Fen. Image courtesy Roy Smallpage.

Fen. Image courtesy Roy Smallpage.

Well, when I was young, my mother thought that if she allowed my brother and I to play video games then our brains would rot (or whatever junk the media fed parents back in the 90s). However, my nan thought video games were great, and bought a SNES for all her grandchildren to play on when we were at hers. First game I ever played was Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past, and even though teeny 4 year old me was terrible at it, I LOVED it.

Eventually my mother relented and bought us a PS2, as well as letting us buy games for the family PC (Age of Mythology is still, and always will be, my favourite game). She still thought that games would rot our brains or encourage us towards a life of violence if we played too much, so we were restricted.

I’m 24 now and I can play whatever I want, whenever I want. My poison is Bioware, but Bethesda and Ubisoft are close seconds.

I game because life sucks. I’m stuck in a low-paying job, living paycheck to paycheck, and I regularly go hungry, but when I game I can forget all that. Be it saving the galaxy from the Reapers or uniting Thedas, in that moment I’m not hungry or alone, I’m alive.

I game because I live for the stories that gaming tells. I devour the stories the same way I’ll obsessively read books and watch films. I will pick apart characters and motives and plot holes and I’ll agonise over dialogue options because try as I might I can’t say something mean to these fictional characters.

I game because it provides me with a sense of community and belonging that was sorely lacking from my life as I grew up.

And yes, sometimes I game because I’ve had a bad day at work and I just need to murder the shit out of someone.

Oh, and if my mother hoped to reduce the chances of violence in later life through restricting gaming time, she was sorely mistaken. Check my picture out; I LARP too. Gaming IRL.

-Fen (fenriskin)

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