I’m Not a Gamer, but I AM a Replayer!

by | Mar 14, 2021 | Lifestyle, Retro Replay | 14 comments

As I write this, it is the night before the premiere episode of “Level 4!” That’s how we refer to the seasons of the show around here. Pretty funny, huh? Since Level 1, I have learned a lot about the expectations that sometimes come from being a Replayer. 

When I get to know Replayers for the first time, I’m often asked, “What console do you have? Are you a PlayStation or Xbox person?”

I typically reply, “Neither. The last time I played a console was when Nintendo 64 first came out.” Then I imagine their eyes fluttering like butterflies in disbelief, not about the console, but that I might be the same age as their mom. To be honest with you, I can’t believe it, either.

If they do ask why I haven’t had a console since the N64, I have to give that same answer I’ve given countless times before:

“I have cerebral palsy and I’m unable to use the standard controller.”

This answer often leaves people at a loss for a moment. I imagine them staring down at their shoes looking for the right response, then eventually raising their head to see a very short woman in a wheelchair before apologizing in a childlike whisper.

Here’s me, the non-gamer.

But I reassure them: “Oh, that’s alright, I live the life of a V.I.P.” When they look at me puzzled, I explain, “I come with my own set of wheels and parking space, not to mention I always have the best seat in the house!” And hopefully, they laugh.

Other questions follow from Shana’s Replayer FAQ:

“Well, what games do you have on PC?” – I don’t have a PC, I have a Mac.

“Then, if you’re not playing games, why do you watch Retro Replay?” – Well, I’m glad you asked! (And that, ladies and gentlemen, is my impression of Victor Sullivan!)

Rob Paulsen, an actor who has given life to such characters as Yakko Warner of Animaniacs and Pinky of Pinky and The Brain, has a wonderful motto about life:

“Laughter is the best medicine, you can’t OD and the refills are free!” 

That, my friends and fellow Replayers is the answer… 

When I said I’ve watched Retro Replay from Level 1, I mean I watched the very first episode when it aired. Before there was live chat and membership. I remember that night vividly… (insert dream sequence here) 

 

May 10, 2018

I had been in excruciating pain for a little over a week, and it was starting to affect my sleep. I planned to go to bed early, but the knife-piercing pain had other ideas. So I decided to peruse YouTube to find something to distract me. Just as I was about to watch my favorite Twisted Toonz video… (insert angelic choir) in my “recommendations” was  RETRO REPLAY – Amazing Spider-man vs. Nolan & Troy!

Nolan’s bad day with Spider-Man.

Now, if you were to ask Nolan about this episode, he would say, “I don’t want to talk about it!”  

Newer Replayers might ask, “Oh, is that when he broke the TV?” No, that will happen later.

The episode had me laughing so hard, needless to say, I forgot all about my pain, at least for a little while. It was then I realized that this was something I needed, and gave me something to look forward to every week no matter how bad my pain was. By the end of Level 1, my pain had been managed, and I was slowly on the mend.

 

Level 2 added something new… Live Chat!

At first, I wasn’t too sure if I wanted to join in chat because of a lack of video game knowledge. They were all talking about a game called Uncharted and a guy named Nathan Drake. I, of course, had no idea who or what they were talking about. Then when asked, “What’s the last game you played?” boy, the reaction I got when I said, “Duck Hunt,” made me think that perhaps I was too old to chat with these young whippersnappers!

So, for a little while, I lurked until I found a way to make it fun.

No one paid attention, so I waited…

Someone else typed, “30 mins you guys.” That encouraged me to continue.

That did it! I broke the chat… into laughter! For a while, there were some that thought the automated countdown was something Drew enabled in the chat. That, to me, is the greatest compliment.

 

March 15, 2020:  A date I shall always remember…

Nice tail!

That was quite an enjoyable day! I wore a white poet’s shirt and black vest with skull and crossbones leggings, and the “pièce de résistance,” a fishtail! (Seriously, check out the photo here.) The reason for the ensemble: I am a volunteer with a non-profit, and I was at an event to help raise money for it. (I’ll tell you that story later.)

That was my last social event before the pandemic because of the nature of my disability: it puts me in the high-risk category. Solution: self-isolation. Not knowing how long it would last, at first I thought it would be a great opportunity to let the creativity flow, and there’s always Retro Replay, right?

