2013 taught me more than just HFGTL.
If you had told me two years ago that in 2012, I would finally make my break into the gaming industry, I would have laughed. Bitterly. It was a goal that I had worked toward for so long, it almost felt as though the title of perennial volunteer freelancer would be bestowed onto me.
When I accepted the job as Community Manager back then, I knew my life would be forever changed. It was—and still is—the dream, the opportunity I throw myself wholeheartedly into.
Looking back on 2013 as it passes, I was not mistaken. However, I find myself surprised at the other lessons I have picked up over the year. Gaming culture is evolving so quickly. I find myself so tied up in it that I’m not sure where it ends and where my own life begins.
Games will always be a part of me. I will always be playing games. As such, it was expected that my knowledge of different games would grow this year. What I did not expect was to find myself interested in other gamers.
That might sound strange, so I will do my best to explain myself. Growing up, I was surrounded by a bunch of guys who played games like I did. It was a shared interest, and one that has never left us. As our friendship grew, so did our dedication to playing video games. These guys—my very best friends—are now the same people I enter tournaments with. We hang out, watch movies, get drunk; we are more than a team, we are a group of friends who have known each other for a very, very long time.
But we are like-minded gamers. Something which I realised this year was dangerous. Surround yourself with like-minded people and you’ll have a good time, sure. But will you ever learn more about the cultures around you? In the midst of a heated discussion with a colleague* I experienced an epiphany. I asked myself, was I becoming narrow-minded?
I used to hate casual gamers. Honestly, the fact that someone who casually plays games can land a job in the industry over people who devote their life to gaming like a second job, is something which still irks me.
But this year I learned that casual gamers have valid opinions to offer, and open up the spectrum to whole other sides of the industry. Sides which I previously did not consider. It wasn’t just about skill, mechanics or story. Games are about the people who play them.
It would be impossible to group all gamers together. Respect the culture for what it is, and what it is becoming. That is something I learned this year.
Happy New Year, everyone!