Today was a good day. I got home from work, popped open a beer, and sat down to kill zombies in the Xbox game Left 4 Dead with my new friend Alison Haislip, host, interviewer, and badass of G4’s Attack of the Show! We decided to do an interview while buckshotting zombie brains all over each other in the deserted farmland of the Blood Harvest level. I was in New York and Alison was in LA, but thanks to Xbox Live, petty details like that don’t matter. It should be noted that a) Alison fucking wails on this game and saved me at least a dozen times, and b) during the interview the zombies wouldn’t leave us alone! We were constantly shouting out to each other about Smokers, Tanks Hunters, Hordes, and Witches, some of the super-zombies in the game. But you knew that.
Vice: It’s just the two of us. The other players are NPCs [non-playable characters], right? I forgot how freaky this is. Oops, I just shot you.
Alison: Thanks, buddy.
I didn’t mean to!
I got the gas can.
Do we need that?
Well, we don’t know what’s coming up. There’s a pipe bomb over there if you want to get it.
I love the reality of this game where there’s just pipe bombs everywhere.
Yeah, and there’s ammo.
Do you prefer the shotgun? I see you’re carrying the shotgun.
Well, I prefer the automatic, but we haven’t found that one yet. That would be my weapon of choice.
What about if it were really you killing zombies in the real world?
If there really were zombies, I would probably prefer the automatic, just because if there were an actual zombie apocalypse, I would want to go out with guns blazing.
On G4 you play with gadgets and you look at cars and everything, do you have any experience with guns?
One of the most popular videos on the G4 website right now is my visit to Oklahoma. I was visiting the Gun Apocalypse. They do this crazy thing on a hillside in middle-of-nowhere Oklahoma. You shoot all these guns into a car and then later on you blow it up.
Cool! Of course that’s in Oklahoma.
It’s awesome. I think I’m going again this year. I’m really excited about it. I think we have to go over where that car is…
Over the fence? Yeah, I think we go…
Wait, I’m dying, hold on. OK, here we go. Wait, maybe not, because you just fell off the edge.
I am doing nothing right today. Don’t we go down the hill here?
[Alison head-shots a zombie.]
You really sound like somebody I want with me in the zombie apocalypse. You’ve got a lot of experience.
Well, in this game, I guess. I have more experience in the zombie apocalypse than most, I would say.
Is there somebody in the real world that, even if they were a zombie attacking you, you couldn’t kill?
Probably my mother. I know they touch on that in Shaun of the Dead.
It’s not easy to kill your own mother, but you have to get past that in order to be a zombie killer. You’d kill me, right?
Oh, hell yeah. If you were a zombie, forget it. Oh look, I killed 13 more zombies than you.
[We go on to the next level.]
Are you with me?
Yeah, I’m right behind you. Now, you prefer the Xbox, right? It’s your favorite console?
Yeah, the PlayStation is a gorgeous console, and it’s probably as advanced as you could get, but it just doesn’t have enough games on it. Oh, I got a Smoker on me.
Thanks. I think we need to go out the windows here. Are you on the ground?
[I die and blow the level.]
Wow, you are a total superhero on this.
See, this is where I could use the automatic shotgun.
When you’re at G4 and you’re interviewing game and entertainment people, do you ever encounter something that sucks and you have to pretend it’s good?
I do run into that when I have to see a movie and it’s horrible and I have to go in the next day and interview the actors, and oh crap, I just fell down.
Can you name names and tell us something that sucked?
You know we’re not paid to give our opinions on the show. I mean we do bust them out anyway but you can’t just say, “Hugh Jackman, your movie sucks.” Oh, I got a zombie on me.
Oh no, oh NONONONONONO. [huge attack of zombies]
It’s OK, we got them. Anyways, I’ve seen plenty of horrible movies. Oh, there’s a witch. Should we go in the room?
I think we have to go in the room and go upstairs.
There’s a Horde coming from somewhere.
Here they come! Anyway, is there a job that is somehow cooler than yours? Because you have the coolest job.
I know that I have one of the coolest jobs on the face of the planet. I have a job where 98 percent of the time when I tell someone what I do, they say, “You have the coolest job in the world.” You can’t take that for granted. That’s amazing. Not many people get to say that.
Is there anybody that you envy? Your job is cool, but do you ever want to have, say, Obama’s job?
I would not want to be Obama, he has enough stuff to deal with.
Do you think Obama could kill zombies?
Hell yeah, are you kidding me? Obama could kill zombies. If he can deal with our country the way it is, he can deal with the zombie apocalypse.
