I know I’m awful, but at least I have fun.
I see the guard at Suramar City and he sees me. I know if I make too big of a scene, if I’m not quick on my feet, I’ll be caught and swarmed by him and his buddies. I go to steal the item I’m questing for, and my disguise is dropped.
A guard rushes me. My night elf defeats him easily, but now my cover is blown. I run through the city, attracting swathes of guards in my wake. I try to jump into the canal to escape them, but it’s no use.
I’m overcome. Again. This is about the 20th time I’ve tried to complete this mission. I sigh, curse, eat another fistful of flaming hot Cheetos and begin again.
This scene isn’t just me when I play Warcraft, it’s me when I play any game I get my hands on. I love video games. I love the music, the storyline, the fun animation and the challenge. I love shutting my brain off and losing myself in another world for hours. I love pretty much everything about video games.
I’m just abso-f*cking-lutely terrible at them.
Nobody wants to play with me, and I don’t blame them. Even when a friend believes themselves to be some saint of patience, ready to bestow upon me the gift of their incredible gaming knowledge, they quickly realize I’m a hopeless cause. I’m left to the wolves (or androids, or the Alliance or whatever enemy) so they can go about actually having fun with the game, free of the burden that is my incredible ineptitude.
It’s alright. I’m used to it by now.
I could resign myself to being content with a life of lonely gaming, but even in conversation I’m left wanting. It’s not enough to tell someone that I play a game–even something as simple as Animal Crossing. They want to know how many items I’ve been able to curate my personal museum with or how big my house is. They want to know how many slime-hybrids I’ve made in the goofy, adorable Slime Rancher. They want to know how many seasons my farm has weathered in Stardew Valley.
Nobody can just wax it casual with me when it comes to the talking about games. Even outside of playing the game itself, everything feels like a competition. As one of the least-competitive people to ever pursue gaming as a hobby, it’s exhausting to have shade thrown at me just for playing God of War on easy.
Because of that, gaming has become something I just don’t talk about.
And so, I feel like I have this dirty secret. Alone in my room on a rainy day, electric blanket on high, scruffy chihuahua tucked by my ankles, playing Battle Chasers on my Switch.
If asked what I’m doing, I just say “nothing” because it’s easier and less embarrassing than telling the truth. I’m dying a million times in a row, making a silent name for myself as the most counter-intuitive gamer of all time, and somehow I’m still enjoying myself.
Christina Cahill can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @ChristinaCahi11