As someone who only occasionally dabbles in the world of gaming, I find it quite hard to find content creators in the gaming space who I feel I can relate to. That changed when I was scrolling through my For You Page one evening and saw Miss Kay with a video of a Skyrim POV. An hour later, I had watched over 10 of her videos and knew that she would have fascinating insights into the world of gaming. We were lucky to speak with Kay recently and get the tea on how she navigates being a creator, and her take on gaming.
How did you first get into making TikToks? What was the motivation to start creating?
Growing up, my parents were very strict about social media; they had me at 22 and 25 and were very much in the mindset of “everyone on the internet is a pervert, and they’re going to get you”. So I really didn’t have any social media until I was 18, and at that time, TikTok was starting to get big, but I feel like a lot of people my age still saw it as a kids’ app at that time. Like when I was in high school, it was a children’s app. But then quarantine hit, and I’d separated from my dad, so I had to move in with a friend. At that time, we were just hanging around the house doing nothing all day, so I just started posting. That account has since been banned, but then I started my current account and wanted to be a lot more intentional with putting work into my content. This current account is like the full actualisation of what was like being on sandbox mode before. I actually just beat my old account’s follower count, I try not to think about that stuff too often though.
Has your experience been as a creator so far? Have you experienced any negativity?
You know, I think because more of my stuff is being pushed out to a lot of people more regularly now, I don’t ever have people being massively angry at me. It’s more of the very normal transphobia like somebody will just comment the word ‘sir’, and I assume they expect me to break down and cry when I see that, but I don’t. The more common thing is, in every comment section on my videos, if you dig around, you will see two people arguing to the death about whatever I’m talking about, like people arguing if the mage’s guild questline in Skyrim is good. Literally, there are people arguing about anything in every one of my comment sections.
Can you tell us a little about your experience with gaming? When did you get into it? What games do you like?
I was raised with gaming, my parents were both really into World of Warcraft (WOW) from when it came out, and they also played Diablo. As I got older, they mostly just played WOW, and they were in a guild together and played questlines together and dungeons. I was probably about six years old when I started playing that. I’m not a very adventurous gamer for most of my childhood up to being a teenager I only really played WOW. I would try other things like Skyrim here and there, but I, particularly with games, do not want to try lots of different types of games. I know what I like, and I stick to it fully. When I picked up Skyrim, I realised I preferred that to playing an MMO game (massively multiplayer online games), and then it has only been in the past couple of years I started playing Stardew Valley and a bit of Animal Crossing. I don’t play WOW anymore, so that’s kind of a development.
Is there something you particularly like about open-world gaming?
Really I think the combat in those types of games is fun but almost at arm’s length, I’ll do it if I have to. If I have to fight a dragon, I will, but what I would really like to do is run around in the forest not looking for a specific thing and gather a bunch of herbs and find little treasure chests and like find the little caves in the game and like just do all that kind of stuff. I think maybe it’s a thing because I live in Texas, and it’s 116 degrees right now, so I’m not going to go explore a real forest, but it’s very fun to just sit here in my air-conditioned apartment and pretend I’m doing that. I guess it’s very relaxing, you know, especially after a really long day at work to just be like, ‘I’m not gonna quest, I’m not gonna do any of the major things I need to do in this game I’m gonna get a bunch of plants and make a bunch of potions and call at night’.
The content that really jumped out at me when I found you was your Skyrim POV content; as a fellow player, it made me scream, laughing. Do you feel like open-world games are particularly welcoming as a community?
It’s really interesting, I am a very social person, but with gaming in particular, I never got hooked into an online community. I think a lot of that was also from playing WOW. I’m going to tell you something right now, those WOW gamers are old, grizzled, and mean. They have been playing the game for twenty years, have no time for small talk, and are entirely speaking in code. While you’re playing the game, there’s a general chat on the left side of the screen where you can see other players on your server playing, and I don’t even know what they’re saying at this point.
