There aren’t a ton of gamers who have spent time in the Playboy Mansion and graced the centerfolds of Playboy Magazine, but Mei-Ling Lam is one of them. The Maine native and June 2011 Playmate grew up playing Nintendo games. It was in these virtual worlds that she found her need for speed. She loves fast cars and continues to live out her fantasies of going fast in games like Microsoft’s FORZA 3. Lam talks about her gaming habits in this exclusive interview.
What games did you play growing up?
I played the Nintendo classics like Super Mario Bros. and Mario Kart. I was always more into the racing games.
Do you have a favorite memory from back then?
I don’t know how many joysticks my brother and I went through. We were always fighting and breaking them. That’s my biggest memory.
Did they break because you were fighting or because you used them too much?
We would fight over playing. There was only one because our parents never wanted us both playing at the same time, so they would only give us one joystick.
Even if the game was multiplayer?
Yeah. We had two joysticks in the house but they would never allow my brother and I to sit there and play games together. If we had friends over or something like that, we were allowed to take out the second joystick. Otherwise it was always one.
When you did go head-to-head against your brother who was the better gamer?
Well, I would say when it came to racing I would win. But every other game, he'd be able to beat me.
Did you continue to game on Xbox and PS3 later on?
Yeah. My ultimate favorite game is FORZA 3.
Have you played the fourth one?
I haven’t yet, I need to get it. I heard that it’s really great. What I love so much is that not only you can pick your car, you can literally design it to how you want it. For me that’s huge. I can’t say I’m the best at racing but when you can design your own car that certainly helps.
Do you ever race online on Xbox Live?
Oh, my gosh, of course! I totally play FORZA and it’s so funny because a lot of times they don’t know that it’s a girl. We’ll get into a race and I don’t say anything on the headset. Then at the end of it, I’m like, “Thanks, fellas.”
Does your Gamer Tag not sound girlie that they don’t know you’re female?
Well, actually it is, but no one’s ever questioned it or asked me if I’m a girl or anything. But it’s "BeautifulFlower8."
What’s your favorite car to race in FORZA?
They have a Spider in there and I have customized that one to how I like it and how I drive. That’s the only one that I’ve taken time to customize.
How often do you play games in general these days?
I don’t really play them as often since I’m traveling so much with Playboy, so I would say on a monthly basis probably 15 times. That’s a lot, but probably not for true gamers.
Are there many girls who play games at the mansion?
I haven’t met any girls that really were into it. I haven’t even met Jo Garcia, the "Gamer Next Door." She was in Atlanta recently for the PlayStation Vita Playboy Party and she’s really into games but I don’t know of any other girls that are.
What is it that you like about racing games?
I love being behind the wheel. I’ve always said one of the things that I’ve always wanted to do was be a race car driver. I think I would be really good at it, so if I can’t be on NASCAR then gaming is my next best thing.
What do you drive in real life?
I have a Mercedes. In college I had a Z4 and it was a stick. I've always loved driving a stick. There's just something about it, it’s like I’m in a race car. I love it.
Have you ever played any games with the stick controls and steering wheel?
Oh, yeah, of course I have but those things suck. I hate them. I can never get them to work right with the alignment of the wheel. It just doesn’t control right.
Did you try different wheels out?
When I had gone in the game store they didn’t have too many. I think there was like two or three to choose from and I got the most expensive one because I figured it would be the best and more realistic. If I could find one I liked that worked better, I would definitely use that instead of the controller.
Have you ever played any of the Gran Turismo games?
I have, but I don’t like it as much as FORZA. Need for Speed was another one that I was into before FORZA came out. But I just like the way that FORZA is set up. It’s more realistic.