My Hideous, Comfortable Gamer Chair Fills Me With Existential Dread

For nearly 20 years, I've been sitting in the same piece of shit: a grey swivel chair that I got at Target as a teenager. It creaks if you look at it; it's covered in enormous amounts of my hair. It does not do my body any favours. Very possibly it has been exacerbating my depression.

This is stupid - my job is almost entirely working on the computer, and I play a lot of video games, so sitting in this chair is the main activity I do, every single day of my life, for far longer than I care to admit.

All this is vastly preferable to the shame of owning a gaming chair, which I do now. Bloggers are offered free shit all the time.

I'll try just about any product that purports to bolster my gaming skills, like esports training apps or sketchy gamer drugs.

The apps and drugs were useless. And I figured the same would go for DXRacer's Valkyrie gaming chair: another product that made big promises wrapped up in tons of gamer branding that wouldn't deliver on its claims; more bullshit from a brand capitalising on the myth of "gamer identity" to sell an overpriced chair that is not any different from the cheap Target chair that I already own.

Also, it costs $US379 ($479). Sadly, the chair is comfortable as hell. Note: The Valkyrie is not available in Australia, although you can browse DXRacer's full offering to Australians here.


The Valkyrie is big. The one they sent me is black and yellow, like a looming pleather bumblebee. In addition to being massive, the Valkyrie is heavy. According to DXRacer, it weighs 30kg.

In its huge box complete with packing materials, it felt like it weighed sixteen tons. I had to carry that box up a flight of stairs to my apartment.

The day the chair arrived, I had just had lunch with my mother, who lifts weights regularly. The two of us carried the chair upstairs together. This sucked, because I had to explain to my buff non-gamer mother that I had received a gaming chair in the mail to review for work, for my definitely real job that she totally understands.

"That sounds cool," she told me. "No, it sucks," I huffed. "It's just a silly idea I had." (Mum - thanks for reading, and for helping carry the chair.)

That weight is, admittedly, a big part of what makes the chair feel good. It has a metal frame and base, unlike my other chair, which has a thin frame coated in plastic.

The Valkyrie is almost impossible to tip over, unlike some other gaming chairs. It's also silent, unlike my old desk chair that moans in protest if its occupant so much as breathes.

Pretty sure I did this right.

The Valkyrie does not come with clear instructions on how to put the chair together, but I made some educated guesses. I know what a chair should look like. The reason it took a while to put together by myself is because, again, it's a massive and heavy chair.

As I put it together and its hulking shape took its final form, I realised how visible a choice I had just made.

I already have a preposterous gaming setup in my office, and even in that context, the Valkyrie sticks out. Over the years, I have accrued some flashy gaming items. There's a computer chassis with clear glass siding to reveal a motherboard that cycles through rainbow colours, and a gaming keyboard with LED lights beneath the keycaps.

There are limits: some of my computer parts came with "Republic of Gamers" stickers, including a fake passport for that supposed realm, but I left those stickers in a box somewhere. I am definitely a citizen of the Republic of Gamers, but I'd prefer not to advertise it.

This massive yellow and black gaming chair is worse than any of that. It takes my set-up to another level. It's not a level I ever thought I'd get to. Its looming five-pointed backrest has become characteristic to almost every gamer chair design across brands, as a Google image search for the phrase "gamer chair" will prove.

It's a chair design seen on esports tournament stages and mega-popular Twitch streams, serving as a hulking visual signifier that the head resting on its pillows takes gaming seriously.

Even without that cultural context, the chair's very design, from its gold embroidered stitching and Triforce-like triangle detailing, screams with gusto: This is a gamer chair. This is a chair a gamer would buy.

Google Image results for "gamer chair."

I can't prove this, but I'm almost certain that the popularity of this style of gaudy gamer chairs exploded alongside streaming and the rise of esports tournaments.

If you're going to sell furniture to gamers, best do it with the one item the audience can invariably see. The chair backrest goes higher than most heads would; conveniently, the brand's name is splashed across the very top, making it visible on any Twitch channel or esports stage.

I love this chair. I don't want to believe that people have to make a $US379 ($479) purchase in order to take gaming seriously. Gaming has enough expensive barriers and cliquey signalling already.

I don't like that competitive gaming in particular has gotten so obsessed with a specific slick image that exudes ugly exclusivity. It's not just that this is a gamer chair. It's also a chair that I associate with people who think they're better than I am. I can feel the sting of both my supposed lack of gaming prowess and class consciousness, here.

It's the type of item that makes you feel hesitant about bringing a date home to see your place. Which would be worse: a date turned off by the sight of the gamer chair behemoth, or a date who is way too into it? Is there a third option? I hope so, because I don't actually want to get rid of this chair.

My hypothetical date could also, conceivably, be turned off by the number of synthesizers I own.

Apart from its monstrous appearance and the fact that this chair is the physical manifestation of the fake gamer identity made by brands, I have nothing bad to say about this chair. Unlike my light-up computer and keyboard, the chair has the benefit of physically helping me. It is utilitarian.

The Valkyrie's customisable comforts include controls for adjusting the height and angle of each armrest, as well as the seat height and tilt of the backrest - unlike my creaky old Target chair, which lets you adjust seat height and nothing else.

