Student finalist in video cheerleader competition

For the past 20 years the world’s youths have gone through their fair share of fads. Perhaps the most prolific of these is the of the video game industry.

In the mid 1980s, Pac-Man “fever” spread around the globe like the plague. By the time the ’80s ended Atari was no longer alone in the industry. Nintendo and Sega were also on the market with better graphics, faster speeds and wider game selections thus making an industry that started out as simple “money-maker” into a multi-billion dollar industry.

Today we have game systems with graphics that are literally akin to virtual reality. Characters in video games are no longer solely the animated figments of the creator’s imagination, but are in fact actual individuals who have been chosen and hired by video game companies to participate as models and actors. Sporting team games are clearly the best example due to the real athletes the game is designed around. The likeness between the real life athletes and cheerleaders and virtual ones are far and few.

To appreciate this fact, one has to go no further than our SHSU campus where junior Amanda Gilbert, of Tomball, is in the finals to become one of Midway Games Slugfest 2004 cheerleaders.

Midway Games held its first ever Midway Sports Nationwide Cheerleader Search in West Palm Beach, Fla. this past month. From a field of thousands to the semi-finalists of 24, the final five have been selected, of which remains a lone Bearkat, one Amanda Gilbert.

After hearing about the contest via a friend who works for a game magazine, Amanda put together her entry package including two swimsuit photos, one video of herself and one essay on “why you are a person of moral character?” Gilbert sent her entry overnight mail, barely meeting the deadline. To her surprise, she had made the semifinals and soon thereafter learned she was in the finals.

Each judge was looking for; personality, photogenic quality and overall style. The winner of the contest will receive $5,000 cash, a calendar photo shoot and of course one complimentary Slugfest 2004 video game.

Gilbert said when it comes to video games she prefers the classics.

“I like them a little bit,” she said. “I like the older traditional games like Super Mario Bros. But If I win I’ll buy one (game system).”

Midway’s Slugfest 2004’s claim to fame is that they are the only video game that uses real women as models for their cheerleaders. This marketing strategy furthers the experience as true to life while allowing players to enjoy the comforts of their own living room.

Gilbert said she hopes that as well as with the prestige of winning the competition and becoming a video cheerleader, she will be able to use her winnings to help support herself while finishing school and helping out her family with medical bills.

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