There was a moment at PAX West this year, as I was walking back to my hotel late in the day with a tape recorder full of interviews, when the realization hit me like a ton of bricks: "I am actually writing about video games because that is my job now."  That feeling hasn’t gone away since -- I have to keep pinching myself to be sure this is real.

It is real though, and I feel incredibly fortunate to be working in this field, and with the staff here at Game Informer. There aren’t many places to work where you can round a corner and bump into a full-size suit of T-51b power armor, or where the breakroom has a Wii U and a big-screen dedicated to Twitch streams.

At 36, I’m probably a bit long in the tooth when it comes to Game Informer interns. But games have been a fixture in my life as long as I can remember, and even as I’ve studied and worked in different fields, games have stayed with me.

Here’s an example. In 2003, I had just enlisted in the Army after finishing up my journalism degree. I was at my first duty assignment, a little post called Camp Red Cloud in South Korea. I spent my days writing stories about military training exercises and community events, and at night in the barracks we’d hook up as many Xboxes as we could for massive Halo deathmatch sessions. But what really blew my mind back then was turning on Korean television and finding not one but two broadcast channels devoted entirely to StarCraft.

The concept baffled me back then – wait, people want to just watch other people play games? – and now it’s perfectly normal. Everyone knows about Twitch. Twitch has collectively beaten Pokémon Red. Bob Ross is on Twitch.

Later, at Fort Knox, I got to talk with Army Recruiting Command staff who were working on the America's Army Proving Grounds game, and on how to use it as a recruiting and education tool. At EPA, researchers were using smartphone technology similar to that found in Pokémon Go and Ingress to track users' daily exposure to pollutants.

This is an exciting time to be writing about games, I think. Modern games are telling complex stories about interesting characters, branching out into new technologies like virtual reality, and they’re with us on our phones and handhelds as we go about our days. More people play games today than ever before, and they’re having a noticeable impact on culture. Actually, scratch that - games aren't "impacting" culture, they are culture now, for any reasonable definition of the word.

I think that’s great. As a medium, I think we’ve only glimpsed at what games are capable of doing, and I couldn’t be happier to be here now to see what happens next, and to write about it as it happens. When Pokémon Go launched this summer, I felt we were getting a taste of what games might be able to accomplish in the near future: helping to restore lost "social capital," the loss of which Robert Putnam wrote about in his landmark book, "Bowling Alone."

While I'm here, my number one goal is to learn -- not only from the talented team of writers and editors here at Game Informer, but also from you, the Game Informer community. You can find me on Twitter at @iboudreau, or hit me up on email to let me know how I'm doing.