I am fifteen years old the night my family enters a local Safeway store. Things are about to change forever.
A troublesome childhood has deteriorated into a hell-raising adolescence. After battling with my father over everything two people can battle about, we have settled into a tense, uneasy silence. For mom’s sake, we never admit it aloud, but my father and I just don't like each other. In fact, we may hate each other.
Having taken refuge in video games, words like "blast processing" are still fresh in my mind as I consider the tremendous technological leap from the original Metal Gear to Sonic the Hedgehog. Unfortunately, my father learned how I dreamt of earning a living in video games and quickly made it his mission to destroy that ambition. He almost succeeded, brainwashing me with continuous mental pummeling about how I'd never make it, how there was no money in video games, blah, blah, blah. Couple this with mainstream society's negative view on gaming, and, well, it doesn't look like I have a bright future ahead of me. But hey, I think that fateful night we enter the Safeway, there's always juvie hall, right?
My mother is a different story. Positive, nurturing, and creative like me, she secretly pushes me towards my dreams. This night, I would take her seriously.
Dad takes my sister to get whatever it is he needed while mom nudges me down the magazine aisle. There's something she wants to show me. “Great”, I'm thinking, “mom's gonna get lost in another Cosmo and forget why we're here...”
To my surprise, she bypasses the Cosmo and reaches for a magazine I've never heard of before. It's entitled "Gamepro".
I gasp as she hands it to me, and she is silent as I flip through the shiny, glossy pages, mouth agape. No words can articulate my jubilation. This magazine is bringing my world to life in beautiful, vibrant colors. It critiques games I have played, and games I didn't even know existed. It previews what is soon to arrive on every available console. Most importantly, it shows me that I am not alone. Here are men and women just like me, who're consumed by their passion for great gaming, and they've managed to turn it into paycheck.
It gives me proof; DAD IS WRONG.
I look at my mom like she's the light of Heaven as she softly speaks; "You see? You can do it." I nod. I don't know what else to say. She purchases the magazine and eventually, a subscription. Later in life, she introduces me to the International Game Developer's Association and pays for my membership. I make friends with people I still know today. She's the first to learn I've been hired by Sony Computer Entertainment America. She's who I dedicate my first book too. Had she not introduced me to Game Journalism, and shown me that this was indeed a profitable industry, I don't know where I'd be today.
So thank you, mom, and thank you, Gamepro, for the start in life.
A copy of this blog also appears on my bitmob page, viewable here.