I’ve spent the majority of my free time too sore and tired to move, so gaming has always been a way my mind can keep active when my body is worn out. When I was 16, I moved almost exclusively to handheld gaming out of necessity. But slowly and surely, I have completed my transformation to full-on PC gamer with the help of iBUYPOWER. I don’t think I can ever go back.
Back to Gaming
Gaming has always been a way to escape for me, but at times, things got so overwhelming in life I couldn’t spend any energy even gaming. After the Olympics, having room for luxuries wasn’t possible. I was training for MMA full time while working three jobs. I was on the desk at 24 Hour Fitness, teaching judo, and working as a vet tech all while getting in my two MMA workouts a day.
I missed gaming. I grew up loving RPGs and I would get so invested in the characters. Playing Ocarina of Time, Rayman 2 (the best Rayman and they should remake it), Dark Cloud, Kingdom Hearts – I think that RPGs are the most effortless way to be part of a story. For me, it’s the easiest way to consume stories – when you’re a protagonist in an RPG you can identify with them so much more instead of when you’re passively watching a movie or TV show.
But what got me back into it is when I started playing World of Warcraft around 2013. Thanks, Vin Diesel. While filming Expendables 3, I finally got some extra time in my life because they weren’t using me every day (there were so many megastars in that movie). There were maybe five days at a time when all I had to do was train and kill time.
I remember there were 11 flights of stairs at this hotel and I would run the stairs every morning when the gym wasn’t open. Thankfully, WoW came to the rescue. I had no clue what I was doing. I was using the arrow keys (I know, I know Vin told me about WSAD and I haven’t looked back) but It was such an escape and so soothing and calm. This is why I love the Night Elf areas so much. You’ve probably heard me talk about this on my Facebook Gaming stream.
Games became a reprieve from the madness in my life. Then it became a family activity. I got Travis, my husband, into gaming because he wanted to do stuff with me. “Well if you’re going to spend your time doing this then I will too!” So now it’s a family thing, not just my thing.
The transition from gaming being “my time” to “family time” helped us find a groove as a family and me as a stepmom. It was a common thread and things to do. Once the boys got older and they were curious watching me and Trav play, it evolved into something we all enjoyed. It was pure bonding. My sons play and we run dungeons as a family together. I always thought they would grow out of it, which they have to a degree, but they still like to play WoW, especially when we’re playing WoW. Like, not with me, but they want to kick me off the computer. Especially the new one from iBUYPOWER.
I want to talk about WoW more! So many people have preconceived notions when they meet me since I’ve stepped into the limelight and started living under a magnifying glass, but I’ve made some awesome friends anonymously online. Especially Oma. I met him in WoW at the Draenei starting zone and added him as a friend, and he never knew it was me. We’ve played regularly together for years and all he wants to do is hang out and help just because, not because I’m me. Here’s what really put over Oma with me: I had this old chair and live with a broken back so if I sit too long it hurts, so I’d regularly tell him: “This chair sucks, I have to stop.” Oma, who just knew me as a WoW friend, was like, “Hey, if you can’t afford it I can help buy you a chair.” I can afford it, dude, and you’re cool in my book forever. I was incredibly touched by the gesture of kindness that came about because of gaming. He’s still one of my faves to play with. He just wants to hang out and be entertaining rather than me entertain him – the reverse that I’m used to. I think playing with him on the Facebook Gaming stream finally proves that I’m me. It’s such a pure friendship. I’ve known him for over five years and never heard his voice. I’m almost afraid to meet him – our friendship is perfect for me as he is.
Speaking of the Facebook Gaming stream, I always resisted gaming with fans because gaming was my personal time, and when I started being more open about being a life-long gamer, people always assumed that I only pretended to game to tap into some sort of demographic. I never claimed to be a pro or great, but this is what I spent the majority of my free time doing – gaming. Like so many things in my life, the stream happened organically. I was cautious in the beginning to share this part of my life that was so precious to me, but now that I’ve started, it’s become one of my favorite things to do.
Having my favorite hobby becoming a community activity has been a lot of fun. I enjoy sharing a part of my personality that I assumed people had no interest in. I’m not the greatest gamer ever, I just enjoy myself. Yes, I do roleplay on my stream. Yes, I have a (self-proclaimed) awesome dwarven voice. And yes, I still game in my private time (and do my dwarven voice when no one is looking).
Building My Battlestation
I’ve really evolved as a PC gamer. It wasn’t until Trav and I bought a house that I started using a PC to game, but it wasn’t a gaming PC. But now I have this iBUYPOWER rig. It’s a pain in my ass in a good way. Literally. I should probably explain…
Me and Trav are building a PC gaming battle station with multiple desks pushed together, and my massive monitor is in such a spot where I have to straddle the middle of the desks and sit in a weird way so I can play. Now I have a knot on my left butt cheek because I am completely ruined – I can’t go back to just any PC ever again. I was doing it all wrong. I now have to choose between comfort and gaming quality, and gaming quality wins.
I’m excited to have the best gaming setup. The battle station is near complete and I just don’t know how I was ever able to manage to play WoW on a tiny laptop that wasn’t meant for gaming. The resolutions. I can’t go back. It looks and plays so well.
Gaming is such a huge part of my life. As someone who has obsessed with achievements, I love being able to collect achievements without taxing myself physically. Now I’m just totally immersed, finally moving over to full-on PC gaming with the best PC possible from iBUYPOWER.