I am a lifelong gamer. I don't mean I've been playing video games all my life, though I have. I mean, I have been a gamer all my life. I subscribed to Nintendo Power by the time I was eight years old and I have been obsessively following gaming news ever since. (Thanks a lot internet) I always knew from a young age that I wanted to work in the video game industry in one way or another. Yet despite this, it took me until the age of twenty-six to actually take any steps towards achieving that goal.

In high school, I made it clear to my parents and teachers that this was my desired career. I wrote short stories based on games, drew video game inspired art, conceptualized games on paper and even my final senior project (a year-long graduate requirement) was a study about violence in video games. However, I never felt like I had a future in gaming. I didn't have artistic talent or computer programming skills. No, but I did know that I liked to write. I started a high school newspaper and featured a gaming column in it every week. I still didn't figure it out. I still hadn't realized that what I liked to do more than play video games was write about video games.

Humble Beginnings

Aside from lacking the computer programming or artistic chops to hack it in game development, I also never received any encouragement from my family. Let me make this clear. My family is my life. I do everything to please my parents (often to my detriment). So while I was able to enjoy Mario Kart and Wave Race with my father, he always scoffed at my desire to work in video games, often saying, "When you're older you will grow out of this habit." He said it so often that I even started to believe it. I don't mean to make my father sound terrible, because he is an amazing Dad, he just sadly never quite grasped just how important gaming is to me.

Nevertheless, I abandoned my dream of working in games after spending a year of national service in the Boston branch of Americorp's City Year program. That program gave me a sense of worth and steered my life towards the pursuit of helping people less fortunate than myself. The next eight years of my life were spent working in schools and with people with special needs. My wife at the time, Kristy, (yes I got divorced at the young age of 26) encouraged me to pursue this passion and I eventually worked my way up from a part-time per diem position to being the Case Manager and Supervisor of the largest program in the company. While I loved what I was doing, I also had a nagging feeling that this wasn't to be my life's pursuit.

Kristy and I had talks about my desire to work in games, and while I had her blessing, I never had a good chance to pursue it. I owned (and still own) a house and had responsibilities that prohibited me from returning to school or moving out to San Francisco or Seattle (which is where I believed the best game related opportunities were). So again, during my life with Kristy, I shelved that idea.

Then, we got a divorce. My life turned seemingly upside down as I struggled to make end's meet and was back on the dating scene after eight years out of it. Around the time I met my current girlfriend (who by the way has been more supportive than I could have dreamed), I discovered Game Informer Online. I started blogging occasionally in November of 2010. I never could have imagined just how incredible this community would be. Before I started blogging here, I didn't know that I wanted to be a games journalist. I just knew I wanted to work in the games industry in some way, rubbing elbows with the big shots at E3 and beyond.

Then it hit me. Finally! Praise God, Jesus, Allah, Buddha and Miyamoto! I had figured it out. I don't know when it finally hit me but when I wrote my piece about Greg Kasavin and Bastion (I know I mention it a lot, sorry) it just sealed the deal in my mind. I spent hours every day pouring through information on Bastion, Kasavin and Supergiant Games in preparation for the interview with him. I didn't want to screw it up. I never could have anticipated that not only did I not mind doing all that research, I actually really enjoyed it. On Fourth of July weekend, while camping with my girlfriend I brought along a note pad and jotted down notes while listening to my recording of the interview on my iPod. I lobbied quotes back and forth with her in an attempt to pluck out the best parts of the interview and eventually earned myself some satisfying hand cramps in the process.

Then this Sunday night, again without power from hurricane Irene my girlfriend and I (her name's Taryn by the way, she does have one) went to our friend's house to use their electricity and internet. I had been all set to write a blog about the work conditions at game studios until that stupid storm hit. So that night I took advantage of their internet connection and while my buddy played Mortal Kombat I simply watched and spent about six hours ignoring Taryn and our hosts while researching, writing and editing that blog. I had a blast, and the feedback some of you gave me made it all the more worth the effort.

This is a thank you letter to Greg for taking a chance on me and as he put it to me, "We all start somewhere." It's also a thank you to Taryn for all her support and for putting up with my obsessive nature while writing (I get into a zone and ignore everyone around me).

But this is mainly a thank you to all of you. I have not achieved my goal of game journalism just yet, but if it weren't for all of you and for Andy and the rest of the GI editors, I wouldn't have even known what my goal was in the first place. I know I'm not the only one who feels this way as Blaze6106 recently wrote a similar blog. This is an amazing place and I never would have expected a website to have such a profound impact on my life, but Game Informer has. Thank you for reading, thank you for listening to the Indie & Mojo Show, thank you for commenting and thank you for just being a great example of why gamers are the coolest people on planet earth.

Cheers to you.