So I plan on becoming some sort of staple around here, or at least someone for all of you to vehemently argue against, so I figured I would give you an inside look on what makes the Scholarly Gamer so...scholarly? Aha, right. But seriously, let's take a look at my life.
It's really hard to figure out where to start with this, it's been a long haul. My name is Matt, and I am currently finishing up my thesis at Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario. My research focus is on Kyrgyzstan's foreign policy and international relations, and the geopolitical great game that is occurring on their soil as they try and balance relations between Russia, China, and the U.S. To accurately write my thesis, I am also becoming fluent in Russian to read policy documents. I know, I know, super fascinating, right? I bet the only time half of you have heard of Kyrgyzstan, it was preceded by the word "Standoff".
Not quite accurate, but good effort CoD.
When I'm not researching to write my thesis, I work for the Government of Canada in development policy. Not going to tell you much about this, but if you heard about the $3.5 billion dollars Canada recently pledged towards maternal and child health, that's my focus. I also DJ electro, house, and hip-hop in my spare time, which I do not have much of, and I was nominated by The Wire Magazine in 2012 as one of the top DJs in my region. I've opened for a few notable artists, like Sheek Louch and Styles P, D-block represent! You can call me DJ Heretik.
Let''s get Heretikal.
So in a nutshell, that is me. When I was told at a young age to find a focus and stick to it, I decided instead to become a "Matt-of-all-trades", as it were. On top of the things above, I have sang in metal bands, played the original score from The Phantom of the Opera on piano, cooked in kitchens seriously for over 10 years, managed promotions at the biggest club in my city, worked with politicians, and had my head almost caved in with a metal pipe once. Also, I've already been internet famous once, thanks to Myspace. Remember Tila Tequila? Yeah, well she added me. So, in my short 26 years, I've done some living.
I can't forget to mention the person that has made all of this possible and much easier for the past 5 years, and that is my lovely fiancee Ashleigh. She supports all of my plans, even when I want to decorate the entire house with video game statues and paraphernalia. We're accompanied by a ferret and two cats as well, and the five of us make up one loud, messy, and smelly apartment. Also, my cat's mustache is better than yours.
The happy family.
But now, onto the serious stuff. How did I find my way here? What has gaming meant for me in my 26 years? To start, I have to thank my parents for my introduction to gaming. While neither of them were serious gamers, my mother was verging on an addiction to Super Mario 3 for NES when I was born and was quick to get a controller into my hands so I could play with her. I still remember the 3-400 page print out she had that put 21st century walkthroughs to shame. My dad on the other hand, was a big fan of Mike Tyson's Punchout as well as the original Zelda for NES, which I spent countless hours playing. And countless more being stuck in the first ever Lost Woods. They were still the type of parents who would rather I was outside playing, but I have to thank them for my introduction to gaming nonetheless.
As I got older though, the NES was the only console that was in the house, and I had to fight tooth and nail to get a Sega (used and years after it came out) but when it died I was not allowed another. The same thing happened with the N64, I was allowed to buy it if I saved all my money up (again, only years after it was already out) and finally got to experience Mario Kart, Smash Bros, 007 Goldeneye, Tony Hawk Pro Skater, Pokemon Snap, and Perfect Dark, to name some of my favourites. I still own that console, and I will probably be buried with it. This was the trend of my gaming, I think I finally got my original Xbox in like, 2005 or 6? Until I was 19 and moved out to go to university, this was how it went. I got to play new games and consoles at my friend's houses (I can still remember my buddy bringing Gears of War 1 over with his new Xbox 360), but my parents didn't agree with my spending that kind of money on them when they came out.
Skipping ahead a bunch, I bought a ridiculous amount of original Xbox games, bought a PS2 and PS1 off a friend, but still had to wait until late 2009 to get my Xbox 360 when I was able to save the money up. And honestly, that is where I can trace the beginning of my end. Or the start of something new, if I'm to believe Mr. Churchill.
As soon as the 360 was in my hands, I started buying up every game that I had missed over the past few years, spending days on end catching up to the gamer scores my friends had set. This trend continued, and from that point on, almost all of my disposable income went towards new games and consoles, and now I was buying them on Day 1. I don't care what anyone else says, give me all your pre-order bonuses, posters, keychains, special edition statues, I want it all.
Collector or Hoarder? This isn't even all of it!
But I can trace the amalgamation of my intellectual pursuits and gaming to one game in particular, Assassin's Creed 2. I had recently taken a Renaissance history course at university, and written a paper on the Medici family and the Pazzi conspiracy. So when I played the game and realized the absolute historical accuracy that Ubisoft had stuck to (they hired historians to work on the game with developers), even the detail on every single painting and cathedral, I knew that I wanted to combine my historical knowledge with my passion for gaming. (Side note: I actually placed 30th in the world in the Assassin's Creed Brotherhood tournament by Virgin Mobile, while studying for exams).
But I was always focusing on my studies and work first, with gaming as my hobby and passion that filled all the extra time up while I wasn't spinning at clubs or researching. When I moved to Ottawa, I joined up with a gaming company called GO Gaming to start putting on tournaments and hosting viewing events for League of Legends Championships at local pubs. I took the time away from everything to do some really great work for them as Head of Ottawa Operations, but when I had to travel to Kyrgyzstan last summer to do research for my thesis, they decided to "let me go."
Screw 'em, I was lounging in the Badlands anyways.
Obviously, I was pissed. I put a year of work in for them, being paid barely peanuts, and they let me go because the owner thought some other guy would do it better. Needless to say, when I returned to Canada in September, GO was not the presence that I had seen or helped to cultivate previously. Currently, I'm fairly certain GO is on hiatus, because I haven't seen anything from them in a while. Not saying this happened because they let me go, but I tend to know what I'm doing with Gaming events.
I started my own company up following this debacle, and continued to run my events, and recently I have merged with Gamework Canada. We are focusing on Canadian tournaments now, trying to being a real MLG circuit to Canada, because we are hurting up here for competitive LAN play. We've focused on CoD right now because it draws people in, but the plan is to expand to have tons of games featured, including lesser known games, or ones that don't get much tournament play.
As you can see, our first tournament went very well.
So this brings me to the here and now. I eventually want to start doing serious analytic papers on gaming, looking at video games in a similar way that universities do film/media studies. I will address themes of narrative in gaming, such as gender or race, but I also want to explore how gamers interact with their games and what they take away from them.
I am sure I have missed a ton here, but this is the life of the Scholarly Gamer in a nutshell, and some insight as to why I gave myself this moniker. I am really excited to be part of the Destructoid community now, and I plan to use it to expand and hone my analytic and writing skills related to gaming, and hopefully to provide all of you with some thoughtful arguments on gaming.
If you actually made it down to the bottom of this, thanks for reading a little about me and I hope to see you around my blogosphere in the future! I'll leave you with this picture, so that whenever you think of me from here on out, this will be ingrained into your head.
University is fun, children.
The Scholarly Gamer
Edit: Sorry about wonky image sizes, the image uploader won't let me resize.