Natalie Bird’s three teenage sons are a little perturbed that their mum will be shooting off next month to Los Angeles for the biggest computer games convention in the world — E3.
They are not invited, despite being responsible for getting their mum into gaming.
The Kyabram single mother got into gaming while helping her sons navigate the perils of Call of Duty: Black Ops.
‘‘They used to play Black Ops Zombies and they’d always ask me, ‘Mum, can you help me with this?’ and it led to me hogging the controller,’’ Ms Bird said.
She reportedly quickly surpassed her sons in skill level and graduated from console games to the highly competitive world of online PC player-versus-player gaming.
Twitter and Twitch video streaming accounts followed, as did a following of viewers and fellow gamers who enjoyed Ms Bird’s friendly game-play style and propensity for taking creative screenshots, which she dubs, ‘‘gaming photography’’.
But nothing prepared her for the email she received on April 1.
While engaged in playing Ghost Recon: Wildlands, which she was streaming to a small audience, there was a sudden rush of online attention.
‘‘I was streaming one night, and all these Ubisoft people came on my stream,’’ Ms Bird said.
Ubisoft is the multi-billion-dollar developer of Ghost Recon and many other popular titles including the Assassin’s Creed and Far Cry series.
‘‘They told me to check my email,’’ she said.
To her shock, the email contained an invitation.
‘‘We are pleased to inform you that Ubisoft would like to invite you to join us as a Star Player at E3 2019 in Los Angeles, California,’’ the email read.
‘‘We are inviting you to become a Star Player to thank you for the incredible Twitch streams you provide the Ubisoft community.
‘‘Never in the history of mankind will three boys be this jealous of their mum!’’
Initially taking the email for an April Fools’ Day joke, Ms Bird soon learned the invitation was real and entitled her to free airfares, accommodation and meals, as well as access to the celebrated computer games convention.
Next month, the kids will be packed off to their grandparents while Ms Bird and 50 other guests of Ubisoft, including three Australians, sample the latest technology and games, many not even yet on the market.
The adventures of Ms Bird can be followed on her Twitter account @NatAussie, and her Twitch stream Natalie—Aussie