Angelica Ziatkevich: Phygital will conquer the world

The Games of Future burst into the program of the final stage of the Russian Championships in computer sport with show-matches featuring famous players from the team Dmitry DM Dorokhin and Daniyal yamich Lazebny. They were picking-up spectators from the hall to put together their team – Angelica Ziatkevich was one of them, she is a student of the Belgorod State National Research University and she was not afraid of clashing with professionals in a phygital-challenge and played the Dota 2 and VR-game.

(!) Spoiler: she was on the DM team which won on aggregate after both disciplines, so the girls can give a handicap to the guys.

— What expertise do you have in eSports, in gaming? What are the games you like?

— My expertise goes back to my childhood. My dad was playing Counter-Strike 1.6, and mom played the Heroes of Might and Magic, and I was 6-7 year old then and I also asked them to let me try it. We played online games and on CDs with my classmates. Finally, when I was in grade 7 (of the Russian school) I began playing Dota2 game. It means I’ve been playing for 8 years already. With the passage of years more games would arrive: Overwatch, Sid Meier’s Civilization, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six, my favorite game from childhood Minecraft, Grand Theft Auto V, I also couldn’t avoid Genshin Impact, Hearthstone, Borderlands and many others. I love all the aforementioned games, sometimes I would take a break, but I often comeback to them.

— Do you keep an eye on the eSports world?  

— I got interested in eSports after The International. I watched my first tournament in 2014. Prior to that I knew about the one in 2011 and I was genuinely happy as I was fan of Na`Vi (like many others spectators). Later I was following the Inta events, I was cheering but then my interest somehow faded. Now I am fired up again, I was watching ESL One Stockholm Dota Major 2022 cheering for the team. If we talk about specific players, Dendi will always be close to my heart. I also like watching the games ALOHADANCE, Solo, n0tail. I believe everyone realized what is common between my idols (on top of them being funny guys) – they are full supports. And I prefer playing in the same position.

— ESports for you is leisure time, a way to relax or something more?

— It’s leisure. Of course, there were moments in my life when you play more than sleep, yet so far my gaming didn’t lead to anything serious. I started playing with (the live streaming service) Twitch many times from my very school years, but then I would give it up (I often regret it and my inner voice in my head keeps telling me I must comeback). I think many players want gaming to become something big in their life, but it takes patience and lots of efforts.

— Why do you think there are few girls in eSports? Do you feel a girl can play on a par with a guy?

— Girls and eSports are a separate topic in itself worth a whole dissertation. As a matter of fact, there are quite a few representatives of the fair sex in gaming, many more than people think. For example, playing Dota2, I introduce myself as male school student and many believe me because of my voice. That’s great tactics because in 50% of the cases they will simply send you to the kitchen. I met many girls in gaming during my lifetime, some of them play even better than the guys I know. I believe if there is less sexism in games and the guys finally realize that the girls can play on a par with them or better, then it will be a better world.

— How do the guys react to the fact that you play when they recognize you? 

— I noticed that with the passage of time the guys are less and less surprised by girls in gaming. In real life a guy gets interested, of course, he would invite you to play and asks about your ranking, about the hours you spend playing. I believe it is just the same kind of hobby and an interesting topic for discussion as cooking or cinema. For example, people would be amazed at how few film series I watched.

— Did you play in VR-glasses before?

— A special thank you to the Games of Future for the opportunity to play wearing VR-glasses, I’ve never played something like that. But now I am a happy owner of this formidable invention!

— What was the brightest moment for you at this Russian Championships?

— I was in Belgorod from day one till the very end. I remember pretty well the opening ceremony on the first day, it was an unforgettable show with dances, holograms – in short, I keep tons of emotions. But on the second day emotions were eclipsed by the show-match in which I participated, this experience will be long remembered.

— Did you like for format of the phygital show-match? 

— I very much liked the phygital format in the show-match, both on the first day when I was a spectator and on the second day, too, when I was a participant. It was very funny to watch the players or rather how they were moving on the stage in glasses seeing nothing and the actual game was really breath-taking. I can tell you as a player that it’s a full immersion, a combination of digital and physical spaces – it’s a breakthrough, nothing less! During the game I didn’t notice anything around me, you were sort of teleported to a different world, these are indescribable emotions. Besides, it’s also a good physical exercise, we played for just 10 minutes but it felt like I spent no less than an hour in a fitness hall. After 2 days my legs are still aching (smiling).

— Do you think phygital disciplines have a future as a competition?

— I believe that in the future phygital disciplines will displace the more habitual world of eSports. It is much more interesting, though more complicated from the technical point of view. I think the developers will cope with any difficulties and phygital will conquer the whole world.

— The concept of the Games of Future is exactly about hybrid disciplines, so would you like to participate if you had such an opportunity and will you watch the tournament?

— If I had the opportunity to take part again in the disciplines of the Games of Future, I would be really happy. No doubt, I will follow the tournament and keep track of related news, I also will advise to watch it to my acquaintances and my friends.