ASHLAND When Emily Mannon was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, she had one, terrifying thought: What happens if I can’t play video games anymore?
She wasn’t upset just because she loves to play: the 28-year-old Ohio woman hopes to make gaming a full-time job someday.
Mannon, works full time for GameStop, is a Twitch video game celebrity with nearly 5,000 followers. She’ll appear at Highlanders Hero Con on Saturday to share her knowledge.
She said she streams her game playing for others to watch; if they enjoy it, they can donate or subscribe to enable her to continue to stream. She said she started streaming nearly three years ago.
“My boyfriend and I had just moved and got way better Internet, so I said why not try and see if I like it,” she said. “I had always watched people stream and even supported some of my favorites, so I set everything up and I hit ‘Go Live.’”
The youngest of four children with two older brothers, Mannon enjoyed hand-me-down game systems as a child; her favorite was Fable on Xbox. But she won’t say years of experience have made her a good enough gamer to draw a following for her skill.
“I would have to say that people watch me because I make them laugh and forget about the pains and terrible things that they may be dealing with,” she said. “I’m like an escape for people, and in turn, they may donate or subscribe to my channel to show their appreciation.”
“There are some games that I play that I am pretty knowledgeable about and people watch me to get better and learn things. Then, there are the games like Fortnite that I tend to be a little potato at and occasionally fall off the map or fall to my death, but people find it funny and watch anyways.”
Being a woman gamer has never been a problem for Mannon.
“More and more women are playing video games. I still get the occasional ‘Do you actually play video games?’ question at work. And the answer is ‘Yes, and I probably play more than you.’”
When gaming, she said, it’s a little different.
“I get the occasional troll telling me to go make them a sandwich, to which I respond, ‘I’m busy winning. Go make me one,’ but those are few and far between,” she said. “Most men are very welcoming and are glad to see a girl playing video games who is good at the game and knowledgeable.”
When she appears at Highlanders Hero Con, she will provide visitors with a sample of what she does.
“I will be there streaming all day with my full setup, so people can see what I do, kinda behind the scenes,” she said, noting she will play a variety of games, including Fortnite, Overwatch, PUBG, Monster Hunter and Destiny 2, and she might participate in a question-and-answer session.
As for her arthritis, she said she has found medication that keeps it under control and she’s able to play. She said she’s delighted to continue to enjoy gaming and to continuing bringing joy to others.
“I have a lot of people come into my channel because they feel welcomed and wanted, that they have value that they may not think they have,” she said.
Mannon can be followed on Twitter or Twitch by searching Mystiquesiren.
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