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Girl gamer recruitment good reality TV?

Jennie Lees

Recruiting a new member for a sponsored girl gaming team can't be easy. When Eekers (one of Ubisoft's Frag Dolls) left the line-up last summer, a nationwide search for her replacement rolled into motion, requiring everything from a gaming CV to glamour shots. Months later, when all but the hopefuls have forgotten the empty space to be filled, the shortlisted candidates have been announced and the final selection procedure outlined.

All eight of the finalists will be flown to San Francisco to "join the existing Frag Dolls in a weekend of playing games and interviewing", a party that sounds like good fodder for frazzled nerves -- especially when you add in the filming. For this is no ordinary interview -- instead, the whole thing will be covered by Internet TV site GameTrailers, providing a reality TV glimpse into the mysterious world of girl gamers.

Is it good TV? The Frag Dolls are certainly gaming celebrities in their own right, and all of the ladies lined up to compete for the job look genuine enough. We've the fortune to have met and played with some of them, and their skills aren't in doubt -- but being under the microscope of a camera the whole time is enough to make anyone's controller hands clammy. However, it's just preparation for life in the spotlight as a Frag Doll; Ubisoft will be able to see how the girls react to the pressure, and (more importantly) how the audience reacts to the girls.

Publicising the recruitment is an interesting way for all eight finalists to gain exposure before the final selection takes place, meaning that recruiters can get feedback from gamers on the individuals in question before they're hired. It exemplifies a lot of what is good and bad about the Frag Dolls; their focus on looks and limelight, which gets them as much bad press as good, along with their hardcore gaming skills. Whether Ubisoft will repeat the reality TV idea elsewhere -- one of the UK Dolls left after just four months -- will probably rest on the success of this experiment.

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