 

Level 3 changes like the tide of the sea… and adds Zoom meetings.

By April 2020, Retro Replay was in official lockdown. The hosts of Retro Replay were in their homes, and, through the internet, they showed us some special, never-before-seen content.

Then, one day, I saw tweets from other Replayers: half were sad, and half were angry and the rest were a mixture of both. Later that afternoon I got the email that Troy Baker was leaving Retro Replay. I’ll be honest when I read that the first time it was like a punch to the gut. The show for me was my “happy place,” and I love both Nolan and Troy like family and always will. At the time, I wondered if the show would survive?  

2020 can just go flush itself down the toilet!

While this was swirling around me, and my days began to blur, a lifeline was thrown to me in the form of a tweet from none other than @watery_tart19 herself, Brandy Brown. “The Happy Hour,” as it came to be known, became a virtual hang-out for all Replayers! Ok, so it’s not the holodeck in Star Trek, but it’s the best we can do. I have met people from all over the country and around the world, something that would not have happened pre-COVID! I can’t really tell you what goes on at the happy hour, but… let’s just say they made me their “designated driver!” 

See, I told you I had the shirt!

Why are you laughing? It’s true! Look, I have a shirt to prove it!

Despite having the happy hour before the show on Thursdays (shameless plug) as well as Nolan, Drew, PJ, Paul, Stephanie, and Pagan picking the show up by the bootstraps and knocking it out of the park, I still felt stagnate in the pool of creativity. That’s when another lifeline was thrown, and this time it came from Nolan North himself via Cameo from another Replayer named Melanie Steiner. Even now, tears are welling… words cannot express how much that video has meant to me. Since that video was sent to me, I have written 5 poems, and 3 have been published! I watch the video almost daily to keep me motivated. Spring turned to summer, then to fall. Sometime in October (it’s my birthday, too), I received another video message from Nolan! This time it came from Charlotte Merritt through Retro Replay.

My hope for you, dear reader, is that you binge-watch all 3 seasons of Retro Replay to truly appreciate the show and its growth, and thereby see the growth within the community. Because it’s the people within the community that make the show possible. 

I also hope I was able to convey the love I have for Retro Replay and why I am very proud to say, “I am not a gamer, but I am a Replayer all the way!”

Who out there is a Replayer but not a big gamer? Share your own story in the comments!

 

14 Comments

  1. Michael Timmons

    Shana, I love it! Very well written, so full of emotion, and even funny! Articles like this just add to the list of reasons why I’m proud to be a Replayer.

    Reply
    • Shana Martin

      Thank you for the kind words! I really appreciate it!

      Reply
  2. Avatar

    I really love this article
    You have an incredible story telling skills
    Good luck with your writing

    I am a replayer and I do play games but I felt what you saying

    love you all
    stay safe

    Reply
    • Shana Martin

      Thank you so much!

      Reply
  3. Candace Bissonette

    Shana! Congrats on your first article! I’m so glad to have met your through Retro Replay because you have such a great personality!

    Reply
    • Shana Martin

      Thank you so much Candace! I really appreciate your support.

      Reply
  4. snapefantasy

    You are such a huge part of this community, Shana. Happy hour wouldn’t be the same without our Designated Driver!

    Reply
    • Shana Martin

      Love you too Shallot! lol

      Reply
  5. Michelle Holstine

    This was so beautiful, and so accurate, and so well-written! Congratulations on your first article, and I CANNOT WAIT to see more!! I love it, and really felt everything you said!!

    Reply
    • Shana Martin

      Thank you so much!

      Reply
  6. Brandy Brown

    Oh my dear friend! I am so happy that I had this little idea of trying to get as many people together as I possibly could through lockdown. It was a new and scary experience for so many people. I am so happy you saw my tweet and truly honored that you have become our designated driver. Words cannot express what you mean to me and to this community. Much love.

    Reply
    • Shana Martin

      love you too!

      Reply
  7. Luis Reza

    Fashionably late to the party, but wanted to tell you how proud I am of you and this GREAT article! Always a bag full of joy and hell on wheels is my good friend Shana! You have a talent for writing and a way of expressing yourself that is truly unique. Keep up the great work!

    Reply
    • Shana Martin

      Luis:

      knowing how talented you yourself are, your words really mean a lot to me thank you!

      Reply

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