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Welcome to Acquired Tastes, our bi-weekly newsletter dedicated to the fascinating individuals in the Hashtag Survival community!
Today, we spotlight Maria, AKA Chef Maria- a Twitch streamer and an entrepreneur specializing in Indie Game marketing.
POI: Chef Maria
Hello, folks! I’m Maria, and I like to call myself a baby gamer :)
When I was growing up in communism, I didn’t have much access to gaming, and then, as I turned 18 years old, I left my home and went traveling the world- just around 2017, I googled “survival games,” and I found The Long Dark. I played it for a few weeks, but life got busy, and I forgot about it. When Covid happened, though, I turned to Twitch to find social interactions and remembered that game I used to play years ago, and very soon, I found the most incredible community of people, content creators, and viewers alike, with the same passion and love for The Long Dark.
I watched a lot and was a very active member of that community for a year, which encouraged me to start streaming myself. I started streaming in June 2021, and at that time, I had two games on my Steam account - The Long Dark and Stardew Valley. Now, I have 120 games and 230 friends on Steam. Gaming has changed my life in so many great ways for the better; I am extremely passionate about it these days. I also met my life partner on Twitch: I organized a tournament for the community, and we got a lot of new people who were interested in participating, but you had to be a content creator to join, and so they did. Among them, I have found the person I now wake up to every morning, and I cannot be more grateful. That is also what got me to start my day job; with my experience in marketing and my love for building communities, it’s become my mission to help players find their games and also help games find their players.
Gaming is not just a pastime; it's a gateway to new experiences and meanings.
Survival games have a unique way of drawing me into their immersive and often unforgiving worlds. I love to pew-pew around zombies on the 7 Days to Die server we have with the girls, and it’s defo great therapy #TeamGirls.
Running around in the Green Hell jungle, trying to find coconuts to boil a bit of water before maybe a puma jumps you, together with my life partner, is one of the best times of my life. We are also having a great time immersing ourselves in the unique world of Icarus, and most recently, Sunkeland was great fun as well. I have also enjoyed playing The Infected, Mist Survival, and The Forest.
Check Out Some Games I Love!
The Long Dark - Have you ever been so deep into a game that you forget about everything else? You know, you're just chilling in this made-up world, but it starts feeling super real. Like, it's not just alive because you're in it, but it's like you're there because it's got its own thing going on. Just imagine yourself in the heart of a relentless frozen Canadian winter wilderness. You are all alone. Maybe a pair of snickers. There is no fire, food, or people- nothing but the frozen expanse. And you are embarking on a journey of self-discovery and learning the way, the hard way, that every single choice matters. You look around; there's a strange beauty in this solitude. It's not just visually stunning; it's evocative. And it stirs something within me – a realization of my smallness in the vastness of the universe. The Long Dark is not just a game for me; it's about finding beauty in desolation, strength in vulnerability, and a strong reminder of how stripped of our daily distractions we are left with the most basic yet profound aspect of being human - the instinct to survive. It's raw, it's real, and it's ruthlessly beautiful.
Fallout 3 - Deserves a mention! Set in a post-apocalyptic Washington D.C., it offered a mix of survival, exploration, and story-driven gameplay. Stepping out of Vault 101 for the first time, I was struck by the vast, open-world environment, filled with both dangers and curiosities. The game's world was engaging, from its desolate landscapes to its unique characters. Each area had its own story, adding layers to the overall experience. The main quest had its emotional moments, and side missions often presented interesting, sometimes quirky, challenges. What I appreciated about it was the freedom it gave me to make choices. These choices didn’t just impact the storyline but also how I interacted with the game's world. It was fun to navigate through this post-apocalyptic scenario, making decisions that felt impactful at the moment.
7 Days to Die - an amazing game to play with friends
A Way Out - a really fun co-op game
Runo - tells an original story about forgotten pasts and mysteries. At an age-old family cottage in rural Finland, lost myths, tales, and ancient lore come to life. On the night of Midsummer’s Eve, something stirs the calm scene. What is going on at the cottage?
Some Things I Love
Good Food - As a trained chef, cooking is more than just a hobby for me – it's a form of art and love. There's nothing quite like the joy of cooking up a storm in the kitchen and serving up delicious meals to my life partner. His appreciation and the smiles around the dinner table are my biggest rewards. Whether it's experimenting with new recipes or perfecting the classics, each dish is a culinary adventure. And if you want a delicious dessert, try out this Romanian dish!
Sauna - A sauna session is incredibly rejuvenating, especially after a long, tiring Monday. It's like hitting the reset button on my body and mind. The heat, the steam, the quiet – it's a sanctuary where I can relax, reflect, and emerge feeling refreshed and invigorated. It's not just a Finnish tradition; it's a personal ritual that keeps me balanced. If you are enjoying the sauna, do not forget the sauna whisk!
Marketing is Sexy - Yes, I truly believe that marketing is sexy! It's a dynamic field where creativity meets strategy, and I love it. Crafting campaigns, helping games find their players, and watching a brand come to life through marketing efforts is exhilarating. There's always something new to learn and explore, and that's what keeps my passion for marketing alive. If you want to join my Discord community of content creators and indie devs, you are most welcome!
True Crime - The complexity of the human mind, especially when it comes to true crime, has always fascinated me. There's a certain thrill in unraveling the mysteries, understanding the motives, and diving into the psychological aspects of these cases. True crime stories are like real-life puzzles with high stakes, and they captivate me every time. If you are into it too, if you have not yet checked, I do recommend you producers Jay and Mark Duplass: Wild Wild Country and Evil Genius on Netflix.
Beauty in All Forms - I deeply appreciate beauty in all its forms – whether it's in art, games, or the simple things in life. As a sensitive person, I find myself drawn to aesthetically pleasing environments and experiences. Beautiful landscapes in games, stunning artwork, or even a well-designed room can bring me immense joy. It's about the experience of beauty and the emotions it evokes, and I cherish each of these moments. Come explore them with me on my Twitch channel!