Tuesday, 21 May 2013

WHY I HAVE A VIDEO GAME TATTOO, AND WHY I'LL GET MORE

I found this short essay which I wrote last year sometime when I was considering leaving art and gaming behind me. It still holds true now so I thought I would share it.

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I create art and video games because I want to share very important experiences which allowed me to be a happy, outgoing, and confident person, when in reality I wasn't.

Yes, I am damaged still; but I would be in a gutter shot full of lead or drugs if it weren't for the hope and the light in the darkness that art and video games provided. Through a multitude of quests and hard won battles and adventures to the far reaches of space and beyond, I was allowed to be me.

I am a nerd; I am a scared child.

I am latently afraid of anger and violence because it was in my home as a child and I know first hand the damage it does; yet even during that time I visited places where there was no violence, there was no anger, and everyone was happy. I dreamed of providing similar safe houses for others like me. It's why I have never stopped playing games.

I am very shy of people; yet I have worked with total strangers against adversity and learned to trust and to become friends. All in the name of video games.

I am not confident in myself or many of my abilities; yet I have lead strangers and real friends alike towards victory in the face of great odds and have topped leaderboards against very worthy adversaries.

This is who I am. All of this is beneath a mask, a mask that would have the world see me as a capable, confident, fearless man. A man of action, yet an angry man; a man not to be tested. The mask is worn and beneath it the most precious thing I have in my life; the childhood that was cut short. 

The frightened child who cowered beneath the sheets at night; who feared the wrath of anger and violence and for the safety of those he loves. I may not seem happy a lot of the time, and a lot of the time I am lost in a whirlpool of negative thoughts. But I have known happiness. I may be overly shy and embarrassed at times, but I have also been the most outgoing, captivating, confident person in the room. And without those experiences I wouldn't be who I am today; broken, yes, but a good, kind man who wants to share kindness with a harsh world and is simply still a little too afraid that the wrath which never fell upon me will still do so.

Art and video games gave me purpose and a reason to keep going. That is why I haven't given up even though I continue to struggle a lot of the time. Video games allowed me to spend more time as the child that I wasn't able to spend enough time being.

That is why I do what I do.

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When you run over a hooker in GTA, there is a kid who doesn't do that and instead is learning how to move around in society, how to drive a car carefully, how to explore the world, and how to forget about the stress in their life.

I wish I could do more for kids, to provide the same spaces for them to not be afraid, but I myself am still too bogged down in the mire and detritus of my past to be able to reach out with confidence. One day I will reach that point; one day I will start a studio with people who are as passionate about how games can help people and who strive to push us all into another space that is uncomfortable and where we can move ourselves into new places and beyond the base prejudices that we clasp to in these times.

- DAVE

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