I'm Adam Bankhurst and my dream is to work in the video game industry. I have created a website/podcast called The Gamer's Advocate and it's been one of the most rewarding expereinces of my life. Being able to take my love of video games and make it into something is unlike anything else. I am huge fan of anything Chipotle, Hibachi, or Disney related and some of my favorite games are Mass Effect 2, Ocarina of Time, and FFVII.
What does this seemingly innocent name mean to you? For me, it reminds me of a childhood darkened by bullying. It recalls days of when I would fake being sick to not have to go to school and endure the ridicule and name calling that so many kids in this world have to deal with each and every day. It was a tough time in my life, yet one that I feel helped shape me into the man I am today. That's why when Minority Media announced their newest game, Silent Enemy, I was immediately intrigued.
Vander Cabellero, founder of Minority Media, was the inspiration behind the studio's previous title Papo & Yo, in which the story dealt with Vander's real life experience with his alcoholic father. In Silent Enemy, design director Ruben Farrus brings in a history of bullying that affected him at a young age and wants to put this issue under the spotlight.
You inhabit a world that is in a state of permanent winter and are haunted by crows who are the only species thriving during this time. A "mythical legend" of spring is talked about as a fairytale and is a seemingly impossible dream. Throughout this adventure, you must confront these crows (see: bullies) and try to bring spring to a world that has been covered in darkness and cold for so long.
This scenario is a perfect metaphor for the feeling you have while you are the victim of a bully. It seems as though no end in sight and each day is a constant struggle. These exact feelings are what I had to endure during my childhood.
I had a very good life growing up. A few very close friends, amazing family, and hobbies that I truly loved. I was a huge fan of video games (obviously), Power Rangers, Ninja Turtles, etc. Nothing too out of the ordinary, right? Apparently wrong, because these interests caused me to be the target of a bully we will name Crow for purposes of this story.
As I mentioned in the beginning of this article, I would be called Cindy Lou, I would have items stolen from me or would have Crow and a group of guys harass me after, and even during, school. This went on for at least 3 years and really showed no sign of stopping. Until one day when I finally stood up for myself.
That's me in the middle of the top row
It was after school one day when Crow caught up with me, put his arm around me and said, "Adam, I'm sorry for how I've treated you and it's really wrong what I've been doing." He then proceeded to sweep his leg under mine in an attempt to throw me to the ground. Luckily, I managed to dodge his attack and just remember taking my book-bag and slamming it against him. I immediately ran off, through the playground, and thought to myself, "I did it...I truly did it."
After that powerful moment, I decided I wouldn't be bullied anymore. I took up football, got greater support from friends and family, and decided to stop being a victim. It ended up working very well and not long after that, Crow began to leave me alone. As it turns out, eventually we would both be on the football team together and grew to respect each other. I grew beyond what Crow had done and knew I was better for it.
In all honesty, this experience helped me become who I am today. As horrible as it was, it did make me stronger. It made me appreciate life and people and know with a burning passion that I didn't want this to happen to anyone ever again.
This exact reason is why I respect Minority Media so much and am excited for this title. They are taking this issue and giving you a medium to experience it without the true consequences. It will allow us to look in a mirror and realize who we are inside and determine if we are the crow or the boy/girl just trying to live life and be themselves.
"You cannot bring someone to someplace you haven't been yourself."
I don't think he could have said it any better. In the above video, you can see that most of the developers on this game have been affected by bullying. They are trying to tell a very powerful and poignant tale, and with real life experience setting the sails, I think they just might be on the right path.
It's important to realize that there is a spring at the end of every winter, no matter how cold and dark that winter may be. It's just a matter of always moving forward. By taking a stand and being brave enough to speak up about this issue, Silent Enemy may just be another piece in the puzzle to helping all those in need.
I, and I'm sure Cindy Lou would agree as well, can not wait to see what Minority Media has in store for us.
[b]Are you excited for this game? Were you affected by bullying? I understand it's personal, but by speaking up and talking about this issue, others may be helped in the process. We are all in this together and can each help in the fight against bullying.
Adam Bankhurst is one of the co-hosts of The Gamer's Advocate. Send him all your thoughts or questions to [email@example.com]firstname.lastname@example.org[/email]. You can also follow him @adambankhurst