I was 20 years old the first time I tried a multiplayer game. Before that I had been far too busy diving into whatever open-world, narrative-driven experience I could play on my much beloved consoles. I also didn’t have any friends in my life that played games, so I had no reason to pay extra to play unfamiliar games with unfamiliar people online. But then I became the proud owner of a gaming laptop, opening up a limitless world of possibilities in uncharted online worlds. So naturally the first game I installed was Rainbow Six: Siege.
To those not in the know, Rainbow Six: Siege is a savage, highly-competitive tactical shooter that requires things like strategies, map knowledge and proper weapon loadouts if you want to actually win a match. For these reasons, and the fact that I’d never used a keyboard/mouse set up before, I should have instantly bounced off of this game. In the end, I guess I stuck with it because I was studying game design and knew that in order to be a better designer, I had to experience all types of games; especially ones that seemed as complex as this one. Eventually I also discovered I was a decent sniper with the character Glaz, which made me feel pretty good about myself, so I was happy to keep fumbling my way through rounds because at least I was having fun that way.
Many hundreds of hours later, I am pleased to inform you that I am still utterly hopeless at strategies, map knowledge and weapon loadouts, although a couple of week’s into my Siege journey, I gained something far greater. I made friends. Better yet, I made friends because of this game and they’ve changed my life. I know it sounds over-the-top when I say that Siege changed my life, but it’s true; and it all started with an awkward university ice-breaker.
The class was on the history of video games. I had missed the first week on account of the fact I didn’t know the class existed and so my usually extroverted exterior was a tad more reserved than usual. As is tradition in educational settings, we had to get to know the class and in this case, that meant everyone had to share what game they played last. My heart leaped with excitement as one of the few other women in the room said the last game they played was Rainbow Six: Siege.
“Oh my gosh. She plays Siege. I play Siege?! That is so cool!”
Those were the thoughts that immediately raced through my mind. I’d only ever known one, maybe two, other women who considered themselves gamers so seeing her in a room learning about games mattered a lot.
The class eventually ended and I watched as the Siege girl packed up her things to leave. I patiently walked behind her, trying to build up the courage to say hi. We eventually made our way outside and turned towards different directions. This was my last chance. Normally I would let my fear get the better of me, yet for some reason I blurted out that I played Siege too and thought it would be cool to play together some time if she’d like. Luckily for me, she thought it was a good idea and gave me her Discord information, which was a pretty big deal for me considering I only had about five Discord friends.
When I joined, I was greeted by TaylieBabe, the girl from university, deBooie, her boyfriend and Genos, some guy from New Zealand. They had all met about three months prior in a match of Siege. From what I hear, they made each other laugh and they worked well as a team, so they started this Discord as a way to keep playing together. Before I came along, Genos invited three of his friends from his school days into the server. And now, they had me, so I started playing with them. A lot.
We spent most nights chatting and occasionally winning matches. All the while, I couldn’t shake the feeling of support that came from these people. I truly put that down to the intense teamwork that building a friendship inside Rainbow Six: Siege forces upon you. You have to communicate. You have to work together. You have to support each other. You are a team where every member is equally important and unique in what they bring to the relationship. Most importantly, that collaboration is what made it fun!
I’m sure it comes as no surprise that after many a late night with this squad of gamers, I grew quite fond of the aforementioned Kiwi and his lovely friends so I decided to take a short holiday to meet them all. Of course, my number one travel essential was my gaming laptop. I have to bring it with me everywhere I go so that no matter where I am, we can stay connected and keep gaming together. Well, Genos is now my future husband and his friends have become mine.
One of those friends, Lonar_Muffin even encouraged me to apply for the first Lenovo Legion Epprenticeship about a year ago; an opportunity that would provide the winner with one-on-one mentoring from industry veterans, a cash prize and a brand new Legion 5i Laptop to help kickstart their dreams. He had no doubt that I could do it and should apply. Turns out, he wasn’t the only one that believed in me.
It’s been over a year since I became the Legion Epprentice and I am so incredibly grateful for the experience. I got to meet one of my childhood idols, Stephanie “Hex” Bendixsen, which gave me confidence in my content creation ability. I met the wonderful Ash Ringrose, Head of SMG Studios, who helped show me what I can offer the development industry. I also have my amazing Legion laptop, which allows me to game and create high end content no matter where I am.
I am also proud to say that I have levelled up as an Epprentice to find work within a game studio. Plus, the Legion Epprenticeship has also given me the chance to be here writing this for you all. Because games, from even the most unexpected titles, are unbelievably powerful in shaping our lives.
To this day, our squad still plays games together. Not always Siege, but the principle still remains. We have a full squad, always prepared to support each other; celebrating every win or loss, both in game and out. When we do play Siege, you can guarantee I won’t shoot out the cameras, deBooie will absolutely rage when he dies, Lonar_Muffin will probably Fuse the hostage, TaylieBabe will scan anything she can while making us laugh and Genos will likely carry us to a win. Maybe one day we will be brave enough to enter a Rise of Legion tournament. If we can stop laughing at each other first. Maybe then we could pull it off.
All of those wonderful memories, wrapped up inside of a savage game and a tiny laptop. So yes, Rainbow Six: Siege changed my life and I am grateful every day that I asked a stranger at university if I could play it with her sometime because games matter. Being around positive people in video games communities matters. And it is my hope that everyone has one of these stories to share one day.
Lenovo Legion are committed to supporting the development of talent in the Australia/New Zealand region through initiatives such as the Legion Epprentice and the Rise of Legion grassroots tournaments. Keep an eye out on their socials for the latest on new products and campaigns to help you unleash your own savage plays.