“Excuse me for just a moment,” IGN host Naomi Kyle says minutes after we sit down at a table in the lounge of the Hilton Anaheim for our scheduled interview. Just outside the hotel doors, WonderCon — the sister convention to geekdom’s high holy event Comic-Con International — is in full swing, and a small group of fans who have wandered into the lobby are excitedly miming their desire to take selfies with her. Among them is a young girl who appears to be no older than 10; a beaming smile is splashed across her face.
Kyle patiently interacts with each fan, taking extra care with the young girl, asking her many questions about her favorite video games and all the different characters she loves to play before posing for pictures. Minutes later, as we resume our interview, the 5-foot-6 blond who has become one of the most recognizable faces of the video game industry as one of its original gamer girls shares how playing a video game changed her life.
“I still remember the first time I played Lara Croft in Tomb Raider,” she begins, looking back over her shoulder at the young girl with whom she snapped selfies just seconds earlier. “I was 12 years old, and the fact that I could play as a kick-ass female who lived in a mansion, had a butler, and could do all these acrobatics — it really empowered me and made me feel like I could be that sort of action hero. That’s when I knew video games were going to be a big part of my life.”
Today, Kyle says she’s proud to be a pioneer in the heterosexual male–dominated realm of video games as a host and producer for IGN, one of the gaming industry’s biggest news and entertainment outlets…”