Since I was old enough to hold a controller, I have loved video games. Some of my earliest memories are sitting in the living room with my father and watching in utter amazement while he played Mega Man on the Sega, and then Metal Gear on the PlayStation, and I would “Wow, my dad is the best video gamer of all time!” Then one day my parents bought me a copy of Spyro the Dragon for PlayStation 1 and I just about died. I started playing it as soon as I could and had to be dragged away from the screen. To this day, the Spyro the Dragon series holds a special place in my heart, this was the start of my love for video games and since then my love has only grown.
When I was a freshman in high school The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion was released for the Xbox. I remember sitting on the phone with my best friend and her telling me that she was going to get this game and I was on the other end of the line just overwhelmed with jealousy because I knew it would be a while before I could get it for myself. She called me regularly and always told me how she was just having so much fun playing this game. “You would love it! Come sleep over this weekend and you can try it out!” The first time I played was at my best friends house and again, I had to be dragged away from the tv. I started going over her house specifically to play Oblivion and she would get so mad at me (rightfully so) but I think that played a part in my parents finally deciding to get the game for me. I loved that you could be whoever you wanted to be and do pretty much whatever you wanted to do. Video games were, and still are a temporary escape from my problems and fears. In the same way that a good book sucks you into its world and doesn’t lose its grip until you’ve devoured every last word, video games bring you into their world.
Later on, in my high school career, I upgraded to playing games on the computer (PC Master Race). I had made some guy friends who had introduced me to the world of online gaming and yet again, I got sucked in. This was even better than everything else I had played because I wasn’t playing alone and I was making friends. They got me into an MMORPG called Gates of Andaron on the pc and it was, and I believe still is, the biggest scam of a game I’ve ever seen. Unmonitored by my parents at my friend’s house, showing my first signs of being an impulse shopper, I took $500 from my income tax return and put it towards items in the game to make me stronger. Boy was that stupid, I’ve never really talked to anyone about what I did, but shortly after I did it, I regretted it immensely.
That was the bad to being introduced into this world of gaming, but there was also a lot of good that came from it. I met my boyfriend on this game, he found my friends on Facebook and added them, then when he asked them if I was single they told him I was only interested in women. For some reason, he wasn’t deterred by this news and pursued me anyway. My friends would often say things like this to guys that tried to get close to me outside of the game to protect me from some random person showing up at my doorstep; their protection is something I’ve always appreciated. At the time, there were even fewer women playing video games than there are now, and finding a girl who loved this hobby was just plain amazing. Guys would often give me free things in games just because I am a woman, most of the time it was just because they were hoping that I would send them pictures of my boobs. These pictures were regularly requested but I never obliged. Ladies don’t do it, you never know where those pictures will end up!
Now I am an adult and I still play video games pretty regularly on my custom built computer. What’s different now is that I have fallen in love with other things since, like writing and reading. I play Elder Scrolls Online and Ark: Survival Evolved whenever I am in the mood for a gaming session, and it’s almost always with my boyfriend who I’ve been playing games with for the last eight years. Some may think it’s childish, and maybe it is but I personally see it as an amazing form of storytelling and an opportunity to make new friends. I’ve made quite a few friends around the world from playing video games and I still have those friends years later. The gaming community also gives back, games like World of Warcraft sell in-game items to help relieve areas of the world hit by natural disasters, Games Done Quick is an organization that does bi-annual fundraising to help prevent cancer and so far they’ve raised over $10 million. That is simply amazing to me. Video Games are my hobby, what’s yours?