How Video Games Influenced My Life and My Writing

9 comments

I have a long, involved history with video games. My childhood best friend and I bonded over Pokémon while others took to playing ball or drawing with chalk during recess. The first video game I ever owned was Pokémon Yellow. For the past twenty years I have been absolutely immersed in the world of video games, from the moment I got a Gameboy Color for Christmas when I was ten, to this past year when I finally caved and bought a Nintendo Switch.

Boys thought it was weird that I liked games, but as I grew older I found friends in high school of both genders who appreciated the hobby and we all played together in our free time. Late at night on weekends we would stay up slamming out riffs in Guitar Hero or racing in Mario Kart until our parents became upset. “You’re too old to still be playing video games,” they would scold us. We would only laugh.

Towards the end of high school I became interested in video games that emphasized social interaction, such as World of Warcraft, one of the most popular video games in history and the largest massively multiplayer online title to date as far as I am aware. In these I would spend hours working with large groups of players over online voice chat programs to slay dragons and warlords, all to collect powerful armor for our avatars.

Despite living across the country from one another, we learned about each other’s life stories and personal interests in intimate detail. Gladly, some of these friendships have stayed with me for many years, from game to game, onto social media, and sometimes even meeting in person.

In college I began to play competitive games, where the friendly dynamics went from social to a cut-throat interest in victory. I enjoyed the teamwork and winning most of all. As an added benefit, online team-based games allowed me to maintain relationships with local friends who moved away to college or for work.

Some of my male friends from high school joke that me and our girl friends “spoiled” them to the novelty of “gamergirls”. They were used to it and paid it no mind as young adult men. When they would meet a female gamer in college they wouldn’t call special attention to her hobby and sometimes that would actually surprise her as she was so used to being asked about her gaming interests, interrogated, or doubted.

I am extremely grateful to have accumulated a large network of online friends and acquaintances in a wide variety of genres over the years. During college I worked in video game retail where my knowledge came in handy. I served on the planning team for the campus’s video game club, which hosted several large events per semester.

I’ve traveled states to help admin tournaments in person for the Gwent CCG Esports scene, and these days I run a large online gaming community on Discord. I’ve even been a guest on a few podcasts in the past. Thanks to these experiences and others, I have gained a deep understanding of how different types of gamers interpret what is going on within the video game world.

Gamer culture has become interconnected globally since online multiplayer games provide shared experiences across national borders. Stereotypes about people who play video games are changing, gamer demographics (age, ethnicity, and gender) are diversifying, and the society seems to be gradually taking gaming more seriously as a hobby and less as child’s play.

So what’s the point of this post, Angie? Good question. If you’ve read my “About Me” page, you’ll know I have done a lot of academic writing about video game and esports related subjects in the past. This post is meant to supply background context for upcoming gamer culture posts I am working on, taken and altered from my past academic pieces. So stay tuned!

My question for you is: What does your background in gaming look like and how has it affected your life?

Thank you for reading!

Gamer Culture Post Archive

Support Backlog Crusader on Patreon – $1 a month is less than what’s lost beneath your sofa cushions! Plus you get Discord access!

9 comments on “How Video Games Influenced My Life and My Writing”

  1. I’ve drifted between playing video games for the cooperative experience with my buddies and for playing them for the stories. I think video games can be one of the greatest ways to experience a story, right up there with books and movies.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah I get that. I go through phrases of being really into multiplayer or really into specific singleplayer games.

      I agree about storytelling. In fact I was thinking about writing on the possibility of video game “literary” analysis working its way into public school in, say, 50 years or so, in the same way we read classic novels based on grade level. There might be timeless classic games representing important human cultural/historical moments that would be worth designing a curriculum around.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think gaming has affected me differently. I started with Pokemon Ruby and played multiplayer in Halo with my friends but never liked to play MMOs because I just didn’t feel comfortable playing with strangers. Plus I was already not liking how I wasn’t as good compared to my friends at Halo and eventually began to enjoy playing alone more where it was just me vs the Covenant. In communities I didn’t really receive any harassment for being a girl but instead for my obsession with certain characters not widely liked by the mainstream of fans, especially in Halo.

    When I got into Mass Effect I discovered my love for getting lost in another world with a great story and found that I enjoyed that more than a good ol match of Slayer.

    Overtime I got into PC gaming and my tastes in gaming expanded above and beyond. Video games taught me there’s always a way to escape stresses and mean people so I’m kind of a loner when it comes to gaming. I still play Halo for the story and might play ir with friends on occasion or some other game. Call me paranoid but all the stories I hear about harassment just make me lose interest in any popular multiplayer but that’s me. Some of us use games to socialize and others use it to shut out the world after a long day of social interaction. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Gen 3 Pokemon was actually the best. Loved the remakes.

      I played Mass Effect a few times too. Also taught my dad how. He loved it and I had to argue to get my PS3 back sometimes lol

      I use gaming for both things alternating sort of. Sometimes it’s quiet recharge and others it’s for social needs. Thanks for sharing!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Enjoyed your article! I have spent my entire life playing games, some of my earliest memories are playing Mario 1-3 on the family NES. It is nice to progress has been made in gaming from the “gamer” stereotypes either social or gender when I was a kid playing Mario and Sonic games. I cringed reading the line in your article about parents telling you and your friends that you were told old to play video games. It reminded me of one time I asked my mom why she didn’t hang on to some of the old games( NES and Atari 2600 – I have an older brother and sister who played) and her response was simply “I just assumed you’d grow out of playing video games”.

    Like

  4. I enjoyed reading your article! A bit of a cop-out answer but Mark Brown’s videos about video game design aided me in navigating the world a bit. Game design is kind of abstractly the same as the real world. His video “Working Past Your Mistakes” helped me better understand failure, and his video about the systemic game was really interesting. Same here with the online gaming communities part. I remember joining a few raids in wow with some guild mates.

    Like

Leave a Reply to Amanda Hurych Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.