My First World Boss: The Story of How I Became a Gamer

It’s a good day. I got my bangs trimmed, my roots recolored, I’m hanging out in my new Star Wars Yoga pants, Oliver’s yoda costume came. Yeah, I’m pretty much over the moon right now.

The Force is strong in our family. And to top things off, while I was at the salon, Taylor caught up to my Jedi on SWTOR!

What is that, you noobs might ask. SWTOR stands for Star Wars: The Old Republic, and it is an MMORPG (massively multiplayer online roleplaying game). You can play as a jedi, a sith, a bounty hunter, etc.

Now you’re probably saying, gosh you’re a freak, Bailey. And you’d probably be right.

But let me tell you a little story.

I never grew up with video games of any kind. We had the very first Playstation and that was it. My brother hogged the game console most of the time, and I never got a chance to hardly do anything on it. Occasionally, I would go over to a friend’s house and we’d play Age of Empires, or Super Smash Brothers.

When I became an adult and thought about the kind of household I would run, I was pretty against video games after seeing so many of my friends and peers struggle with video game addiction. I wasn’t planning on having any video games in my house, period. But then, I met my husband and we got married. As a former gamer, he did not exactly agree with me.

Then I got pregnant, and I was incredibly ill throughout my pregnancy. I quit my job and barely had the energy to leave my house. Not only was I physically miserable, but now I was bored out of my mind. After some convincing and brainstorming activities that we could do together in my condition, Taylor finally convinced me to play SWTOR.

And I fell in love. Not just with the challenges and leveling up, but with the storyline and becoming a character.

I’ve acted on stage since I was a kid. This is the longest hiatus I’ve ever taken from the theater world; I went from my mission to marriage to pregnant so quickly, and I haven’t had the time or energy to resume my passion for acting. For me, SWTOR became another way to act and get out my creative energy  as I made character choices. I thought about how my character would genuinely respond, what their personality would be like, and what would cause them to be that way.

Recently, I’ve completed a great achievement for any gamer, which is defeating my first world boss! I was so excited! And now I’m a bit obsessed with hunting them down!

Sometimes we go a bit overboard or play too long. But since it’s become a shared activity we keep each other accountable. One or both of us can recognize that we’ve gone overboard and need to pull back on our game time. It’s been a great system actually.

My experience has helped me get over my stigma that all video games are bad, addicting, and/or stupid. I realize it’s a too much screen time is a huge problem in our culture, but I feel that video games are often singled out as a problem causer more than phones or televisions. In reality, there’s not much difference between a game and movies or time on the phone. It comes down to content and moderation. If I wouldn’t watch a movie with certain content, I shouldn’t play a game with that content either. If I know I need to cut down on my screen time with my phone or TV, I need to moderate this same behavior with games. I guess my point is that I will never judge a gamer ever again for spending too much time on their games if I’m doing the same thing with my other devices.

I’m also glad that my husband and I have found something that we both enjoy and can do together. I will also be eternally grateful for the purpose and entertainment SWTOR gave me when I was sick, huge, and unhappy.

So keep calm and game on!

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