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Karissa The Destroyer: Gaming Community Reacts To Promotional Stunt Gone Astray

Nico Flicker |
November 17, 2014 | 8:56 p.m. PST

Staff Reporter

Karissa pictured before playing an opponent at the Gamestop promotion for Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U (Twitter/@NintendoNews)
Karissa pictured before playing an opponent at the Gamestop promotion for Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U (Twitter/@NintendoNews)
Karissa the Destroyer is the intimidating title given to a 10-year-old girl after videos posted on Facebook, and then YouTube, showed her thrashing opponents over twice her age in the unreleased Super Smash Bros. for Wii U on Nov. 8.

Karissa was filmed participating at a West Hollywood Gamestop location, which was holding a promotional event for the newest Smash game.

The public’s attention was drawn to the unusual nature of a young girl showing a knack for the unreleased game. However, the ensuing hype over Karissa the Destroyer would lead to the discovery that she was an actor in a prank gone wrong, leaving many gamers, specifically those in the Smash community disappointed and saddened. 

D’Ron Maingrette, known in the Smash community as “D1”, is a notable Smash commentator who was hired by Gamestop to emcee a Smash Wii U promo at one of their West Hollywood locations. D1 stated he, “had no prior knowledge about the Karissa prank until rehearsals."

A video soon appeared online that featured a young girl, referred to as Karissa, beating notable members of the Smash community, including D1. Multiple Internet outlets, including Reddit, went ablaze with comments of “new talent” with some referring to Karissa as a “prodigy." 

SEE ALSO: Super Smash Bros. Melee Is More Than A Game

Many people were impressed that a young girl was able to beat adults at a game that had not been released to the public for the Wii U system; therefore the young girl was showing an immense amount of natural ability, seemingly beyond a believable amount.

Part of the stunt’s downfall was that it was unbelievable, which led to people searching, and eventually unraveling the truth by finding a post for “ringers” which coincided with the Gamestop promotional event’s date and time. 

However, D1 also stated that the first video to be released featuring Karissa was by, “a person who attended the event, not Gamestop” and that “Gamestop’s video has yet to be released, yet people are clamoring."

D1 attributes the early release of the video to why the promotional stunt has been met with hostile reactions. “Usually pranks should be exposed the day of, but it seems there are plans to release the footage from the event later”. 

D1 has been met with hostility online over his involvement in regards to the joke because he is such a fixture in the competitive Smash community. D1 attributes much of the hostility to people believing he somehow was apart of the orchestration of the prank.

“People thought I knowingly flew in to LA, knowing that there was a prank that wouldn't be exposed, when this wasn't the case. The email I received was to hire me to emcee a Smash event. During rehearsals I was told that there were hired actors for an event, and I couldn't reveal anything as I was under a non-disclosure agreement,” he said.

D1 stated that, “I never in my life did anything that would put the [Smash] community in jeopardy, and all my actions have only increased the visibility of our scene." The increase in interest in the Smash scene is evidenced in the amount of stories, Reddit threads, and Youtube hits Karissa the Destroyer has accumulated in a short amount of time. D1 recently issued a statement during a stream, which you can view on YouTube

Although the negative reaction that came from the Karissa the Destroyer stunt was not intended, the outcome of the stunt was met with disappointment from some prominent voices of the female gaming community. One of those being Lilian “Milktea” Chen, a competitive Smash player and co-founder of The New Meta: Women in eSports Panel.

Milktea took to twitter after finding out about the stunt and voiced her initial disappointment because of the unintended consequences she foresaw the joke having. 

Other female gamers have also come forward, especially those involved in the Smash community, voicing similar opinions over the joke gone awry.

Lauren “PrettyWing” Elaine, a competitive Smash player, stated, “It was a bummer.  Although I had doubts about it, I still wanted someone outside of the typical notable smasher demographic to be recognized” when she found out Karissa was actually a paid actor. Stating that she believed “the joke was a little tasteless in my opinion, but it was supposed to be cute and I realize that no malicious intent was involved." 

Lauren “ChocoboLauren” Henry, also part of the competitive Smash scene, felt equally as disappointed because she “thought that a female had actually made strides in the community," but that she “was sad and unsurprised at the same time. It figured that a pretty good girl player would be a hoax.”

ChocoboLauren also stated that “I don't think those people were ill intentioned, but just because something wasn't meant to be offensive, doesn't mean it won't offend someone.” 

PrettyWing and ChocoboLauren both feel that the joke has had an impact, that may have not be intended, but nonetheless will affect competitive female gamers both young and old. 

PrettyWing’s frustration is that “At face value, a commercial or just a YouTube video of a little girl beating a bunch of grown men at a game they have been playing for a majority of their cognizant lives is sort of cute, funny, or whatever, but what wasn’t funny were the implications it caused for women and young people in the scene.  I don’t think the people who put it together were out to get us, they just didn’t think about the effect it would have on us” as a gaming community.

“A lot of us women [in the gaming community] work hard so that we are treated the same as equals. This was kind of a step back for us, in my honest opinion,” stated ChocoboLauren. “We have young people in our [gaming] scene, to see a young girl dominating in a tournament would be excellent! But to find out that girl is a fake? That's just disheartening.”

"[The joke] definitely started a discussion with the women in the Smash community," said PrettyWing. "I think more than ever, we now want to make our voices heard as well as be more involved in the competitive scene. This was a disappointment, but it won’t keep gamers down. It’s sad that we, women and young girls, thought we had representation, just to have it taken away. To have women or girls thinking, no woman would be good enough for this role, so we hired an actress, that’s the joke [is inappropriate] but I am confident that women and young people will continue to have an interest in Smash.” 

Contact Staff Reporter Nico Flicker here and follow her on Twitter here



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