I am no fan of New Year’s resolutions; I feel that anyone who succeeds with one would have succeeded at their goal any other time of the year. Any resolution we make and truly intend to keep does not need to be made at the start of a calendar year. However, this year I feel inclined to make one and to share it with everyone else in hopes you will feel inspired to join in my cause.

About six years ago, shortly after I started working for the company I am still with, my first son was born. I was ill prepared for the effort involved in raising a kid, especially in those first few years of life when he depended on my wife and I for everything. Those were some horribly sleepless nights, for a number of reasons. One day at work, I accidentally dozed off at my desk for a moment and was seen by my boss. A couple of hours later, I was called in to the conference room with my boss and two other managers (not necessarily mine) and was given a lecture on how my “late night gaming” was affecting my job performance. At first, I was angry. Not at the fact that I had been called out and lectured for dozing off at work, I deserved that. I was angry that they had stereotyped me into an obsessive gamer whose entire life revolves around video games and ignores the other important facets of life. I stewed over the issue for quite some time. For a long while, I stopped mentioning video games at work and removed every possible trace of the fact that I was a gamer. I truly became ashamed of being one because of the image I apparently portrayed to my coworkers.

I do not believe my situation is unique, I think many of us have felt some variation of a stereotyped gamer.  We are passionate about our hobby, much the same as a rabid fan of a football team or a person who plays golf religiously. As such, I feel we all have a responsibility to change the world’s perception of our hobby.

Popular society and politicians have built their own walls around us by stereotyping our hobby as being for children, irresponsible adults, and stoners. They believe that the hobby is something to be outgrown into an obsession over sports, the stock market, or political arguments. These walls are tall, there is no question, and breaking them down can seem an impossible task at times, but what can we do about it?

Though a funny episode, I hate this being everyone's first thought when I say I am a gamer

Amongst the mass of graffiti that once adorned the Berlin Wall was a simple phrase that has stayed with me for a long time, it read: “Walls are not forever.” The phrase itself is not one that tends to invoke any kind of epiphany, but it caused me to spend some time pondering the concept of walls during my recent Christmas vacation.

During that time, I came to the realization that it is my responsibility, just as it is yours, to help change the perception of the next generation of gamers. I never should have tried to hide the concept that I am a gamer; I was wrong to do so and improperly represented my fellow gamers. In the future, I will not hide this fact and will strive to prove to those around me that gamers are just as much a benefit to our society as any other person. If I can change the perception of even a single person, I will have succeeded.

I hope you will join with me, as we begin a new year, in seeking to change the perception of gamers so that the generation that follows us will be judged by the content of their character and not the form of entertainment they choose to pursue. To those who already do this, you have my sincere appreciation, and I hope you will continue to represent us well.