So, why LA? Is the entire gaming universe in LA?
Well, I—hold on, I’m saving you. LA is the capital of the entertainment world, and these games are entertainment so of course we’re going to be there! [I die again.] Got to take some pain pills. Anyway, you know how big the market is right now for movies based on video games? The video-game industry is the only industry right now that has a future during our time of economic downfall. They’re the biggest thing now. Oh my God, Tank Tank Tank. [I die again. This time Alison dies as well.]
You do your weekly video updates on your blog. How much does that invade your privacy?
I don’t do the crazy stuff like walk around with a camera attached to my backpack. I think it’s interesting that people do that, but I just don’t know if my life is interesting enough to do that!
Does it get LiveJournal-ish? Where everything you do is taped or recorded?
Everything interesting on the show is recorded, but I don’t incorporate that into my personal life. I make it a point to keep my personal life personal. I don’t put my dating life out there or anything like that.
About that: You’re known as a personality on television and the web, with a great sense of humor and a lot of fans, but you’ve also got a rep as being a babe. How do you deal with that?
It’s definitely interesting to me. Wow, there’s a Witch around here somewhere. Ooh! The auto-shotgun! Now my life is complete. It’s incredibly flattering that people find me attractive. It’s definitely been different for me. I would never have considered myself that in high school at all. I didn’t think I would have a job like this. I was a total geek growing up, I played video games all the time with my brother. It was the only thing we could do together without fighting. I loved Star Trek and Star Wars and Lord of the Rings and all this stuff, I completely embraced that. And then I went to college and I sort of started to be an…adult? Or tried to live like an adult. And all of a sudden I get this job at G4, and I get paid to be a geek. It’s not like I was this hot bitch who was trying to be into all kinds of guy stuff.
But there are your fans who are fans of your work, and then your fans who have your picture on their wall.
That’s part of the gig. I got the job because I love what I love, and because I look how I look, you know? One of the biggest reasons for hiring me was because I was a blonde and they didn’t have a blonde on the network! It’s still television. How you look still matters.
But newscasters and interviewers, there’s not that babe aspect to their jobs, but there is with gaming.
Video games are primarily played by guys between the ages of 13 and 30. And guys of that age also love hot chicks.
Would you ever date a fan?
I’d date whoever I want to date. I wouldn’t say no to that.
You’re going to make a lot of people happy with that.
Oh God, there’s a Tank. He just threw something at me.
He’s on fire. I’m on fire. Well what about this: You’re an attractive blonde girl in the world of gaming. Have you ever felt excluded?
I’ve been lucky enough to make some really great friends who work in this industry. I’ve had some experiences on Live, which is why I only play with people I know. There are too many people who are willing to just rip you apart. I’ve never had a problem with it in my job. I do get a bit of speculation.
What kind of speculation?
Well, I have people who test me, who don’t believe me. And then I get on here and I play Left 4 Dead and I kick their asses, then it’s all good.
And again you killed more people than me. Twice the people. Do you think you could work with other people on a zombie-killing squad like this? Or are you too much of a lone wolf?
Hang on, I’m loading my gun. Look, my mom has a doctorate in mathematics. Math is like my second language. Strategy and planning are second nature to me. We used to get together with the kids on our block in the summer and play capture the flag, and my favorite thing to was to get 15 kids together and plot out how we were going to take out the other team. Oh God, over there—
Yeah, shit, I see it.
You’re a dead zombie, Tank.
It feels good killing a zombie doesn’t it?
Yeah, it really does. You know people give video games a lot of crap: “Oh, they’re so addictive.” “Oh, children aren’t learning anything.” Kids are learning plenty out of video games. They’re creative and they give you an imagination. There was a recent thing in the news that was saying 8.5 percent of children or something were addicted to video games. I’m sure 8.5 percent of everybody are addicted to something. It’s not the video game’s fault. That’s like saying you’re an alcoholic because of the alcohol.
[I die yet again.]
Is there a Molotov over there? I like Molotovs better than pipe bombs.
It’s more fun to set somebody on fire.
Horde’s coming. The music changes and you know.
Oh, here we go—
Die, zombie, die.
Which way do we go?
I don’t remember how this level ends…
Yeah, me neither. Oh shit, I have a Hunter and a Smoker on me.
Yeah, I see you, we’re coming up.
I am on the ground.
[I save her for once.]
Hey, I’m on fire, what’s that all about?
I shot a propane tank, I’m not going to lie to you.
I was standing next to it.
So was I.
[We both die.]