How It All Started

How It All Started
Photo by Sei / Unsplash

I’ve been playing video games since I was little. It’s been 20 years since I started, all the way back since the Pac-Man era.

For the last couple of years, I’ve been gravitating towards playing indie games. The game mechanics thought by solo devs were delightful to see and exciting to try out. Once in a while, we do hear about great successes like Stardew Valley. but most of the time these Indie games will stay as hidden gems. Most gamers focus on the latest and biggest games with the most marketing budget like Call of Duty or Fortnite. This may be the reason why I like indie games, it’s like finding a treasure that people don't even think to look at.

Fast forward to when the pandemic hit, I found myself more time to play games. I then started to find indie games in alpha or beta phases still. I don't know how it started, but I found myself joining the game’s discords to get the latest build and test out the game for developers. By this time I was already employed as an external auditor. It felt like my work experience helped me in a way to playtest (or in a way audit) games by these indie devs.

Honestly, I was doing this out of my interest. I was never paid to do any of this. The most compensation I would get is usually the final build of the game for free which usually is a Steam key for me to claim. I was doing this for the fun of it.

As I tested more and more games, It felt like something that I should share with the world. Rather than doing it just for my fun, it became more of a goal to spread awareness of the indie game’s existence. Other people need to know what they might be missing out on. This is when I started my YouTube Channel, thus AnnazPlays was born. Most of the indie games I played can still be seen on my YouTube Channel until now.

Discovering NFTs

About half a year into my YouTube journey, I found out about Non-Fungible Tokens (NFT) in video games. The first game that I tried was Gods Unchained. Being a Trading-Card Game (TCG), It was almost like Hearthstone. The only difference was that gamers were no longer locked into the ecosystem of the digital store they bought their digital items. If I was to buy a booster pack, I can sell any cards I don't want for cryptocurrency (i.e. Ethereum). Then I could just convert it to fiat money and transfer it to my bank account.

Gods Unchained Immutable X marketplace

My mind was blown! The first thing that I thought of was the expensive guns I had in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CSGO) over the years. Over the years of playing CSGO, I had collected a lot of expensive digital items (i.e. guns, loot crates). But in Steam’s ecosystem, I could only sell on the Steam Marketplace. The amount I received from selling these digital items was a lot and since I couldn't cash out, the only thing I could buy was AAA games on Steam. It was good at first, but once you have a lot of games, the idea of buying games you know you won’t be playing seems like just a waste of money. Because of this, I knew that NFTs will change the gaming ecosystem as we know it.

Down the rabbit hole of NFTs I went... I started to learn more about NFTs with the first real Play2Earn game called Axie Infinity. It was a turn-based card game like Slay the Spire with competitive player-vs-player (PVP) content. I started as a scholar for HotPi Cafe which was created by Putra Isyraq (check out his Twitch!). After a few months, I graduated from the scholarship and had Axies of my own!

The OG Scholar Team

The income I earned from Axie Infinity was then used to start buying digital items from other games. Pegaxy became the primary game that kept up to date with and I researched all sorts of games from time to time.  Play2Earn games are still in their infancy and mostly likely would evolve into something more exciting. I found myself in the same situation I was with the Indie Games I played. I was able to play test builds of games and contribute to the development of these games. Exciting times ahead!

What the future holds

And now fast forward to the present, I had my list of games I kept track of and purchased digital items for games I had believed in. The only problem is that I no longer have time to make Youtube videos. Most of the time is used for research purposes. Returning to work-from-office arrangements for my in-real-life (IRL) job after the pandemic didn't help too. There were too many work steps involved and yet so little time.

I knew I still wanted to share my stories and experience, but I needed something a lot simpler. Thus came the idea to write a blog instead. As for YouTube workflow, I was already writing a script for each video. So moving to a blog would be much easier as that would only be the step I would need to take. No longer do I need to make recordings, edit videos, and all that anymore. Hopefully this way I can share a lot more Web3 games with everyone sooner rather than later...

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