Just like any of us, Zerah Gonsalves spent her summers playing Mario and Contra. Oh making Mario eat mushrooms and fight fire throwing dragons. Yes! But her idea of gaming changed when she was introduced to online gaming. The real stuff. It was a friend who took her into the networked world of gaming. And rest shall we say is game theory?
Now, a professional gamer and a shoutcaster (person dedicated to the broadcasting side of esports, providing commentary for games) Zerah, A.K.A. Angela (her gaming name) is creating a place for herself in this male-dominated industry and also is paving the path for others to follow.
What’s that world like? And whoa, this is a job? How cool is that. We are catching up with Zerah Gonsalves.
Every time I played a game, I learnt something new about it and I always wanted to learn more and more. The thing about gaming is, it’s always informative and yet a lot of fun. It teaches you a lot. Plus gaming online means you meet a variety of people with different interests and backgrounds and yet the differences do not matter because we all played as one. That is a great feeling.
every time I go live on my gaming channel, she ensures that she watches the game inspite of not being able to understand the anything at all.
My favourite game would be Dota 2 followed by Left For Dead 2, GTA 5, and Portal 2.
We basically, commentate on what is happening in a game. It’s like watching a game of cricket where the commentators keep you updated and entertained while you watch the match.
Yeah, it’s a job
When we play multiplayer games we use the invoice option to talk to our friends. Some of my friends in Sri Lanka were having a tournament and were looking for a shoutcaster. They asked me if I would like to give it a shot. I have to say it went better than I expected. I cast their whole tournament and got a lot of good response. There on, I went to join AFK gaming in India and was mentored by them to get better at it.
I always wanted to do gaming professionally. But I was confused on what role in it. So, I decided to do everything I could and see which one would fit in the best. When there is a field that hasn’t yet been completely made there are no rules on payments and no job securities. You have to build your own connections. Gaming events itself were hard to fund. Shout casting, most of the times, would not even be considered for funding. But that has changed over time.
Once you understand the industry, it is a great place to be in.
I come from Ahmadabad, Gujarat. Gaming is not big in that part of India yet. The biggest challenge for me was leaving home and coming to Bangalore. But I believed that it had to be done in order to grow in this field. Bangalore is the centre for most of the big gaming events. It also has the biggest gaming lounge in India. I used to anyway keep going there for events so it made the most sense to go there first.
Is there a role model you follow?
It could be a lot of Professional Gamers. But, I would have to say it is my mother, for being with me through everything. She’s my Hero! Even today, every time I go live on my gaming channel, she ensures that she watches the game inspite of not being able to understand the anything at all.
Sustainability in industry
Gaming professionally and sustaining, yes, it is happening now. We already have players of Dota 2, Counterstrike etc. that I know of who are getting paid to play and win tournaments. But if not as a professional gamer there are other options as well. You can be an online streamer, game developer, get into media or gaming events. There are a lot of ways to make a living in gaming. It’s just that the market is still being explored.
Shout casting is most of the time an event based thing. We do have companies now that are recruiting casters and the money could range anywhere between 20-90k! It largely depends on the event and the sponsors.
Passion for gaming
Gaming! It’s been a huge part of my life. I sometimes get socially awkward around non-gamers. I am a nerd that ways.
When you spend your new years at home, gaming online with your best pals and at 12 am you all pause to wish each other and then you resume your game. I think, that is passion right there!
Challenges faced as female gamer
I don’t think I was ever treated any different. I have always had people motivating me to follow my passion and that is a blessing. Sometimes some gamers might say offensive stuff but that’s like caring about what a stranger thinks about you.
I have been concentrating on Dota 2 a lot for now. I need to get my rank up. But I really do want to play Watch Dogs 2 and Overwatch next.
I just went for the Dota 2 International that happened in Seattle. That was one big thing off the bucket list!
Convincing parents & dealing with society
Well, they didn’t know what Shoutcasting was, but they never stopped me from doing it. The only problem was that it takes up a lot of your time and energy and my parents were bothered about that.
A lot has changed in the past 2 years. Now we have a lot of events and a lot of startups have come up to support fields around gaming and to grow the ecosystem.
Advice for aspiring gamers
If you love gaming, play hard but do it professionally only if you are ready to give up other fields. Let it be your venting place on hard days and fun place on Sundays!