Our next Ninterview subject is someone who has found fame on Instagram under the name MissGamerGirl. Heather Cascioli - for that is her real name - has been a keen gamer all her life, and has amassed an impressive collection of vintage hardware. We sat down with her to talk about gaming, confounding stereotypes and being a life-long Nintendo fan.
Nintendo Life: Who are you, what do you do?
Heather Cascioli: I’m Heather, I’m 21, and I enjoy video games - a lot. I collect video games, systems and I also make bead sprites of various video game characters. I work at Best Buy, and I used to work at GameStop. I've been around video games all my life; it's just a very relaxing and exciting hobby I enjoy.
NL: When did you fall in love with Nintendo?
HC: April 21st 2003. Two days after my 12th birthday, I bought my very own GameCube. I remember getting home and laying on the floor playing Animal Crossing all day. I was so excited to have my own game system. I already had access to an N64, SNES and NES, but those were my brothers’ game systems. The GameCube was so much fun when I was younger - my favourite games were Animal Crossing, Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door and all the Mario Party games. My family would come up from Florida for the holidays and we would just play Mario Party every day until we unlocked every single mini game.
NL: What is your favourite Nintendo game?
HC: The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. I own the SNES version, Wii Virtual Console version and the Game Boy Advance version. Everything about this game is awesome to me. I'm really hoping that they either remake it in 3D for the 3DS or even make a sequel for the 3DS or the Wii U.
NL: What is your favourite gaming platform of all time?
HC: Super Nintendo is my favourite system by far. I love the graphics, the accessories, the games and the music. Super Nintendo is my fourth most played system next to my Wii U, Xbox 360 and 3DS. I greatly enjoy kicking my friend's butts in Super Bomberman and Super Mario Kart!
NL: Have you ever had people question your devotion to gaming because you don't look like your typical video gamer?
HC: Yes. I have to laugh because this is probably one of the most annoying things I run into all the time. When I worked at GameStop there were numerous occasions where people would either ignore me, ask for a guy to help them or laugh at me and ask me what I knew about video games. Even at Best Buy people would ask me if I knew anything about video games. I believe my name tag said "Gaming Specialist" on it for a reason!
NL: Video gaming is a very male-dominated hobby. Do you ever get intimidated by male gamers, or do you take satisfaction in teaching them a lesson?
HC: Intimidated? Never. I’m not going to say that I can beat a guy in any game, because Call of Duty is one of my least favourite games so I won't even try to win on a one on one. But Super Mario Kart, I will win without a doubt. I would rather play a game that we work together to beat rather than have to fight each other one-on-one. But then again, if someone keeps bragging about how good they are at a game I will teach them a lesson.
NL: What do you love most about video games?
HC: First of all, what is there not to love? Granted, my dad would say that video games are pointless and stupid. But then I just show him Your Shape: Fitness Evolved, Just Dance 3 and all the Dance Central games, and he cannot say "All you do is sit and play games", since those are exercise and dance titles. Therefore, I win! Honestly though, there really is a lot to love about video games. They make so many different types of games for almost anyone to enjoy. I love being able to bring Just Dance over to my friend's house and have a great time. Having people come to my house and play all the retro systems I have is really quite funny since I own a lot of games that people have not heard of, or have forgotten about. My two brothers, my uncle and my cousin and I all play World of Warcraft. We used to all play on the same realm and were even in the same guild. Of course, they decided to go Horde and I still play Alliance so I had to create a character on another server to play with them. But its the fact that even though we live in different states, we all can still do something that we all enjoy together. I guess it just comes down to being able to have fun doing something alone or with friends and family that makes me love video games.
NL: What makes Nintendo particularly special to you?
HC: Nintendo holds a special place in my heart ever since I was young. Every night you could find me in my brothers’ Ninja Turtle-themed room playing Super Nintendo with my mom. We had 4 games that we always played: Super Bomberman, Bust-A-Move, Super Mario Kart and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. Super Bomberman was always our favourite since we got to work together as a team, except when the heart bomb dropped - then we fought each other for it! Nintendo to me has always been a family thing, I grew up with it. Nintendo brought my family closer in my opinion, and it still does. Every Christmas I give my mom a big present, two years ago I gave her our NES system back with a few extra games I bought her. I have to say that it’s quite amusing to watch her play RoboWarrior, Hogan's Alley and Rad Racer. She loves to make sound effects as if she was really there. The only thing I cared about on Christmas this year was my mom opening her Wii and the 15 games I bought her. Nintendo just makes great family systems that no other company can compare to.
NL: How many games consoles and games do you own?
HC: NES, SNES, N64, GameCube, Virtual Boy, Wii, Wii U, Game Boy, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, Game Boy Advance SP, Nintendo DS Lite, Nintendo 3DS, Pokémon Mini, Sega Genesis, Sega CD, Sega Dreamcast, Sega Game Gear, Sega Saturn, Neo Geo, Neo Geo Pocket Color, Turbografx 16, Atari 2600, PlayStation, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, XaviX, Bentley Compu Vision, Commodore 64, Xbox and Xbox 360. I also own 350 games. I'm sad that I sold my Panasonic 3DO, Sega Master System and Magnavox Odyssey 2.
NL: Wow! That's an impressive collection. What's the most treasured Nintendo item you own?
HC: I’m not sure if anyone else would consider it treasure, but I do love my Virtual Boy. Almost everyone has played or owned a SNES, NES, N64 or a GameCube, but I don’t know too many people that still own (or ever owned) a Virtual Boy. I also have a Pokémon Mini handheld system that is pretty awesome!
NL: Tell us a bit about your awesome sprite beadcraft project. Have you considered making them to order?
HC: One day I walked into a craft store, called my mom, asked "What are those beads called that you iron together?" and that is how my project started. I was spending hours every day making some really awesome characters. Since I have been working a lot I really haven't been able to get back into it but hopefully now that I'm back to my normal job I can start it up again. I would love to be able to make them for people - for awhile I would just post on Facebook and ask what I should make. Some people gave me great ideas and I even ended up making some for the guys at work. A lot of people make bead characters and such, I just decided to take it a step further and create something I can call my own.
NL: You recently picked up the Wii U. What are your thoughts on the system, and what new things do you feel it brings to the table?
HC: First things first, I love my Xbox 360 - I play it way more than I do any other system that I own. But since I bought my Wii U, I haven’t touched it (only to move it out of the way). I watched my brothers play Assassins Creed 3 on Xbox, and it looked great, so I picked it up on Wii U. I have to say, it looks just as pretty as the 360 version, it runs very smoothly and it’s quite handy to have a map and the horse whistle directly on the GamePad. I also picked up Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, Epic Mickey 2 and Nintendo Land. I think Nintendo did an amazing job with Nintendo Land, especially packing it in with the deluxe version. I would say that Nintendo got it right with this system. They are going to be able to accomplish some pretty neat things using the GamePad.
Thanks to Heather for taking the time to speak to us!
Ninterviews are a series of interviews where we get to know interesting people with a passion for Nintendo. Please contact us if you have any suggestions for future Ninterviews. Click here to see the full series.