When I first started gaming as a kid, I just did it for fun, but as I got older it helped me in times of need. When I was stressed or when something was really bugging me I knew gaming was something I loved, and I knew it would cheer me up. Now, when it comes to games, they just take me out of reality. I can be more myself when it comes to gaming, and I don’t have to deal with all the stresses in life – relationships, school, drama. When anything that gets me to a point where I worry about my own mental health or just don’t feel well, I turn to gaming to help me feel better. I just let go.
My first memory of playing a video game?
Probably when the original gameboy was a thing. The first game I can think of would have to be an old-fashion Mario game. You had to jump over barrels and try to save Princess Peach from Donkey Kong. When I was little, I thought it was cool to save the princess.
My favorite game now?
I’d say…it would have to be Final Fantasy 14. It’s an online MMO [Massive Multiplayer Online game] that requires you to think and build up team skills and cooperation. I like how it makes me think.
What about violence in video games?
When it comes to gaming it’s important to remember that they’re not all about violence. When it comes to certain subjects, there are even video games that can help you learn. There are many games that will teach you more about history than what you’ll learn in class and that will make you think differently about the way people choose to tell different stories about the same history.
As far as I know, there are way too many violences in real life that need to be taken care of before people should start treating gaming as the most serious threat. Turning to violence can really depend on where and how a person grows up. The environment and systems faced can greatly influence how they think or act. Me? I didn’t grow up in any fancy place. I’m from southeast Fresno. I’ve never even lived in a house, just renting apartments my whole life. And after all the violence I’ve seen in games, I’ve still never thought to be violent myself.
As a lover of video games it pains me to see how people always think of games as the first and worst example of harmful media when we have TV shows and movies that are about nothing but killing each other. For instance John Wick, where the whole basis of the story is him killing everybody.
And what about video games rotting the minds of young people?
Video games do not rot young minds – if anything, they open you up to a new type of strategic thinking with your brain. Most people who play video games are challenged to think with multiple perspectives to try and “see” what could happen. Especially if they like to play strategy-based games, those people have to think a different way to win. Even in a FPS (First Person Shooter) game you gotta think: “If I go this way, will my character survive?” When it comes to that creative way of thinking, people can usually apply those online lessons to reality and work creatively to think up the best possible actions and outcomes for themselves when it comes to things like work or just life in general.
Would I ever consider a career in gaming?
I think anybody who’s gamed for long enough to truly love a game (and is competitive about it) would probably want to try to go into some kind of gaming career. It’s definitely not for most people, but it would be nice. The chances of that are probably very low. I think what I will do, though, is keep it as a hobby and a creative way to cope with stress because it’s something I really like to do. I think I would like to game for as long as I possibly can.
How is gaming similar to my experience with Fresno Boys and Men of Color?
Sometimes I think I have more friends online than in life. When I talk to people in games I think they know me better. It’s different when it comes to BMoC. Every time I’m there, I feel more myself, I feel more alive, and I’m able to open up to new people that continue to come into BMoC.
I was very hesitant to join BMoC – not giving it a second thought when my friends first told me about it. But I did want to change the fact that I was kinda scared of being social. If I wasn’t in BMoC, I don’t think I would be as social as I am now, and that’s saying something. BMoC helped me to interact more deeply with people and to not always shy away from them. On top of that, I thought it was cool for a non profit to be in my community trying to make it a better place.
This Thursday (11/07/2019) Fresno Boys and Men of Color will be showcasing multiple forms of art including written pieces, visuals, and live performances of instrumentals and spoken word at 1724 Broadway Street as a part of downtown Fresno’s Art Hop. Come out to see what happens when you #InvestInYouth !