Thursday, 17 May 2012

Changing the Game, and Letting the Game Change You

ArenaNet’s latest blog post talks about the adventure (in-game and out) taken by Katy Wells – a girl inspired by the game she loves to bring the journey from the screen into the real world and go on her own voyage of discovery.

I know that for many people being a gamer is something about which they can be loud and proud. Accepting or ignoring all chides and criticism, they balk (or embody) the ever-present “basement dweller” stereotype and wear their gaming passion on their sleeve.

But I believe that, for many of us, gaming is something which we might never feel comfortable sharing with our co-workers, family or (less likely) friends. I work in an office where I can almost 100% guarantee that if I revealed my fanaticism for GW2 I would be met with raised eyebrows and sniggers followed by “but you’re 24, not 14!”. It isn’t that they aren’t nice people, I just don’t believe they’d understand (I told a couple of my co-workers last year when I covered Eurogamer for Talk Tyria – and I’ve still not really heard the end of it). It’s a shame that I don’t feel comfortable enough to share my passion with the people with whom I spend most of my time.

I’ve talked about the stigma attached to gaming before. I think what I said was “Gaming is our crossdressing”. Katy’s adventure is just one example of the many ways in which games can not only enrich our lives, but also be great vehicles for positive change, I hope that such examples can help to not only reverse the negativity which other people attribute to our passion, but also help us to re-evaluate our own acceptance and perpetuation of the stigma as gamers.

Thankfully, this September I have the chance at a new start. I’m quitting my job and embarking on my own 4 year adventure (and at the end I’ll be Dr Knight). I will be starting a PhD course at the Horizon Digital Economy Research Institute in Nottingham. Aside from doing very interesting, multi-disciplinary research in a field which I am really interested in, I also have the chance to start again personally – to approach this new group of colleagues/fellow students with an openness which I don’t feel I have with my current job. Gaming and blogging has been a secret part of my life for so long, I’m not sure how I’m going to change, but for better or worse I think it’s time to bring my passion into the open.


  1. When you leave, make sure you take your red stapler, and burn down the building. :D

  2. It's awesome that you're going for your doctorate! 

    Just a suggestion about the other part - simply mention it casually, with only cursory details at first; "What ya doin' this weekend? ... Oh, I'm just getting together with some friends in an online game for the most part... probably catch a movie with the wife on Sunday... nothing major."

    Keep it light ya know?  Those who are interested will express it, and who knows... you might even find out there are "closet gamers" around you who feel comfortable talking about it since you spoke about it without stigma.

    If you don't act as if there is anything untoward about it, then it will disuade others from doing so.



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