Anex: Life of a Gamer
Real Name: Heather
Console(s) Owned: NES, Gameboy, SNES, Gameboy Color, N64, Game Cube, Xbox (1st Gen), PS2, Nintendo DS, Xbox 360, Nintendo 3DS
Preferred Genres: MMORPG, RPG, Rhythm & Music, Fighting, Racing, FPS, Puzzle
Affiliations (Member of): PMS Clan, GamerChiX, Xbox Ambassador, TOLK
Current Country of Residence: France (9 years)
Spoken/Known Languages: English, Spanish, French, ASL
Youtube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/PMSAnex
Intro to Gaming
I've been gaming since about the age of 5. I remember playing Super Mario Brothers/Duck Hunt and how the first long "word" I learned to spell was "Nintendo". I can thank my dad for that interest in video games. It was he who bought all the consoles I had as a child (at first for himself and then later for my bothers and I) and never gave me a hard time for wanting to play them.
I never thought much of it, video games were just fun to play. As I grew older, I latched onto certain titles/series like Super Mario Brothers, Mortal Kombat, & Donkey Kong Country as a younger child and titles like Zelda, Metroid, Rush, and Halo when older.
I became pretty good at Mortal Kombat (partially due to my dad's "Winner Stays Loser Pays" policy when it came to taking turns with my 2 brothers to play) and was proud of my skill, looking forward to playing with anyone and everyone any chance I got at arcades etc.
Growing Up Awkward
I think it was via Mortal Kombat that I learned that girls who played video games wasn't all that common (at least not at that time). Bringing up the topic of video games with other girls at school was a no-no and it made me feel like I was weird, because of that I ended up making friends easier with boys and ending up as "one of the guys" (which would plague me all throughout jr. high/high school making life even more complicated).
I do remember my enthusiasm though when I learned one of my best girl friends in elementary school was also a fan of video games and specifically Mortal Kombat. It was something that she had never told me before (nor I her) probably because she had been through the same awkwardness as myself. Not only did she like MK, but she was GOOD at it. VERY GOOD, better than me. She was able to pull off fatalities I could never enter in time and taught me some of her skill.
Before discovering my friend's interest in gaming (on par with my own), I thought I was weird and half considered avoiding video games altogether. I learned though that I wasn't weird, just special and "rare". Girls played video games (and could be good), it was just not as common or known.
After moving schools I reconnected with an old friend I had back in pre-K before she moved and learned that she too was into video games and in Jr. High I encountered another friend who was a big Zelda addict. More girl gamers, I had nothing to be ashamed of. I embraced my hobby.
Addicted? Well nowadays the media likes to flaunt this word around to make anyone who plays video games sound like some anti-social weirdo that lives in their parent's basement, has no friends, poor hygiene and never sees the light of day. I wasn't addicted on that level, but I was surely addicted.. probably to a near unhealthy level.
Through my friend from pre-k who had internet access (dial-up.. old school) and the game, I entered the world of EverQuest. I started playing sometime in high school.. I want to say around 2001, but it could have been a bit sooner. I played it until 2004/5.
I remember giving up going out with other friends etc and spending every weekend night at my childhood friend's house so we could play. I lived on that game and spent hours sitting in my chair playing.
While it probably wasn't the best thing for me neither socially nor physically, I do have it to thank for meeting my husband who was a friend and guild-mate in game who lived in France (yes that is why I am now in France).
I played World of Warcraft (which I moved onto after EQ) and quit after 5 years of play. (You will find blogs here about WoW). I was able to break that addiction after the release of the latest expansion Cataclysm (in my case the beta of Cata) which severely killed my interest in WoW along with the community. I dabbled around back in forth in multiple MMORPGs (EQ2, Lord of the Rings Online, Vanguard, Age of Conan, RIFT etc) and ultimately went back to EQ1 until I was invited to the Elder Scrolls Online Beta.
