I have a feeling that my reason for gaming is going to be the same as a lot of people’s. An escape. An escape from reality where you can delve into the world of fantasy. When you’re forced to work 40-hour weeks at a job you don’t like, so you can pay bills on things you can’t really afford, you need to be able to destress and unwind from the real world. When we were kids, it was to destress from school and homework.

For me, video games also helped me bond with my sisters. We grew up playing Playstation and Playstation 2 games like Crash Bandicoot, Tomba and Ratchet and Clank. Even earlier, we used to play The Incredible Machine on our old family PC—back when dial-up was still used.

When I finally got old enough to afford my own gaming device, I decided to try out the Xbox 360, which was my first dabble away from Playstation, as far as consoles go. This was where I first “got good**” at first-person shooter games. Battlefield 3 had been my first real introduction to the genre. I would play with my older sister’s boyfriend, who was considerably better than me. From there I played games like Far Cry, GTA, and Skyrim—which helped consume my free time.

**good- meaning better than running around aimlessly with your gun pointed at the sky because you don’t know how to move properly with both controller joysticks. Good- meaning I now occasionally hit the targets I’m aiming at and get the mechanics of the game

Instead of thinking about ringing up art supplies and cutting fabrics for JoAnn’s customers, I could be transported to a world where I could be a Breton walking about the realm deciding which faction I wanted to side with and which dangerous missions to go on next. I could recreate a whole other life, one where I’m an astronaut who sells paintings on the side, and who lives with a ghost because they didn’t want to move the tombstone of their deceased roommate to the cemetery lot in Sims. And finally, now back on PC, I’m strategizing as part of a team of 6, choosing different heroes with different abilities, trying to collaboratively achieve the same objective. I’m deducing and deceiving the medieval court, trying to throw off my enemies and win the game for my faction.

Video gaming has helped me forge friendships with people I’ve never met, it’s helped me grow closer with real-life friends when we found that common ground. And if I didn’t have video games to help me escape from the mundane life, one that is seriously getting more and more depressing with each moronic “presidential” tweet, I would probably go crazy!

I was so happy when I discovered Twitch and this whole, amazing community that shares a similar passion. Whether I ever make it big as a streamer or not, I will continue to be a big part of the Twitch community and I will always find time for video games!