Ga Young ?Aphrodite? Kim of StarTale Aiming High and Shining Bright


Global Moderator
Mar 26, 2014
Ga Young Kim, aka Aphrodite, is definitely one of Korea?s top female StarCraft II players. Aspiring and amazingly talented, Aphrodite has won the hearts of many with her outstanding performance in ZOWIE DIVINA 2011, a female-only invitational tournament in China with a $10,000 prize pool. She later won the USA National ESL (Electronic Sports League) Iron Lady Champion Cup #6 and made history in the 2013 GSTL Preseason while having the very first all-female StarCraft II match on GOMTV.

In MSI?s exclusive interview with Aphrodite, we learn more about Aphrodite as a top-performing gamer. We also dive into topics like female-only tournaments and Korea, the Mecca of eSports. Enjoy the read!

Q: Tell us something about you that's not publicly known. What inspired your love for eSports? Any blood, sweat and tears behind your success?
A: My love for eSports sprouted in my 7th grade when I first came across StarCraft. I used to watch my uncle-in-law play StarCraft then. That very first encounter with StarCraft intrigued me and made me want to dig deeper and learn more. Later I watched and learned from my boyfriend RainBOw as he played StarCraft II and began to have a better understanding of the game. As I involved myself more deeply in competitive gaming, I started to have a lot of fans. Support and words of encouragement from my fans kept me going and helped make me who I am today. Special thanks to my fans, family and friends!
As for the efforts behind my success, I don?t actually practice as much as other players do. Instead, I concentrate on watching and analyzing other professional gamers? matches as a way to improve my gaming skills and strategize better in future tournaments. There are a lot of great pro-gamers out there. So I?m constantly learning and upgrading my skills to stay competitive in the gaming industry.

Q: Known as one of the top female StarCraft II players in Korea, have you ever thought of competing in MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) tournaments like League of Legends or DOTA 2?
A: I first came across DOTA 2 on an Internet TV program and I did spend a lot of time playing DOTA 2. As much as I enjoy playing DOTA2, I currently set my mind on StarCraft II and have some goals to accomplish. DOTA 2 is just a pastime to me. As far as LoL is concerned, I?ve never played it and probably never will.

Q: What has been the most memorable moment of your competitive career so far? Any regrets?
A: Well, the most recent 2014 MSI League is the most memorable for me. Up until this tournament, I used to think that no one came close to me since my win rate was ridiculously high as compared with other female gamers. After losing a set in the tournament, my thought process completely changed. It seemed like everyone else had been improving but me. The tournament definitely provided some valuable lessons. As far as regret is concerned, nothing major but I am sort of mad at myself for not being able to pick off a win against male competitors.

Q: How do you cope with career setbacks? Any tips to quickly recover from setbacks and get yourself ready for the next challenge?
A: When you are playing, there are days when things don?t go your way. When the day goes against me, I simply turn off StarCraft II and shift gears to DOTA 2 instead. I recommend gamers to step away from the game when things are not going smoothly. Go do something else to take your mind off your game. Engage in activities that you find enjoyable and refreshing to rejuvenate.

Q: In terms of gaming skills, what are your strengths and weaknesses? How do you manage to stay on top in a constantly evolving, professional gaming scene?
A: I believe that my understanding of the game is my strength. I know how to get the best result in every situation and I have a really good understanding of the game itself.
However, my multitasking still has some way to go. In terms of micro and macro skills, I am not on the same level as male gamers so I cover my weaknesses by being able to read into the individual game?s overall flow. In addition, I firmly believe that if I can improve in the micro aspect of the game, I should be able to achieve better results in the near future.

Q: Are there any professional gamers that you look up to as role models? What do you like about them?
A: That would have to be my ex-teammate Bomber. He is one of the few who gets results without following the meta. He is calm and plays well under pressure. He plays his own style and to me that looks very impressive.

Q: Have you thought about what the future holds after gaming? Would you consider being a gaming coach or would you work in a different field?
A: When the day comes when I am no longer competitive as a pro-gamer, I think I can be a good gaming coach since I consider myself to have a high level of game knowledge. With accumulated gaming experience and skills, I want to keep working in the eSports scene in whatever way I can to promote it.

Q: In the male-dominated gaming industry, only a small percentage of eSports competitors are females. Do you think female-only tournaments have the need to prevail and would help encourage female gamers to step up and compete in eSports?
A: There are not a lot of female-only tournaments and female pro-gamers out there but I feel it is important that they do exist. Undeniably, when it comes to prolonged gaming sessions, there are certainly physical constraints on females as compared with males. As a solution, female-only tournaments provide female gamers with sufficient opportunities to compete in eSports and offer them chances to accumulate tournament experience that they desperately need in order to improve and turn pro. With more female-only tournaments, more female gamers will be willing to step up, adding diversity to eSports.

Q: Korea is undoubtedly world?s number one in terms of eSports. As a renowned professional gamer from Korea, could you tell us what sets Korea apart from the rest of the gaming world?
A: Korea?s success in eSports is largely thanks to its early development of eSports-friendly environments and nationwide eSports promotion.
At an early stage, Korea started its massive public investment in fiber-optic cable networks throughout the country. The unmatched Internet infrastructure puts Korea at the forefront of eSports, with extra smooth online gameplay and regular broadcast content as well as televised and live streamed tournaments.
Nationwide promotion also works. TV studios are built near team houses to maximize gamers? practice time while effectively promoting competitive gaming through TV studios. As the competition heats up, more players join the game, resulting in tougher competition and better players than the rest of the gaming world.

Q: Of all MSI?s gaming devices, which ones do you like best and would like to recommend to other gamers?
A: I like MSI?s GS70 best. It?s my very first MSI laptop. I never knew a laptop could be so slim! Its portability amazes me and it runs high performance games pretty smoothly. I also like its big screen. For gamers, it is absolutely a perfect machine!