"I have two 360s and a PS3. I need to be able to walk into a room and just... go."
There's just one catch: for much of the contest, she couldn't actually play the game.
Throughout the eight-episode contest, which began on October 21, Mrs. Violence and five other prominent gamers were paired with video game noobs playingfor the first time.
While the pros coached their apprentices in preparation for tournaments, Mrs. Violence and her fellow gamers endured grueling physical challenges inspired by the game, such as crawling through mud, participating in mock firefights, and taking a crash course in bomb disposal. It wasn't until the last episode that Kelley got her hands on a controller, destroyed her final opponent, and split $50,000 with her noob counterpart, Severn.
Not surprising for the San Diego native, who averages 10 hours of gameplay per day and has competed in many gaming competitions, including MLG (Major League Gaming) and WCG (World Cyber Games). She's also the top female Gears of War player and mingles at the top of the MLG charts.
Growing up in a house full of male gamers, Kelley was naturally turned on to the world of hard-core gaming--hence her name, Mrs. Violence. She can't get enough, and she'll admit: she's pretty damn good.
"After Resident Evil II came out, we all started playing only first-person shooters: Duke Nukem, Counterstrike, all of the above. That's when Xbox came out, and Halo was my interest because I read the book," she tells me as we sit down in the lobby at CNET's offices in San Francisco. "I just really like shooters, and [after Halo] is when I started playing--no, winning--tournaments."
Right now, she's practicing for a Battlefield 3 competition in which she'll play to win a $1.6 million prize, a short-term goal in her greater pursuit to be the ultimate female gaming ambassador.
In a male-dominated world, it won't be easy. "There are so many women in the industry, but they're casual gamers," says Mrs. Violence, a tall, striking woman wearing jeans and a T-shirt emblazoned with the word Love. "There needs to be a female ambassador in competitive gaming. We need someone out there who can s**t on boys and say they can s**t on boys. And I feel like I'm the only girl who can do that right now."
Will it be easy for Kelley to rule the gaming world? No way. But with her $25,000 prize and a ton of new gear, Kelley is ready for the next chapter of her life that will be dedicated to gaming, and only gaming. Right now, she's obsessed with Battlefield 3, Assassin's Creed: Revelations, and Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.
As a gadget geek and CNET fan, Kelley spent a majority of her prize money on tech. "It's all for work," she says, laughing. "I'm playing for 10 hours a day, I need to be comfy."
She's gushing about her geek pad, saying she splurged on a dream gaming setup, including a brand-new PC rig and 60-inch LED TV. She adjusts her shirt and as she reveals that she spent about $400 on makeup the day of our interview and just restocked her entire closet.
She laughs and says in a mocking-serious tone, "Um, hello? I need my makeup!" (At this point, I have to give her a high-five. She's a woman after my own heart.)
A tech aficionado through and through, she always has an iPad at her side, as well as a Canon S1400 IS, chargers, a tripod, and her brand-new Droid Bionic, which (oddly enough) she hardly uses for gaming.
So far, she hasn't been impressed by handheld gaming devices. Touch-screen devices like the iPad lack the analog controls she loves, she says, while the Nintendo 3DS, in her opinion, was a complete rip-off: "Nintendo ripped us off, offering two f*****g colors. Come on! We don't want blue or black. Give us purple or pink or something." She's actually pretty riled up as she tells me this, and I begin to wonder what she's like during killing sprees in Battlefield 3.
It's becoming clear that when it comes to her gaming devices, she refuses to settle.
After playing with the 3DS, along with 3D technology on her television and computer, she says 3D isn't quite ready for gaming. "The reticle is so important, and when it goes 3D, I can't see the reticle. To make it work, it has to be perfect."
For hard-core gamers like Mrs. Violence, a traditional setup paired with some must-have gaming accessories will do. She was generous enough to tell us what accessories help her dominate the battlefield, and you can check them out here:
What's next for Mrs. Violence? For starters, don't expect a second appearance on a show like The Controller--she's already said "no." Her priority in the next couple of months will be her father, who, she explains, is "on the verge of death, unless he gets a kidney."
She passionately explains that all her aunts, uncles, and siblings have declined donating their kidneys, but Kelley is up for the task: "I don't need it. I f*****g sit on my ass and play video games all day for a living. I don't need it, so I got tested, and I'm a perfect match."
What will she be doing while the two recover? Beef up her game, of course. "I will bring my monitor into the hospital and play Elder Scrolls in my bed. He needs me and I need him, and this is the perfect time to do it."