At a young age, Wanda Hu played almost everything from DOS games to simple handheld ones like Tetris, and arcade games like Tekken and Puzzle Bubble. She’s still a huge gamer now — and also the Head of Division for Singaporean gaming gear brand, Armaggeddon. “Then in my teens I went pretty hard core on a few key titles which really influenced Armaggeddon. The Red Alert, C&C series of games is where I grew a love for Real Time Strategy games,” she says.
With her family’s business in IT peripherals, owning other home-grown IT brands like SonicGear, PowerLogic, and Elysium, it would seem like Wanda’s career path was mapped out for her.
“I was always working part-time, with my family’s company and also doing all kinds of odd jobs like waitressing, tutoring, doing sales and marketing. It being a family business, meant that I didn’t get paid much, so other odd jobs were necessary so I could fund my studies, books and gaming,” she tells us.
It was in university, when she started getting into Blizzard games like World of Warcraft (WOW) and Diablo — and also the time when she was struggling the most financially — that she felt compelled to create affordable gaming gear.
When Wanda finally graduated, she pitched to the management to create a gaming brand and sold to the company the idea of offering affordable gaming gear. She explained, “Even then, it did take a lot of research and effort to finally develop some of our first products and we are still continuously improving and researching for more ways to build better gear.”
The Daily Grind
Armaggeddon specialises in professional gaming gear that is functional, sleek, and affordable. Established in November 2011, it is still relatively the new kid on the block, but has been getting positive reviews and reception on their products. This has helped the brand build up a loyal fanbase.
Being Head of Division of Armaggeddon means that Wanda has a hand in anything and everything related to the brand. In fact, every product you see on the Armaggeddon line to date — she’s worked on all of them. She’s also put a bit of her story in the products they launched at the recent gaming conference GameStart Asia, citing the games she played in her teenage years as her inspiration.
With so much on her plate, it’s no wonder Wanda’s day begins with a Teh C and a giant to-do list. Depending on the time of the year, she says, her tasks would vary between organising events, tournaments, researching about the latest games and technologies, doing product development/packaging, or developing marketing plans.
“If I’m lucky I’ll have a half an hour break between all the madness and meetings to play a game or two. Currently it’s Heroes of the Storm, but I try to rotate between different games to stay current,” Wanda, ever the avid gamer, shares.
A Woman’s Job
The ‘girl gamer’ is no longer an uncommon species, but the gaming space is still far from being an ‘equally divided between men and women ratio’ industry. “I think this industry could use more women and I’d always be happy to have more women in gaming. In general I do believe that the industry does have a lot more men than women and the market it appeals to is generally more targeted at men than women.
“It’d be nice to have more games that interest more women, and more products catered for women. Simple example, if I want to buy a ‘gaming themed’ t-shirt/hoodie in my size, it’s always more difficult and I’ll end up buying the guy’s version just cause I can’t get what I want in my size/cut. Blizzard thankfully has more merchandise for women now but it wasn’t always the case.”
Wanda also believes that having more women in the industry would empower them in ways which men may not think about. She brings up the example of the ‘Armaggeddon Angels’ — female promoters you’ll see at Armaggeddon booths at any gaming conference. “Unlike most brands that dictate that their ‘booth babes’ wear one particular type of uniform, we keep variations of our uniform so that our girls can choose if they want to show more or less skin, or wear something that is tighter or looser — whichever makes them feel confident,” Wanda says.
By Gamers, For Gamers
Being a gamer herself has definitely been a bonus for Wanda. She understands games and gamers and their needs when it comes to performing at their best. She states her views on the future of gaming in Singapore: “I would love to see more local games, better local games. Would also love to see more gamers dedicating themselves to gaming in a disciplined fashion. Taking care of their health, well-being, staying well connected and worldly, whilst training hard 2-4 hours a day at least if they intend to make E-sports their career.
“I’ve met and spoken to too many gamers and teams who blame everyone else and say how Singapore is not a suitable environment to have a career in gaming and I think that’s poppycock. I’d like to see more individuals like JayF who invested in himself and the games he loves instead way before he was spotted as a talented caster.”
Always looking to pay it forward, Wanda stressed that Armaggeddon will always be here to support individuals and teams who are willing to put in the hard work. She says, “We’re a small and young company and our resources are limited. But if you are someone we see and believe in to be working towards your goals, we will do whatever we can to help.”