My gaming journey started in earnest right here.
Pictured directly in front of me is my Famicom. No, I wasn’t raised in Japan, but my parents went out of their way to get me this instead of a Famicom in order to take advantage of cost-effective bootleg cartridges that had dozens of games on each. For Western games, they got me an adapter that allowed me to use standard NES carts. My friends were always confused at first glance, but it ended up not mattering in the end when we were all able to play the same games.
I remember my dad scavenging this 19-inch TV from our neighbour’s garbage. Ultimately didn’t matter where it came from. During a time when most families only had one TV, having one just for gaming was a godsend.
Also, the kid in the picture with the horrid bowl cut is me. The incessant teasing that came with that hair style left a permanent scar on my psyche, but that’s a post for another day.
The television sat on the floor and so did I. These days, it seems outlandish to place a TV on the floor without a stand. But this was also during a time when larger floor unit TVs were commonplace. There wasn’t anything weird about gaming this way in the 80s.
Speaking of which, our larger floor unit TV became my brother and I’s gaming TV when we moved. Though it was the late 90s to the early 2000s, we still mostly sat on the floor to play.
Once we moved into the HD era, the old floor TV became the stand for our new TV. We’ve finally moved into an era where TV stands were the norm and that old TV was incredibly difficult to move. Heck, that TV might still be in the basement. By this point, we had old armchairs and a couch we could use instead of sitting on the floor.
In this particular picture, Randy and I were in the height of our Rock Band obsession. My dad took our setup a step further by hooking up his PA system for maximum loudness. Furthermore, because my dad wanted to sing and hear his voice through his own audio effects and equalization, he’d sing with a second mic hooked up through a mix amp on the floor and into the PA. Thankfully, we lived in a detached home, sparing our neighbours from some of our loud rocking.
A few years later, my now-wife and I moved into our first home together. It was the first time I played games at a desk, which has since grown to become my default. Space in that condo was so tight that my desk was set up directly beside the couch in the living room. Not ideal for Steff having to hear the clacking of my fightstick buttons during emotional moments of Grey’s Anatomy.
A year later, we moved into a condo with a den. I took over the den and decorated it over time with an assortment of art and comic books. Prominently featured on the left wall are our shelves of board games.
It was great for Steff and I to take the gaming area out of the living room. Even so, it was an open space, so Steff could still hear some of the clacking of my buttons. I also started streaming from this room and my voice would carry across the whole condo. Acoustics were subpar in this room as well thanks to its high ceilings, wood flooring, and no soundproofing.
Nearing our five-year anniversary living in the condo, our landlord dropped a bombshell on us. She was selling the condo. We had 90 days to either buy the condo from her or move. Steff and I always envisioned our next move being the one where we move into our own house, but we weren’t ready to make that move right then. Over the next few months, we worked really hard to get our ducks in a row and we bought the house we live in now.
This half of the basement is the one you see on stream and in my videos. In the early days, the only decor was the Snorlax bean bag chair. Snorlax used to sleep in the living room in our condo, but he didn’t fit the layout of our new living room. He doesn’t get sat on much anymore, but he’s found new life as my sidekick throughout my streaming and video adventures.
With the advent of streaming, everything about the space has been tuned with that in mind. Large studio lights completely surround me. Decor is strategically positioned to appear on camera. All of the mess is strategically shoved off-camera. I’m rarely ever down here just to play games. Odds are, I’m streaming or capturing footage for another project while I play. It’s a far cry from the big screen TV and sofa setup I grew up dreaming of, but this fits my current workflow.
This gaming space will continue to evolve. We want to tear down the divider wall so that the space can be more welcoming for Steff. Any time I’m here, Steff is on another floor of the house. Tearing down that divider wall will allow us to set up a space where we can hang out in the same room, even when I’m working on video content.
We also have plans for a full renovation of the basement. Having just gotten a rough estimate on how much it’ll cost, it may take some time before it happens. Beyond that, we still have dreams of finding our forever home. Hopefully it’ll have the perfect space for gaming, content creation, and whatever other needs we have in the future!
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