Despite some issues and the fact that it is VERY different from previous MMORPGs, I became hooked and pre-ordered the Imperial Edition the day it was announced. You will find me on Elder Scrolls Online starting March 30, 2014 albeit less hardcore than I was in the past with former MMORPGs as real life has taken more priority.
Joining PMS Clan
After moving to France and getting married I was more free to engage in my gaming as I pleased. I dabbled in more MMORPGs (Ever Quest 2 and WoW) and I got my hands on an xbox live account, my own xbox and Halo.
Due to my own stupidity of using my trial xbox live account (Gamertag: Anex) at a public gaming lobby (Halo 1 & 2 on plasma screen TVs and couches), I lost my hold on the gaming handle I had had since I was 13. I entered the world as "AssasinessAnex" (typo fail).
Halo and online FPS was a harsh world for the girl gamer and there seemed to be so few of us. (I only encountered 1 girl ever in the beginning). After the release of Halo 2 and an article by Bungie where they played with a clan called PMS (at the time Psychotic Man Slayers) my interest in playing with other girls piqued and I contacted the clan, went through recruitment and became a member of the iPMS (international) division in April 2005.
Through the clan I made many friends (who I am still friends with) and began to take my gaming more seriously. Over the years I went from Halo division, considered the World of Warcraft division (which was not possible as I was on EU servers and the division US) to GuitarHero/Rock Band (now Rhythm 360) and back to my roots with Halo 4 (PMS Halo 4 Division).
Entry Into the Rhythm & Music Gaming Scene
It was back at a PMS clan meet up in 2006, that I first encountered this new type of Rhythm Gaming (previously I had played DDR) through Guitar Hero. One of the girls brought it and I was fascinated by it. After returning back home I was determined to get myself a PlayStation 2 so I could have this game (the only console it was available on at the time). I was hooked. I played expert guitar and was sort of decent. I purchased every game in the series, ending with Guitar Hero 3 (I was not happy with the direction the game went with Activision and the removal of my favorite character, Pandora). After my disappointment with Guitar Hero 3, I discovered Rock Band while visiting friends and family back home in the US and found my next addiction.
I started on guitar as this was the instrument I was most familiar with and accustomed to, but gradually made my way over to vocals. Singing was something I always loved doing, but it was my secret guilty pleasure, I didn't dare to sing in front of anyone. I took up my xbox live headset (as the instrument pack was WAY too expensive in Europe) and played in secret when I was alone at home. It was clear that vocals was my instrument. I progressed VERY quickly to expert (there was no need to work through the other difficulties) and soon gained confidence to sing and play with family and friends.
Eventually after some encouragement from friends (Lammy was a big courage booster and inspiration for me), I started posting videos on youtube of my gameplay. The comments people left me gradually increased my courage and confidence in my singing which has helped me to DARE and to improve. I applied for Team Cena (a sponsored gaming team) after David from Cena's Corner made the announcement, never hoping but figuring it couldn't hurt to try.
I helped manage Team Cena as the Chief of Staff and Operations. I orchestrated, coordinated and oversaw the Team operations along with David and some help and advice from Phil (Team Cena Advisor). It was a lot of work, but something I enjoyed.
With the decline over Rhythm Gaming and the over saturation of the market (mostly due to Activision in my opinion), Team Cena is not as active as it one was. However the majority of us are still in contact with each other and good friends.
From Gaming to Real Life Application
Through Rock Band I gained courage with my singing and confidence, I am grateful for it. It showed me how silly I was to never dare to try what I loved to do so much (secret guilty pleasure).
I decided to take this courage to a new level (along with some encouragement from Heidi, the vocalist of Amberian Dawn) and started taking singing lessons about a year and a half ago.
Last year in 2011, I joined the French melodic death metal band Ethropia. We recorded a demo and played one show in April 2012. However in May this year the band decided to take a 1 year break to find motivation and inspiration. Due to personal reasons and musical differences, I decided to leave the band.
In January 2013 I joined the Folk Metal band, TOLK as lead singer and am here currently working and trying to improve while still keeping my gaming on.