Geek lands dream job
Geek lands dream job

At first glance, Stephanie Bendixsen is not an obvious choice to host a television show about computer games.

To start with, she is a bubbly, outgoing young woman in a field stereotypically dominated by introverted, socially awkward teenage boys.

Added to that, the 24-year-old joined the gaming community relatively later in life than most hard-core gamers, after being banned from having her own gaming console as a child.

But the newest host of ABC2's Good Game - the cult review show that bills itself as "for gamers by gamers" - is not one to let a few stereotypes hold her back.

The self-confessed geek, who goes by the game name "Hex", is quite happy to squirrel herself away in a room for hours, sometimes days, at a time playing video games and immersing herself in the gaming culture.

As she is quick to point out, a survey by the Australian Interactive Games and Entertainment Association last year revealed 46 per cent of gamers are female and the number is steadily increasing.

"I think girls just need to be more vocal about being geeky and being into games," she says.

"Thankfully there are a lot of nerds out there. I like nerdy guys.

"A guy who knows his way around a computer, that is the way to my heart."

Born to non-gaming parents, Hex says she was forced to sneak over to a friend's house and put in serious hours on their Sega Megadrive.

But when she finished high school, she decided to build a computer that was fast and powerful enough to run games.

"It was a whirlwind because I had to condense what most people had as a whole childhood and life of gaming into a short period of time," she says. "I feel like I had to fight for my right to game.

"The irony of it is that I never had video games as a kid and now my parents, who have been so supportive of my television aspirations, are seeing how relevant video gaming is to my career."

Hex and co-host Steven "Bajo" O'Donnell will wrap up the popular gaming show for the year on Monday with a Christmas special, but will branch out in February to also present Good Game: SP, (or Spawn Point - the place in which a player or item reappears after being killed in a game), which Hex says will be a G and PG-friendly version of the show for ABC3.

She was approached to co-host the popular gaming show with Bajo after auditioning for ABC's national talent search Me on 3.

While she was thoroughly quizzed on her gaming credentials before landing her dream job, she is not convinced there is enough recognition in the workplace about the skills gaming provides and so is hesitant to recommend other youngsters put their gaming levels on their resumes.

"The best thing about games is that they are a really great creative outlet," she says.

"So long as everything is approached with a point of moderation, I don't think anyone should be denied the experience to explore another world the way video games allow them to."

'I think girls need to be more vocal about being geeky and being into games.

Thankfully there are a lot of nerds out there. I like nerdy guys.'

Good Game Christmas Special airs Monday at 8.30pm on ABC2.

The West Australian

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