'Video Games: The Movie' actress Alison Haislip talks about what makes a gamer

With the ubiquity of smartphones, people from hardcore “World of Warcraft”-ers to grandmas are dabbling in games such as “Candy Crush” or “Words with Friends.”

If everyone is swiping and clicking away, how do you tell a gamer from a hobbyist?

To find out, we spoke to actress Alison Haislip, featured in “Video Games: The Movie,” a feature-length documentary released July 18.

“I think a gamer is anyone who feels somewhat addicted to any kind of game they’re playing,” Haislip said.

“What makes a gamer is the unwillingness to put the game down. Whether it’s ‘Candy Crush’ or ‘Titanfall,’ it all falls into the same category.”

Haislip cleared up a few other points and discussed “Video Games: The Movie” in an interview.

How did you come to be involved with “Video Games: The Movie”?

Jeremy (Snead, director) contacted me through something- maybe a DM on Twitter or something like that- but random. It was an “I almost didn’t even look at it” type of outlet- and I read it over, and it said, “I’ve already talked to Chris Hardwick and Will Wheaton.”

And I was like, oh, I”m really glad I checked that.

Were you a “gamer” growing up?

OH yeah. My parents had an Atari and as soon as I was old enough to move a joystick and press a big orange button, I was on it.

Here’s a funny story: I always played it on the black-and-white TV in my parents’ basement, and then one time I begged my parents to take the Atari to my grandmother’s house.

My mind was blown when all of a sudden everything was in color, because she had a better TV.

How do you think mobile platforms (phones and tablets) are changing the gaming experience and industry?

They are making it way more accessible to anyone. People who wouldn’t buy a standalone system are all of a sudden finding sweet little indie games and playing them.

Do you think video games are as big as TV and movies? Do you think they’re similar? Different?

Video games have practically become movies themselves- instead of 2 1/2 hours, its an 80 hour movie that you get to take a part in.

I think the amazing thing about video games is that they are this sort of all-in-one entertainment- reading, interacting, music.

What do you think of Oculus Rift? How do you think virtual reality will play into the future of gaming?

I have friends that have a beta. It’s a trip. The thing it’s most beneficial for is if you like horror games-  I don’t like horror games, but it is ideal for that. Instead of blood hitting a screen eight feet in front of you, it is literally hitting you in the face.

What you don’t realize until it actually happens is that when you shoot someone, the blood is on you. its literally in your face- its way more intense.

It’s going to take our brains, collectively, a minute to adjust over to that. Kids 30 years from now will be used to it, like young kids and touch screens now.

Do you think gaming has lost some of its stigma- are gamers the new popular kids?

It has become generally popular - it has become part of mainstream culture. You can be nerdy. “World of Warcraft” and “League of Legends” players are the most hardcore.

Do you think the gaming industry is male-centric?

Not anymore, but it used to be. The term “girl gamer” makes me cringe.  Guys and girls might play different kinds of games. There’s not much of a difference.

Do you believe that video games make young people more prone to violence?

Oh god no.

That whole argument, we feel the need to find something to blame so you don’t feel so helpless. If video games are the cause - then in other countries that play the same video games - why don’t they have the same level of violence? I don’t get it. We touch on that topic in the movie.

Anything to add?
I’m happy with how accessible “Video Games” is. I think it’s something that gamers and non-gamers will enjoy.

About “Video Games: The Movie”:
From executive producer Zach Braff is a feature-length documentary chronicling the meteoric rise of video games from nerd niche to multi-billion dollar industry. Featuring in-depth interviews with the godfathers who started it all, the icons of game design, and the geek gurus who are leading us into the future, and narrated by  Sean Astin, “Video Games: The Movie” is a celebration of gaming from Atari to Xbox, and an eye-opening look at what lies ahead.

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