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When this year's E3 conference was officially cancelled in early March, the video gaming industry immediately rushed to work out how it could best showcase its new wares - new consoles, new games, new tat for us all to get excited about.
But E3's defeat to the hands of the coronavirus pandemic that's gripped the world wasn't without warning. We all assumed it was going to happen, but one Twitter user claimed to have inside information that it was definitely canned, ahead of any formal statement. And that person was also a sex worker - a cam girl, adult toy marketeer and PornHub producer, who we won't name here for obvious reasons. She announced that E3 was not going to happen on March 5, six whole days before its cancellation was confirmed.
On the account @HotGirlVideos69, she has not only given games journos and players alike the heads-up on E3 not happening in 2020, but she also revealed when March's long-awaited Nintendo Direct was happening (that was the 26th, in case you missed it). And she's more in store, she says - on Nintendo happenings especially, so long as senior management at the company don't intervene, which she tweets they're trying to.
We spoke to the Philadelphia-based, ahem, HotGirlVideos69 about her new role as a leading leaker of games information, her other business during this time of lockdown, and a gaming project of her own that she's working on.
So going from adult entertainment to a high-profile games news leaker is quite the career switch - but would you call yourself a keen gamer before all this happened?
Yes, I would consider myself very into gaming. I grew up in middle America playing a myriad of text-based games and old shareware PC games, but these I had to hide from my parents. When I was very young we had an Atari 2600, but my parents were extremely religious, so when I got a NES the only game I was allowed to play was Exodus: Journey to the Promised Land, a Wisdom Tree-made Bible game that was similar to Boulder Dash. I still absolutely love it.
After that I got a free copy of Wolfenstein, and two free text adventure games made by former UK video game developer turned Network Security guru Graham Cluley - they were Humbug and Jacaranda Jim. I was a very nerdy little thing.
These PC text games really sparked my interest in storytelling and writing, and have really inspired all of the art I have made throughout my life. I still highly recommend them, albeit as a young Midwestern American I found their British slang pretty hard to follow occasionally, haha...
So far you've leaked, pretty successfully, both E3's cancellation and the arrival of a Nintendo Direct. When you got hold of this information, what made you think: the thing to do now is to put it out there, to pique gamers' attentions?
I was bored, honestly, and I wanted to start combining my Adult Industry life with my gaming life. When I realised I had ready sources of information, I was like, "Oh, other people would want to hear about this, too." And I chimed in. And the rest is history, I guess.
How confident are you feeling right now about us seeing a new Metroid and more of the Breath of the Wild sequel in a June Nintendo Direct?
I'm fairly confident we will see something about this, at least before July. This patron of my services is a very honest person, and he seems like he is actually as involved in decision making as he claims. He is a recognisable person within the industry. I must say the world not knowing who my Johns are, but knowing the details of things to come, is kind of a thrilling prospect for them at this point as well.
What sort of a thrill - if thrill is the right word - do you feel when you see gaming sites report on your leaks? And, of course, when what you've heard comes to pass?
It's less of a thrill and more of a "Thank you for believing me." It's good to have people respect that you're not bullsh*tting. It's been fun so far.
You've got this information from clients - but have those clients come back again since, albeit with lips rather more sealed? Have they tried to stop you leaking anything?
No, their lips are looser if anything! The ability to ironically confidentially break a confidentiality agreement is actually rewarding for them. They can talk shop about work without having to worry it will come back to them, and with someone who is there only to help them feel good. They've started to get very into this concept.
Roughly how many clients do you have right now from the games industry? Can you say if you've any who work elsewhere, for any other major companies or publishers?
Games industry, I'm not sure exactly, but it's fluctuating probably between 25-40% (of my clients) right now. I have a client in almost every major console company outside of Stadia, but I do have a couple boys at Google who work on other projects.
I have a few guys in indie studios, also devs, and a bunch of random high-up execs, some of which have contacted me since the first story broke. At first I was worried they were just contacting me to try and get dirt. When the Nintendo thing happened, a few Nintendo people contacted me and it seemed very much like they were just doing detective work to try and get information on who was leaking things. I'm avoiding taking on any new clients now, as I am not sure it's safe at this point.
Beyond the potential June 'E3' Direct reveals, is there any other gaming news you're sitting on right now that you're likely to share soon, or would like to through us? Which is to say: what do you know of Snatcher coming to Switch? Sorry, that's personal wish-list stuff, there.
I wish I had info on Snatcher coming to Switch! Bundle it with Policenauts, please! Outside of that, I'm not sure when I can give a full leak, but Nintendo is working on a piece of hardware, I've been told. You can probably guess what it is, but I'm not sure how close to approval for production it is so I cannot really say anything outside of that until I know for sure it will come true.
If you could will any game of the past onto Switch right now, what would it be?
Chibi f*cking Robo. Give me Chibi-Robo! remastered. PLEASE.
In terms of the other work you do, how is the global lockdown affecting things? Is business up? Could it be better? Have you mixed gaming with cam girl work at all, somehow? Anyone ever asked you to, like, play a game at the same time or something?
Business is booming. It's unbelievably busy and it's becoming hard to find time for gaming! And I've definitely played games during sessions and videos before.
You've mentioned a video gaming project you have on the go - can you tell us anything about that? And when it comes to switching your Twitter account to one fully dedicated to gaming, do you not worry about losing followers?
I'm not worried - this is a throwaway account that just happened to be the one I used for my leaks, and now I'm going to run with it. Hopefully it grows!
Project wise, I'm working on an interactive fiction game right now, which is something I've wanted to do for a long time. Not exactly a text adventure, but close. Also, I'm working with a collective out of Pennsylvania that creates ARGs and puzzle games, and they're having me partner up with them on an online mystery that will be coming up at some point in 2021.
That sounds great. What's less great, though, is Days Gone. You tweeted that the game sucks - and I have to agree. So what is with all these people in our comments who reckon it should have been GOTY 2019?
Days Gone is one of the most disappointing gaming experiences I have had. Its boring, back-and-forth missions were forgettable at best, and its bad 'shock value' violence with little baby zombies was yawntastic.
Cheers to HotGirlVideos69 for taking the time to speak with us. You can follow her now-very-gaming-centric Twitter account here. Days Gone sucks: confirmed.
Featured Image Credit: Nintendo
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