I know the title is boring and I think I got a little off track here, but here’s a glimpse into how I got into gaming as well as some of what gaming means to me. I hope you’ll all stick around to experience this journey with me!
Some of you may be wondering how I got into gaming in the first place. By ‘you,’ I am referring to both those who are showing up here from day one and those who will locate this in the future and will potentially be curious about my history with gaming. Some of you, and this ‘you’ can apply to those same groups as well, may not care. Regardless, you’re getting it because I feel that it can be helpful to you, my fabulous readers, in understanding who I am as a gamer. And, yes, there will be more on that specific topic in the future.
I actually have written an essay kind of on this topic that I may share here at some point that is a little more in depth but I’m really trying to polish it and may try to get that published elsewhere as well. So we’ll see what happens there and I’ll keep you updated as I figure it out.
What I do know is that I was interested in games from a young age but didn’t have the means to pursue it. Games are expensive and we didn’t always have money laying around that could be invested in the newest systems or top games. By the time that I had the money to pursue it, I didn’t have the time and then college happened. From there, life just got kind of crazy, as it tends to do. I kept eyeing gaming systems and just wanted to start playing games again as I started my initial attempt at college (that’s a story for another day), but didn’t have the means to pursue this interest.
Finally around, I believe, 2016 or 2017—it was around the time I dropped out of college—I picked up some games for the Wii that my mom had been using for Netflix. Used games were pretty cheap I was beyond excited that I could, not only get into gaming again, but that I could get into the games I wanted to play. Growing up in the Midwest in smaller communities meant that I grew up with the understanding that girls had certain games they should play, but also that girls shouldn’t really game much in the first place. The first games I got were Lego Harry Potter: Years 5-7, though I did locate Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4 a few months later, and The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. I do have the Lego Harry Potter games on my Nintendo Switch as well now because of glitches with the Wii version preventing 100% completion.
The Legend of Zelda franchise had interested me for several years at this point even though I hadn’t ever see anyone actually play it. Naturally, I set it up first thing when I got home and was instantly in love. Was I great at it? Heck no. I did eventually figure it out, although I did have my cousin beat one of the levels for me because my coordination skills aren’t exactly compatible with the Wii. My hand-eye coordination is lacking and I also have the attention span of a peanut (consider yourself warned). This means that I have a tendency to get distracted by minor details in games or hyper focused on side quests and I also have difficulty at times remembering the different controls for different games. I did buy a couple other games at that point but never really played them because what minimal free time I had was spent with Harry Potter, The Legend of Zelda.
The next couple years were kind of a blur but those few games were a shining point as I worked through some intense depression and anxiety issues. My gaming experience changed in 2018. That summer, I was in a car accident and had to quit my job because of injuries that also left me unable to walk without crutches. The next six months were filled with doctor appointments and the gaps in between those appointments were filled with video games. I finally began making progress on those few games and really started to pay attention to the gaming world again. In January of 2019, I had surgery to repair a labral tear in my hip caused by the accident. For those that don’t know what a labrum is, it’s the cartilage that lines the hip and shoulder sockets. I know I had never even heard of it until I tore mine.
The only place I found comfort during this time really was in gaming. I’d been eying the Nintendo Switch systems for a few months by the time I had my surgery but couldn’t talk myself into the expense initially. Immediately after my surgery, I discovered one major problem with the Wii: how do you use motion controls when you can’t really move much at all?
I hit a mental breaking point about a week after the surgery. I’d been going stir-crazy. That’s when I bought my Switch. It’s insane to me honestly that what was meant to be a distraction from a horrible experience has changed my life so much in only two years. Naturally, the first game I bought with my Switch was The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The opening scene alone left me breathless, as I know it did many others. But that one moment gave me hope that I’d get through the recovery period and get back to life again. It gave me hope that maybe, just maybe, this next few months wouldn’t be awful. That moment helped me feel alive and gave me a sense of freedom that I had desperately needed for years.
In the two years since I have logged so many hours on this system that it feels kind of unreal. I have found a whole new world of games to play that I never would have imagined even existed and it really has brought me a lot of peace and relaxation. There was still some games that I want to play but they’re not available on Switch. At that point, I wasn’t about to buy a whole other gaming console. That finally changed just this past month actually. In March I took the plunge and bought myself a gaming desktop because a lot of the games I wanted to play are available in some capacity on PC. I normally run a Mac laptop which overheats if I even play Bloons. I can play Bloons but there’s a limit to how much I can do with it so I really needed something that wasn’t a Mac so it could actually run more games and I needed something that could hold up to the demands of newer games and just all the things that they require.
One of my favorite things about gaming is that it even if you’re playing solo games that don’t require anyone else to be involved you’re still part of a community and you’re still connected to other people through that community. There’s a whole world of gamers out there and we’re all just surviving life just trying to do what we can to get through it and get through the day. There’s a lot of us that, at the end of the day, all we need are those quiet moments when we can just get sucked into a world of possibilities. There’s a community there and even if we don’t interact with others in the community, I think we’re all still aware that we are part of that community.
It took me a while to accept and come to terms with my own interest in gaming because there’s a lot of people in my family that just don’t get it. They can get really judgmental about it and about the time that my cousin I spend on them. They’re expensive too but they have they definitely have their good points. My cousin lives in Texas and we can talk and play games together which is amazing and much needed at times.
In the last few months, I’ve been growing the library of games I play and I’ve been watching more streamers on Twitch. I spend more time than I care to admit lurking because I’m usually doing homework at the same time. Even when I’m lurking, I still feel like I’m a part of something. I get to watch people play these games and it’s exciting but also calming. Gaming for me really is an escape because it’s honestly grounding in a way.
I actually had an amazing community moment a few weeks ago. So, I live in Colorado currently and back in March we had what we’ve been calling Snowmageddon. It was, I think, the second largest snowfall we’ve had in March 4th largest snowstorm in all of recorded Colorado history. We knew this storm was coming in off the Pacific and about two nights before it was supposed to hit, I was watching Fuslie’s stream on Twitch. I can’t remember what games what game she was playing, but I remember she was playing with Kkatamina and a few others. Out of nowhere, we hear thunder over the stream. Fuslie and Kkatamina both freaked out for a moment while they figured out what was going on because it’s weird to get storms like that in Southern Cali this time of year. Next thing you know it’s hailing there, or at least sounds like it, and we could hear it through the stream. I was watching them react to this storm when I had this moment of realization that this storm they were getting hit with in that moment was the very same one that we’d been preparing for here in Colorado. We got over 3 feet of snow at my house and at least 5 foot drifts. It honestly is crazy to me how just a small moment like that helped me feel connected to people I’ve never met.
Gaming has become even more of an escape for me as I’ve encountered more of this community and I can’t wait to see what the future may hold!