My new gamer chair also includes two optional cushions: a lower back cushion at the base of the backrest, and a small neck cushion. I love both, but in particular, I'm shocked that the neck cushion placement happens to rest in just the right spot.

If I sit in the chair and close my eyes, I feel like the chair was built in a laboratory based on a mould of me. When I open my eyes and look at the chair, though, I think the lab was doing an experiment to test the most garish, expensive "gamer" item that could get me to abandon my general principle of rejecting the idea that I need to buy shit from corporations in order to better experience playing video games.

It worked. I have been seduced by this chair.

I don't know if the Valkyrie is the best chair on the market. Perhaps there is a more subtle gaming chair out there. Or perhaps the Valkyrie's showboat nature is just your style.

I clearly have no idea what the heck I'm talking about when it comes to chairs. I think I've made that very clear. But I can tell you that this is a comfortable chair.

Readers, don't be like me. Don't assume that these fancy gaming chairs are full of shit. I had to wait until somebody offered me an actual nice office chair, free of charge, in order to finally learn that sitting in a chair can feel good. I'll get over the shame eventually.


Comments

    Maybe they've fixed this, but the DX racer chair I have (Which is also super comfy) came with busted arm rests. The arm rest had snapped where the rest meets the vertical bar support. I warrantied the arm rests but a month later the replacements snapped too! Hopefully you have better luck, but I'd be careful leaning too hard on the front or back of the rests.

    i had the same swivel chair for 8 years, it broke and was replaced for 2 years by a wooden kitchen chair. I finally bit the bullet and got a racer chair from PAX for half price.

      I’ve eyes off those cheap PAX chairs the last couple of years. I think I’m gonna bite the bullet this year ... if the article thinks a Target chair is bad, try using one of the chairs from the kitchen table.

        try and barter with them if you get a pax one, they end up with hundreds of ones that they supplied for the PC freeplay area that have only been used for 3 days. I got mine halfprice doing that.

    Curious name. Do Valkyries ever sit down?

      No, but they do carry you off to Valhalla. I can't decide if it's genius or just obnoxiously grandiose. Maybe it's both.

    That's good and all, but for the love of God, someone send her a free secondary monitor!

    Far cheaper than and arguably just as ergo-advanced as the Aeron is the Be chair by Formway.

    http://be.formway.com

    Stylee.

      As someone who has tried both the Be and the Aeron, the Be chair felt like an uncomfortable plasticky mess by comparison. I don't think I can justify the cost of the Aeron, but the Be was not comfortable to me at all.

    I bought a similar chair about a year ago, and I too, love how comfortable it is. While not as plush as my prevoius chair, the padding is of far higher quality and offers much better support. I don't think I could ever go back.

    The garish colours in nearly every "gamer's" chair really get on my goat though, so I chose a plain matte black model. I also avoided the huge shoulder "wings", like shown in the picture.

    I ended up getting a DX Racer chair from Pax last year. It was nearly $100 off. I didn't buy it for myself however. I bought it for my Mum who has osteoporosis and 2 compound fractures in her lower lumbar region.
    She uses my computer to play a pixel puzzle ultimate on steam, almost daily. She enjoys it. However my old shitty $30 desk chair offered her no support whatsoever. I don't care how gaudy the chair looks. It is big and it is heavy, but it gives my Mum all the support that she requires. She no longer complains about her back hurting while at the computer. Really, if she wanted to, she could move the back down and have a nap.
    I get that the look isn't for some people, but I feel that having the back support is worth the money and looks.

      The looks are bad but i agree, You don't want back problems.

    My god, that looks ridiculous. I've been around hundreds of race cars, some worth half a million, we use Recaro seats at work in the control room at the biggest something something in the world for the shareholders to admire. None of them come close to the ostentatious, brash decorations on that throne of insecurity. Maybe you can paint it black or something. It looks comfy as hell, but only in a dark room. You can get some really decent chairs that don't have to look like Markipliers haircut.

    personally I use an arm chair and balance the metal mouse pad on the arm rest :D

    Would like to see a *SPONSORED* tag here somewhere.

    Oh my god, I feel the exact same way about my "gamer gear." I too have one of these ridiculous racer seats. The line I drew, was when I was building my PC, and the best motherboard I could have gotten at the time was one that had a heat sink in the shape of a handgun. I bought a different one.

    hey don't knock Gamer chairs man.

    Studies have shown people using them have a remarkable 35% increase in skill.
    80% boost in thinking they are cooler and 1000% increase in being wanky looking.

    Same studies also advise to fork out more for Gamer mouse pads and gamer underwear and Gamer socks for further playing ability.

    I found one on the side of the road walking home from a mates place near Newtown, Syd (thanks, rich gamer who throws shit like this out!). A red n black one that had the most minimal of scuff marks on the arms and aside from that it's pristine. So I don't care how ugly it is if it's a freebie, especially when it is this super comfy too.

    I have a Vertagear SL4000, miles ahead of my old Ikea pleather office chair but I still wonder if it's worth the money despite sitting on it most of my days at home for over a year.

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