Ask anyone that has ever known me, and they’ll tell you. I’ve been a gaming junkie ever since I could hold a controller. I can still recall walking into my Aunt Barbara’s house after she got an Atari – seeing a video game in action for the first time – it was amazing.
Growing up, I had pretty much every relevant system imaginable at some point or another. I’d spend too much money at the arcade in the mall. I’d rent a game from Blockbuster Video and then beg my grandparents not to return it until I had beaten it. I would borrow games from my friends constantly.
It was around the time of the Playstation 2, that I made my first foray into something called online gaming. Now, as strictly a console gamer up to that point, I really did not have a clue as to what exactly online gaming was – how it worked. But I loved the idea of connecting with other people with similar interests and passions, coming together in a fantasy world where anything can happen.
So, I bought Everquest for the PS2. Set it up, logged in, oh my gosh the excitement was nearly overwhelming. I still remember the first thing I said in that game, and the response I got –
Me – “Hey I just started playing and don’t know where I’m supposed to go”
Random person response – “Go fuck yourself”
Did they just say that to me?
In a video game?
This. Is. AWESOME.
Everquest ended up not being to my liking, so I moved on to Final Fantasy 11 online. The game had amazing graphics for its time, great people to play with, and an ambience I still think about every now and then. Not to mention the theme for Selbina will always be dear to me. I joined a couple Linkshells (groups of players that can chat with each other in a guild type environment). Then everyone started to disappear.
They went to this other game called “World of Warcraft”. When I found out the players I had forged friendships with, had dropped everything and jumped ship to another MMO, I remember making the statement to my linkshell that I would never play WoW.
And then I started playing WoW.
For anyone that started playing World of Warcraft during its “Vanilla” period, they know the impact this game had on not just the MMO community, but pop culture as well. It wasn’t a game, it was an experience. An experience that is still going strong to this day.
Overall, I played World of Warcraft for roughly 10-11 years. I was addicted. I missed family members in the hospital because I was raiding. I avoided my relationship because I had to farm for crafting. I created this in-game persona of someone I wasn’t. Any spare time I had, I spent it playing WoW. I played it at home. I even played it at work. WoW gave me, an introvert with little to no friends at the time, an outlet to help understand and define herself. Wow has seen me through a marriage, a child, a divorce, and on to my current relationship. It’s been there through laughter, it’s been there through sadness and tears. It really has been the singular constant in my life for more than a decade.
So, the decision to stop playing recently was not an easy one. It was a necessary one.
As you can tell, I’ve never been one to take things in moderation. Although I’m much better at it today, it’s taken me a long time to get to this point. I’ve taken a step back, reassessed where my life is and where I want it to be, and began taking the necessary steps to get myself there.
I want to focus more on life, itself. I want to get outside more. Enjoy sunshine more. Write more.
Take a page out of my daughter’s book, and go jumping in mud puddles because it’s innocent fun.
So I think this afternoon, that’s exactly what we’ll do. Throw on some old sneakers, go find the biggest water puddle we can find, and splash around to our hearts content.