WGWC: Everything in its Right Place...Finally - straightupyo84 Blog - www.GameInformer.com
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WGWC: Everything in its Right Place...Finally

I grew up the youngest of four children. I was the accident (as my parents proudly declared in a message to me published in my senior yearbook for all to read). My brothers were 9 and 11 years older than me, and I tried desperately to fit in with them. I used to beg them to bring me to Dairy Queen (mmm blizzards...) with them and their friends, constantly cramping their style I'm sure. When my sister was off at college and my brothers were in apartments of their own, I often felt like the only child from seventh grade until I graduated high school. All told, I was a pretty spoiled kid, but I always felt like my life sucked, but that could be a whole different blog altogether. When my parents fought, or I just felt too much stress trying to live up to the high standards set by my older siblings, video games were my outlet for escaping that. They provided me an avenue to shut my mind off from the rest of the world.

However, when I needed to express my frustrations rather than just hold them in, I would write. I would sit in my basement bedroom, listen to music and write. I wrote poems at first. Most of those were destroyed when my parent's basement was flooded after I moved out. Sadly, they are all lost. It started as a way for me to get out my feelings, and I remember going through many stages. I wrote poems about love, then death, then hope and even sex. I remember one day in my English class, I had to write a reimagining of a Shakespearian sonnet, and when I stood up to recite it to the class, all the girls seemed enamored. This was a revelation for me. I never realized the power words could have on people, and I often used that power for my own gain...let's just say, high school was fun.

Then I realized I could combine my two passions, video games and writing. I started a monthly video game column in the high school newspaper. The first review I ever wrote was of Virtua Fighter 4. I was probably a bit hyperbolic at the time, saying it was the best fighting game I had ever played (though at the time, it may have been). I absolutely loved writing about games.

When I wasn't writing poems to get laid, or writing game reviews for the paper, I often wrote up stories as the basis for video games. I conceptualized a dramatic World War II shooter, a zombie game, a Star Wars game and a platformer featuring fluffy animals, LOLZ! These games were almost always accompanied by design layouts for levels, and occasional concept art, even though I am not much of an artist. I was absolutely obsessed with gaming in High School.

Then I graduated and moved away to join City Year, a branch of Americorps. I met Kristy (my soon to be ex wife) and abandoned my childish habits. I still gamed of course, especially while living on my own in Boston (well almost alone, I had 7 housemates) afforded me ample time to just vedge (spelling?) out and play Devil May Cry, Ico, Mark of Kri (anyone remember that one?) Prince of Persia and Metal Gear Solid 2 (before both those series got ridiculous, but more on that here). Then, after I finished my year of service, I moved in with Kristy.

It was an exciting time. We both were in love, and poor, struggling to find places to work and make money, but once we did, we did alright on our own. I abandoned my dream of working in the video game industry in order to make a living and survive. I waited tables and took classes in a local community college. After years of having my parents push me towards becoming a teacher like the rest of my siblings, I never felt like there was much hope in me working in the game industry. I thought it was a fantasy. I thought I didn't have the programming or artistic skills to make it anyway, so even when I went to school I focused on writing classes, though that never really panned out because I didn't qualify for financial aid and ran out of money for classes pretty quick.

Then I got a job in Connecticut working at a day program for people with special needs. I poured my heart and soul into this job. I fell in love with the clients and learned so much about people with mental disabilities. I figured I just wasn't lucky enough to live my dream, so I went with something that I knew I was good at and that helped other people.

Meanwhile my life just continued in a perfect straight line. I wasn't married yet, but Kristy and I were living the domestic life, going to the gym together, carpooling, dinner schedules, movies once a week, and generally living very comfortably. I was restless. I wanted more. I was not a good husband to Kristy. I lost sight of what was important and in my haste to catch up to my siblings who were all getting married, I hid my misgivings and though I was faithful to Kristy, I often didn't want to be. To steal a line from an Interpol song called NYC: "I had seven faces and thought I knew which one to wear".

From left: My Sister, my brother-in-law, my ex wife Kristy, me, and my brother Dave. This was about two months before my separation from Kristy.

I was generally unhappy with my life, though on the outside I know that I looked very happy. It was a shock to my family when, after almost cheating on my wife two years into our marriage, and after months of therapy, we ended our seven year relationship. We had begun trying to have children and I could not bear the thought of bringing a child into our relationship and being completely stuck in that marriage, stuck in Connecticut, and stuck doing something that wasn't my life's pursuit.

I started dating, was promoted to a Manager position at work, and a few months after my divorce was official in spring 2010, I discovered Game Informer Online. I had been reading about video games my whole life, but had never seen the kind of creativity, passion and honesty that was so prevalent on GIO. I still blogged occasionally on blogspot about my life and about my divorce as it was good therapy, but it didn't take me long to realize that what I had the most knowledge of and what I was most passionate about was video games. At the same time I met my girlfriend Taryn, who has been very supportive of my passion or video games and I finally had the courage to rely on myself and no one else. I came to the realization that if I wanted to work in the games industry, the only thing stopping me was me.

PAX East is a magical place

I blogged sporadically for several months before attending PAX East in Boston with Taryn, which is where I first witnessed just how huge and spectacular the gaming community is. Looking back at my blog output, it picks up exponentially in April of 2011. I stopped writing about why video games are art and why I like the story in certain games and started writing more creative, thoughtful blogs. I realized around this time that I wanted to be a video game journalist.

What I have realized after writing about video games for a website briefly (and working on some other leads) is that the GIO community is still one of the best places for me to hone my craft, learn from others, make contacts and get recognized (some highly respected industry professionals actually read some of these blogs believe it or not). The blogs on GIO display a passion and creative energy that is hardly apparent in most professional games journalism. You guys and gals write about games because you love them. We may not have the resources of professional journalists, but that only perpetuates the need for more creative topics and blog entries. Whenever I get sick of reading news stories, "what-ifs" and top ten lists on professional gaming sites, I turn to the blog section on GIO and I am rarely let down by the blogs on display daily.

Taryn and I. I don't love putting pictures of myself on blogs but I wanted to give some context behind this entry. Hopefully this gives a good glimpse into my life.

If I could harness this kind of creativity and energy and utilize it in a professional capacity, I would. When a gaming publication realizes the potential prevalent in the blogging communities, watch out, because that site is going to explode. I will admit that I haven't put out much lately since I was writing for Gamer Gaia, but I am still learning from all of you daily and I am always impressed with the people on GIO. BlackHeartedWolf deserves mucho kudos for starting the WGWC (stands for Wrestling Guild Wrestling Challenge right? That was a joke, if you don't get it listen to the latest Indie & Mojo Show *shameless plug alert*)

My plan for the future is to dig into the depths of this industry and learn about everything that goes on behind the scenes. I want to talk to developers and uncover some of the less talked about topics in the gaming world. I don't just want to write reviews (not that I'm against that. Saint, I'll get on it!), but I want to write about the people who make these games. I want to learn the stories behind these games. I want to be part of this industry as it explodes, expands, contorts and becomes something we may have never imagined when we first picked up a controller. No matter where the future takes me, I will always read the blogs on GIO for inspiration. In my opinion, more gaming journalists and developers should read them as well.

I don't know how entertaining this blog was, but *** if it wasn't therapeutic. Thanks for helping me clear my head and straighten out my thoughts BlackHeartedWolf. I look forward to finding out what's next. Now if you'll excuse me I have to go to work...still gotta make that money somehow!

Thanks for reading. You stay classy classy Game Informer.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

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