A few months ago I did a story on the Miss Video Game pageant, and at the time I backed the competition and even entered as a contestant. After three months of being a part of the contest, exchanging e-mails with the people running it, and even reading information about the contest from other sources, I've decided to remove myself from the competition completely.
I admit that in the beginning I liked the idea of the contest: female gamers from all over the world competing in an online gaming tournament and pageant to become a representative of the female gaming community. However, after being involved in the farce and possible scam that is the Miss Video Game pageant, I can no longer be a part of it, nor stand behind it.
From day one, the whole thing has been run unprofessionally and has failed to impress anyone but those too dazzled by the whole idea of winning the chance to be in the public eye. I too was suckered in by the whole idea, but after seeing how many people were questioning the contest's legal specifics, along with the downright suspicious manner in which they were running things, I realized that there was something truly wrong with the pageant. Read on for the full story behind the potentially harmful competition.
When the contest first started, the mission statement and front page claimed the contest was a female gaming competition that wanted to showcase female gamers and their talent and to ultimately find a female gamer to be a role model and spokesperson for the gaming industry.
However, they also mentioned in the mission statement and in the original front page that the women signing up didn't have to play video games. The official rules stated that anyone who has played ANY electronic game can sign up. So which is it -- do you want gamer girls or not?
How can you have a contest to find a female gamer spokesperson, but not require them to play video games? The people at Miss Video Game claim that they didn't put gaming skills as a requirement for entry, because they didn't want anyone to feel like they couldn't compete if they weren't gamers but wanted to learn about gaming.
As a gamer I like to see new gamers join our community, but how can you expect a new gamer to represent a community they have only been a part of for a few days? If this contest was about finding a suitable role model for young gamers, then I'm afraid and offended by what some of these contestants are going to teach the future gamers of the world. Some contestants are posting pictures of themselves in lingerie or less, cheating on their view counts, and swearing in their profiles.
Congratulations on setting such wonderful standards for your ideal role model. The rules of MVG even state that any pictures containing nudity or sexual lewdness would be removed, yet any of the pictures that are sexual have not been removed. Exactly what does the company behind MVG consider lewd? I've seen profiles of girls in their lingerie, posing naked but slightly covered by an object, and even one that had their main profile picture as simply just her cleavage. No head shot, just boobs in a bikini.
Getting into the legal issues of Miss Video Game, you find that no one was required to sign any agreements with the company when they entered. Normally when you enter a contest with any company that will possibly end with the contestant either winning a vacation or having their image used for their product or service, the company makes you look over a set of rules and legalities, and then has you sign or check the little box saying you understand all the above stipulations mentioned, and agree to them.
MVG had nothing like that before we entered the contest and even the contest rules weren't posted until maybe a month afterwards. When the contest first started, there was a note posted above the application page that stated all entries had to be 18 years and older, but profiles for girls younger than 18 were popping up on the site and not being removed.
MVG decided to change their rules and allow for younger entries as long as they had their guardians approval for flying to
When the contest first began a judge application box on the Web site was originally used for anyone to apply to judge the final contest in
Scrutinizing over the company behind MVG, Miss Video Game Inc., you would find that they weren't even listed on the site at first, until Trina and I from Gaming Angels started looking around for their registered business, which we couldn't find. Of course they weren't registered with something like the Better Business Bureau either.
The only information on the site was a
In a recent interview Mark Donavon, MVG owner, claimed that the online gaming portion of the contest will be handled by a company from Alberta Canada called Titan Gaming, which also has no information that could be found. I did manage to find the "future website" of Titan Gaming, but there's nothing about the company and no mention of the MVG. Also, when I tried to email the company to find out further information, the email address came back nonexistent.
MVG Inc. owner Mark Donovan claims he created MVG to give back to the gaming community, since he has long enjoyed gaming himself. That's a nice gesture, but Mark refuses to let people know how he can afford to put on this pageant.
He claims that MVG is backed by a privately owned company that wishes to remain anonymous. He has also claimed that the pageant is so well funded that they don't even need to actively pursue sponsors to hold the event, yet they still have a spot on the official Web site for sponsors to sign up. Of course, if there are any sponsors at this point, I don't know, because only one sponsor appeared briefly on the site, and was then removed. Why any company would want to sponsor an event that won't even post them on their site for advertising purposes is beyond me.
