Throughout my life, I always get asked the question of “What are you interested in?” The usual response I would give would be video games. As a kid, not too many people batted an eye to that response. That response seemed to change when I grew to the magical adult age of eighteen. The responses changed to ones of disappointment or concern. Even to this day I get people that brush off my interest as a silly hobby. Sometimes I get the follow up question as to what I would like to do for a career. At the age of twenty six years old I tell them that I really still am not sure. All I know is that I want to do something that involves video games; whether that means working someday in the industry, writing, making videos or even working in a brick and mortar store. The most common response is “Why video games? You should go into making apps! That is where the real money is.” My brain will turn on autopilot as I ponder the question presented to me. Why video games?
Back when I was four or five years old, my father introduced me to Super Mario Bros. I don’t remember exactly how I felt taking the controller in my hands for the first time or how difficult it might have been to learn how the game worked. What I do know is that moment defined my life. Ever since that day, video games have been my passion and interest. My brother and I grew up playing games on primarily Nintendo consoles. We started off on the Super Nintendo and enjoyed that amazing library of first and third party titles. Some of my favorite memories come from playing Mario Kart with my brother and father in battle mode. We yelled and hollered at each other as we chased each other in the blocky arenas. That continued onto the Nintendo 64 with Mario Kart 64 and 007 Goldeneye. We would stay up long past bedtime trying to beat each other as we would play just one more game multiple times in a single night. It only grew more intense when we were given an Xbox. We spent countless hours playing Halo and NFL Street. Actually, when I think about it, most of the good time memories I have with my family revolve around those long Friday or Saturday nights. Our family did a lot of big trips and such when we were young to create fun everlasting memories, yet it is the little memories that stick out the most when I think back.
Gaming started as fun hobby when I was young but the passion only blossomed as I grew older. I would get into reading magazines about games as I would read previews, reviews, coverage of big events and even read letters from other people. I would typically be found reading Game Pro when I wasn’t playing games. I would take the magazine to school to share it with my friends and discuss what we were excited for or argue over what game seemed better. Through these types of interactions, I made plenty of friends through the years. We would play Mario Party, Halo, Mario Kart, Mortal Kombat and Smash Bros.
If you don’t know, I was born in Florida before my family decided to move us up here to Tennessee. I was devastated when I found out that news. My brother and I had heard of LAN parties but had never actually been to one. So, the week prior to the move, my brother and I got together three friends each. One of our friends brought over a second Xbox and we had our very first LAN party. We played both Halo and Halo 2 for hours before it was sadly time for them to head home. That is the last memory I have of them. I lost touch with all of them after the move up sadly and haven’t heard from them since.
Moving away from all of my family and friends was hard for me. It was the first time that we had moved anywhere and moving as soon as I was going into high school made that harder for me. Thankfully that didn’t last long when my parents gave my brother and I a DS. It was awesome to play Mario 64 on the go, along with Mario Kart. My brother and I would take our DSs with us to play on the bus ride home and back from school. Well, we noticed a couple other people playing their DS on the bus and before long the bus ride became a quick Mario Kart tournament between friends. I remember throwing a burned copy of the Jet Set Radio Future soundtrack in my CD player as Funky Dealer blasted and we raced along rainbow road. From then on out, I met a bunch of friends and we have had large gaming parties. We may have drifted apart from each other since then but I wouldn’t change any of the good times for anything else. If it wasn’t for Mario Kart, I wouldn’t have met some awesome friends. In fact, if it wasn’t for my love for video games, I probably wouldn’t have met a lot of my friends. Thanks to one of those friends, I found my first gaming community.
I joined Destructoid’s community back in late 2008. After being a lurker on the front page for a bit I decided to go into the basement and introduce myself. I met a wide array of people with varying personalities. The person that stood out the most to me was Gina. She introduced me to the then popular Friday Night FIghts. From there, I met a lot of the other members of the community. I remember playing multiple games with ChillyBill, MrAndyDixon, CorduroyTurtle, KidSteezy, LawofThermalDynamics, vApathyv, Qalamari, _knutaf and so many more. I met so many good friends though Destructoid that I enjoyed playing with and talking that the site became my internet home. It was here that I saw people turn their passion for games and the overall industry into a creative outlet. I saw other enthusiasts create songs, drawings and writing pieces about games or people they cared about. This is when I decided that I could take my drive and passion for video games and do something with it. So, I did what I knew how to do. I wrote.
I wrote my first community blog here on Destructoid back in March in the year 2010. It was around the Brutal Legend controversy about the misleading advertisements that seemed to advertise it as a hack and slash game when it was actually a real time strategy game with small samplings of the hack and slash formula. I wrote how people were researching games wrong and should look at all materials released before deciding to purchase a game. After that, I wrote consistently for a solid year. There were short fun pieces around the friends I made along with a couple reviews and opinion articles. I also had been enjoying playing Friday Night Fights with my friends so much that I decided to contribute to process by putting up the sign up thread and blog detailing the hosts. Thanks to my continual involvement in the community, I decided to go to my first gaming convention. I went to PAX Prime 2012 thanks to the help of the above mentioned Dtoid members. I was able to stay and visit those magnificent bastards in person. Many embarrassing pictures and videos were taken during that short weekend. I also stood in many long lines to play games like Dishonored and Metal Gear Rising Revengeance. I even had the opportunity to wear the giant green helmet myself for a while as I was navigated around the show floor. I took a few pictures but you could tell that I was so nervous and awkward as hell. It was a great time where I got to meet the friends that I got to play games with in person. I hope to someday go back and revisit those friends in the future but have yet to sadly get that opportunity.
While I kept up the Friday Night Fights posting for a while, my personal writing teetered off a bit as I began to hang out with my friends more often outside of school. That briefly changed later on when I heard an up and coming small game site was looking for writers. I jumped on it with excitement and was accepted. Before I knew it I was writing news articles and even a review! There were other fellow Destructoid friends that were on the site as well. Sadly however, my contributions to the setup of Friday Night Fights seemed to get in the way. The issues I was personally facing with my parents splitting up also contributed to me leaving shortly after I joined. I wasn’t thrilled or interested in doing nothing but making gaming just a fun hobby.
In between those years of silence, a lot has happened. I gained new friends and lost old ones. I have bounced around from place to place, wondering if I will end up in the streets multiple times. More recently, I found a fantastic woman to call my wife and moved onto her school campus together. There have been a lot of downs with a few high peaks littered through here and there. I showed my wife my previous writings and she was ecstatic that writing about my favorite hobby was one thing I enjoyed doing. While she might not share the same enthusiasm I have about my hobby, she sees how much I enjoy it. She encourages me to enjoy what I like and go beyond with it. Do something with my hobby and make it more than just that.
So, I look back to the question of why video games? Why would I in particular follow something that seemingly has no importance or impact on the greater world? I choose to follow it because I believe that video games have a massive impact on the entire world as well as myself. It matters to those that are close that want to see me succeed and enjoy what I do. I have no idea where I will be in the next year or even ten years for that fact. I have no idea where I will end up with my passion in video games. I could continue to write, make videos, work for a company or work in a brink and mortar store. None of those could come true as well. I plan on writing more often in the coming year to have something to show to myself that I can do something more than just make gaming a hobby. The least I can do is try.