I started posting the Skyrim videos, and I’d never really talked to anyone outside of my friends about Skyrim, and it was really cool to see all these other people who are like, ‘oh my gosh yeah, I love going to this city, and I act a whole scenario where I make this one character, and I fall in love, and then we get married’ or like ‘oh I don’t even do the main quest line of the game’. They just go to all the other little fun side stuff, and it’s so interesting. I know that Skyrim also has a lot of appeal amongst some very racist male gamers who like Skyrim for the Stormcloak* thing. It’s good to know that there are people who can just play it like a normal person and enjoy cooking and crafting little things in the game. I would say a lot of the people who play it just like that it is so open-ended, and there’s so much content in the game, so you can make it your own experience. It’s just like it’s got the best graphics out of any really open-ended game with a fully customisable Skyrim experience. People have been like really cool in the comments and saying funny stuff they do in the game, I would say a lot of the people are in it for the same reasons, like, ‘yeah, I’m down to fight, but I want to relax I want to live another life in this game’.
Why do you feel certain games are more for the girls than others?
I think there’s probably a lot of reasons for it, obviously, especially during lockdown, you could not go out and do anything fun, so it makes perfect sense that some people like video games and use them as an escape. I can’t speak for all women and feminine people broadly, but I remember being in high school with my friends who loved Stardew Valley, and I think it was just a way to take your mind off of everything going on. Particularly, things are so intense socially and politically all the time now and coming into your adulthood during an economic recession and a huge lockdown, and all this stuff just makes being a young woman very stressful. I feel like, in general, women are not going to seek out more stress and anxiety in their downtime. I’ve seen people play Dark Souls, and it looks wildly unappealing to me, it looks hard and not fun to me. I also think there’s influence from lockdown like Cottage Core blew up into way more than aesthetic. I think a lot of young people now are really re-evaluating their relationship to capitalism and consumerism, and you also have mixed in with that a super heavy tendency for escapism of people raised in the internet era. They think, ‘Well, I can’t like, just escape capitalism, I can’t not have a job right now, and I can’t afford to go buy a bunch of ingredients and bake like cute little pies and pastries in an antique oven, so I’m gonna at least do that in this game for a couple of hours a night and hopefully that fills some part of the Void’.
Do you experience misogyny online as a gamer? Have you experienced any negativity in gaming spaces?
I don’t really like gaming with people, I don’t like putting on a headset like we’re in a group and we’re doing it together. It makes me super anxious. I remember it was probably almost three years ago now, and I was really into Overwatch at the time. I had this mutual online who was very nice overall, but I feel like if I would have met him in person, I would have clocked the chaser** vibes a lot quicker. We would talk, and you know, I think a lot of the transgirls know how it is when your single and there’s a chaser, and he’s not super ugly, so a little attention isn’t always a bad thing. He invited me one night to play Overwatch over a headset with a couple of his friends, I got on that call, and I didn’t say anything. It was so weird like I didn’t know these guys, and I was doing fine, but I just did not talk. A few days later, he messaged me and said, ‘I sent a picture of you in the chat’ and it was basically a conversation of ‘would y’all hit’, and it was just so rancid. I think I ended up literally just fully blocking and moving on with my life. I feel like I almost avoided most toxicity, that’s one of the few times where I was talking to somebody else through a game, and I feel like I saw what cis girls and other trans girls go through just trying to make friends online with other gamers. I kind of just circumvented that whole thing and decided I’m just gonna do this alone. I want to play a game where it’s like just me and this forest.
Do you have anything you’re excited to talk about at the moment?
As far as my own life is concerned, I like to keep that stuff pretty quiet until the time has come, you know, I get a little superstitious about those things. I will say it’s not going to be for years, Elder Scrolls 6 is going to be coming to the world at some point, probably like around my 30th birthday. I’m hoping that they take the Skyrim experience and just make it perfect and make it beautiful with good graphics and give us good quest lines. I’m hoping the 20ish years of work they’re putting into this game is like going to pay off, giving everybody everything they want. You know, as wonderful of a game of Skyrim is, I think there’s a reason that so many people feel it necessary to mod it to hell and back, but you could also say the same about Stardew Valley. I guess I also can’t get super excited about that because, like I said, it’s not gonna be for a very, very long time off, but I’m looking forward to when we get to play it.
Where can our readers find you?
*The Stormcloaks are a rebellious faction in Skyrim the player can join who are known for their view that Skyrim belongs only to the Nords, one of the many ethnic groups present in the game.
**A ‘chaser’ is a person, usually a cis straight identifying man who seeks out transwomen, often with a mindset of transwomen being a fetish.