Every event like this must have some sort of profit motive; the ending goal is to make money off it through sales, advertising, or exposure. Even when a company holds a charity event, they are still advertising their own company and the sponsors involved in it. I don't see any reason why MVG Inc. would wait to promote their sponsors until the actual event, when they have so much traffic going to their site right now for voting. I'd love to know how exactly MVG Inc. is making any profit from this pageant so far. The only thing they were selling was MVG clothing in their Café Press store that was only on the site for a month and then removed.
The whole MVG Web site itself was a mess right from the beginning with the spelling and grammar mistakes, bad links, and horrible load times. For two months it took forever to load and often didn't at all. Finally, three days into the voting, they changed servers and improved things. The voting process requires voters to enter an email address, but on the first day of voting, this feature wasn't working.
Also, when the field was fixed, you had to verify your vote by clicking a link in an email that came to your inbox. This was not stated in the email or on the voting page, and most people probably deleted the email, because it was written like an offer to vote in the pageant, instead of a letter asking for verification to submit the vote. How many votes were lost because they weren't clear on the requirements to vote? Many contestants had to redo their profile a few times due to Web site glitches.
The site also made profile changes that included new questions and more room for pictures. Further into the contest, they then added the option for Web-cam videos that only allowed for a quick three minute video, which seemed unfair because they promised we would be able to post normal videos on the site to help promote ourselves. For those three minutes they stated they wanted us to answer the same profile questions we did on the site instead of actually using the videos to creatively showcase our personalities in a way that would make us stand out.
The reason for that was because they didn't want any lewd material popping up in the videos, or anyone promoting any other businesses, etc. Guarding against lewd videos they'll do, but not lewd profile pictures.
Miss Video Game may just be new at doing all of this, and learning along the way, but honestly with all these mistakes and lack of a credible sponsor backing them, I cannot in good faith promote or be involved with such an event or company.
How could anyone be willing to jump on a plane to
All that I ask of the contestants still involved in the competition is that you keep all these points in mind, and be sure to take care and protect yourselves, because sometimes if something doesn't feel right, it usually isn't.
Contests Official RulesNo Purchase Required to Enter or Win
1. Eligibility: Destructoid.com contests are usually provided by sponsors who, due to customs and shipping costs (yay budgets), often limit participation to individuals who are legal residents of the fifty (50) United States (unless otherwise stated) and are at least 12 years of age. We encourage our overseas friends to be super sneaky and make a friend in the United States who can receive your prize, and then you two figure out the customs/logistics. Be cautious about who you trust, obviously. Employees of destructoid.com, their advertising or promotion agencies, those involved in the production, development, implementation or handling of Contests, any agents acting for, or on behalf of the above entities, their respective parent companies, officers, directors, subsidiaries, affiliates, licensees, service providers, prize suppliers any other person or entity associated with the Contests (collectively “Contest Entities”) and/or the immediate family (spouse, parents, siblings and children) and household members (whether related or not) of each such employee, are *not* eligible and will be fired and publicly beaten if are caught participating. All U.S., federal, state and local and regulations apply.
2. Agreement to Official Rules: Participation in the Contest constitutes entrant’s full and unconditional agreement to and acceptance of these Official Rules and the decisions of the Sponsor, which are final and binding. Winning a prize is contingent upon fulfilling all requirements set forth herein.
3. Entry Period: The start and end dates/times of each Contest (the “Entry Period”) will be posted on the applicable Contest site.
4. Entry: To enter a Contest, follow the instructions on the Contest site. Submission will result in one (1) entry. The number of times you can enter the Contest will be posted on the applicable Contest site. The use of any agencies or automated software to submit entries will void all entries submitted by that person.
5. Drawing: Unless otherwise specified in the contest details above, we will select the names of the potential winners in a random drawing of all eligible entries received during each Entry Period. The number of winners to be selected in a specific Contest will be posted on the applicable Contest site. The odds of being selected as a potential winner depend on the number of eligible entries received during the Entry Period. Potential winners will be contacted via email and will be asked to provide their full name, age and mailing address within a specified time period. If a potential winner does not respond within the timeframe stated in the notification email, we may select an alternate potential winner in his/her place at random from all entries received during the Entry Period. Limit one (1) prize per household per Contest.
