Celebrity can come fast, especially when it is through random chance.
That is the case for Rachael Adamson, a young woman living in the United Kingdom who found herself an instant celebrity because of a single mistake by a corporate giant. In this case, the giant was Nintendo, and the mistake involves the long-awaited Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp for the Nintendo Switch.
Earlier this month would have been the official release of Advance Wars for the Switch, an enhanced remake of the first two games in the series from the Game Boy Advance era. However, real-world circumstances have seen the game delayed for about a year. For many, this was understandable, if disappointing, to learn. For Adamson, it would become so much more, when she discovered that her pre-ordered copy of Advance Wars was not only pre-downloaded but playable.
"When I first discovered I could play it, I was more confused than anything else at first," said Adamson, in an interview with TechRaptor. "I was well aware of the release delay and thought, 'Either this is a mistake or it's been subtly released without warning.' I think things changed when I was looking on my (secondary) Switch and was unable to find it for download on the eShop or anywhere else."
Adamson details the entire chain of events in her personal blog, where she details that her pre-order of Advance Wars was already paid for, and she had already used a redeemed download code to access the game on launch. Nintendo had already assured Adamson that her code is valid, but it turned out that the code pre-downloaded the game for Adamson, allowing her to play it on the original launch date of April 8.
"Aside from the confusion, I was really excited!" said Adamson. "I was looking forward to this, especially as it's a game I played a lot when I was a kid. When I woke up and checked Twitter the next day after the tweet I made about it, I was in shock. I didn't realize I was the only one with access and was expecting other tweets with people playing it. I was talking to one of my brothers about what happened, and he linked me to YouTube videos with thousands of views of people discussing the tweet. I think at that point I started to realize what a big deal it was."
Adamson’s original tweet, which has since been deleted, would become a major point of discussion and speculation online for a few days. Several news outlets immediately began covering the event and attempting to contact her for more information, while hundreds of people on Twitter bombarded her with questions regarding the game and its status. This was a position she was not wholly prepared for.
"I've cut down on my social media use over the years and don't go on Twitter that often, so going from interacting with hardly anyone one day to thousands the next, having people making videos about the situation, and websites making articles... It really had an effect on me," she said.
The Highs and Lows of Celebrity
Adamson is very open about her struggles with anxiety and depression, including putting a warning on her blog about her own battles of suffering from mental illness. She has written several posts on the subject and speaks candidly about it even in the face of her newfound fame.
"I have social anxiety disorder and I've been diagnosed with EUPD [emotionally unstable personality disorder], so I'm extremely concerned with what people think of me," she explained. "Lots of people were really nice about the whole thing and genuinely just wanted to know some things about the game, but it didn't help having people telling me I was a liar, faking footage, or had hacked the game. That really messed with my head, I felt the need to even go on and try to fight back against claims like that because I so desperately don't want people to think negatively of me for this."
Adamson pointed out that her limited interactions on Twitter have also been difficult in the past few days, mostly because she simply wants to be as helpful as possible to those around her.
"Even having people like yourselves asking questions," she said about TechRaptor, "I just want to be as helpful as I can. At the same time, I've never been in a position where people have been asking me about things for articles, so it's all a very strange new experience."
It is an experience that Adamson does enjoy to some degree, becoming a major focus for enthusiast gaming media and coming into contact with many kind gamers within the gaming community.
"Aside from playing the game (and actually seeing it's playable, I had my doubts for a while when they kept delaying it!), I would say it's been a positive for me being able to interact with the community." she said. "I'd also be lying if I said it wasn't pretty cool being featured on websites I visit for news myself or having videos made about me, even if I didn't actually do anything."
Through all of this though, her love for games -- even niche titles like Advance Wars -- shines through.
I haven't played Advance Wars in about 20 years," said Adamson. "But I was looking forward to it, especially seeing the updated graphics for the Switch. Getting to play the game has been great fun, and while working through it, I was reminded of why I liked the game originally. It's been a while since I've played a proper strategy game that I need to give my full attention to!"
Adamson also savored playing the game for as long as she could.
"I'd love to be able to say I've gotten through all of it or just skipped into the second game to have a look at the new COs everyone keeps mentioning to me, but I really don't want to spoil it for myself," she said. "I can't give too much away but I'm sure everyone's excited about Online. And Hachi's Shop! Definitely one for the completionists."
Nintendo has already replied to Adamson in private about the game, providing her with a full refund for her purchase and, on April 14, removed her access to Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp. In one week, the experience took Adamson on a rollercoaster that made her, in at least one corner of the internet, gain an experience she never thought she would have.
Like all celebrities, using that fame and platform becomes part of the job. For full disclosure, we asked Adamson if she had anything to say publicly for anyone who may have gone through the same anxiety and mental health issues as she has.
"Regarding mental health, it was only as I approached 30 that things started to pick up for me," she said. "School days were really tough, and even after school when I became a recluse for a good 10 years or so. I did wonder at times if life like that was worth living. The advice I'd give to anyone else struggling with depression and anxiety is to hold on. It sounds cheesy but it really does get better."