the bartender went ” You’re Pansy, aren’t you?”. It turns out he’s a huge fan and watches my videos and my friends were quite surprised that people know me. They know what I do but not the magnitude of it so they were freaked out that I’m actually “famous”.The other one would be ESL One Cologne stadium event we did, it just blew my mind. It made it real, a pinnacle moment for me, knowing that we filled the whole stadium. It was scary but amazing.
MP: Why did you move from Call of Duty to Wolfenstein?
LS: Ooohhh that’s a very old school question, never been asked that. There’s a story behind it; basically a guy called Stuart Saw, a very famous commentator from way back, knew me from Enemy Territory and he knew that COD will be quite popular and may have a future in it so he advised me to play it. I played it a little bit, kinda got into it and realised I’m quite good at it.
MP: How has your stay been in SA? Would you come back again?
LS: I’ve got to say, so far my favourite thing (I’ve only been here for 3 days, 3 more to go) was the safari I went on where I got to see some incredible animals up close, definitely a life goal fulfilled right there. I went over to the host of the event’s house for a braai and it was such an amazing experience as everyone is so friendly and welcoming. I’ll definitely come back for a holiday soon as there’s so much to see and experience and the time I have right now is not enough.