6. Requirements of the Potential Winners: Winners will be notified by the e-mail address associated with their account on destructoid.com.com and/or receive a Private Message on destructoid.com.com or through a Twitter Direct Message/Facebook message. Winners have five (5) days from the original message alerting them of their winnings to respond and claim their prize. If no winner comes forward within five business days, the prize will be forfeited and raffled again where Destructoid's hardcore fans are most active (forums/community blogs/facebook group).
7. Prize(s): The prize(s) (including each prize’s approximate retail value) available to be won in a specific Contest will be posted on the Contest site. No cash or other substitution may be made, except by the Sponsor, who reserves the right to substitute a prize with another prize of equal or greater value if the prize is not available for any reason as determined by the Sponsor in its sole discretion. The winners are responsible for any taxes and fees associated with receipt or use of a prize. Prizes will be mailed between 1 to 45 business days after winners have replied with their required info.
8. General Conditions: In the event that the operation, security, or administration of the Contest is impaired in any way for any reason, including, but not limited to fraud, virus, or other technical problem, the Sponsor may, in its sole discretion, either: (a) suspend the Contest to address the impairment and then resume the Contest in a manner that best conforms to the spirit of these Official Rules; or (b) award the prizes at random from among the eligible entries received up to the time of the impairment. The Sponsor reserves the right in its sole discretion to disqualify any individual it finds to be tampering with the entry process or the operation of the Contest or to be acting in violation of these Official Rules or in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner. Any attempt by any person to undermine the legitimate operation of the Contest may be a violation of criminal and civil law, and, should such an attempt be made, the Sponsor reserves the right to seek damages from any such person to the fullest extent permitted by law. The Sponsor’s failure to enforce any term of these Official Rules shall not constitute a waiver of that provision. In case of a dispute as to the owner of an entry, entry will be deemed to have been submitted by the authorized account holder of the screen name from which the entry is made. The authorized account holder is defined as the natural person who is assigned to an e-mail address by an Internet access provider, online service provider, or other organization responsible for assigning e-mail addresses for the domain associated with the submitted e-mail address.
9.Release and Limitations of Liability: By participating in the Contest, entrants agree to release and hold harmless the Contest Entities from and against any claim or cause of action arising out of participation in the Contest or receipt or use of any prize, including, but not limited to: (a) unauthorized human intervention in the Contest; (b) technical errors related to computers, servers, providers, or telephone or network lines; © printing errors; (d) lost, late, postage-due, misdirected, or undeliverable mail; (e) errors in the administration of the Contest or the processing of entries; or (f) injury or damage to persons or property which may be caused, directly or indirectly, in whole or in part, from entrant’s participation in the Contest or receipt of any prize. Entrant further agrees that in any cause of action, the Contest Entities’ liability will be limited to the cost of entering and participating in the Contest, and in no event shall the Contest Entities be liable for attorney’s fees. Entrant waives the right to claim any damages whatsoever, including, but not limited to, punitive, consequential, direct, or indirect damages.
10. Disputes: Except where prohibited, entrant agrees that any and all disputes, claims and causes of action arising out of, or connected with, the Contest or any prize awarded shall be resolved individually, without resort to any form of class action. All issues and questions concerning the construction, validity, interpretation and enforceability of these Official Rules, entrant’s rights and obligations, or the rights and obligations of the Sponsors in connection with the Contest, shall be governed by, and construed in accordance with, the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia, without giving effect to any choice of law or conflict of law rules (whether of the Commonwealth of Virginia or any other jurisdiction), which would cause the application of the laws of any jurisdiction other than the Commonwealth of Virginia.
11. Contest Results: To enter the contest without needing to buy/sell anything or request a written copy of the name of the winners, send a self-addressed stamped envelope (stating the specific Contest you are requesting the winners for) to destructoid.com Contest Winners 580 Market Street #59757 San Francisco CA 94104. We run many contests, so please be specific in what you are requesting. Winner requests must be received within thirty (30) days from the end date of the applicable contest (they're always posted on our site though). Winners are usually posted the day following the contest on our contest section.
Lastly, Destructoid has the right to kick your ass and take away your prize if you are a total chode, so be cool and don't kick any puppies on your way to victory. Have fun with our contests and be a good sport when you win or lose. Remember: First you get the power, then you get the money, then get the baby.