And here we go folks- my first blog post! Well actually it’s my second one because Squarespace glitched and erased my draft, but anywho...
I’ve been toying with the idea of creating this blog for a while now. My fiancé isn’t particularly nerdy, so instead of keeping him up at night talking about my latest thoughts on gaming, VR, or my excitement about The Matrix reboot, I figured I could talk to all of YOU about them instead.
Let’s start with a little more about me. I am a 26-years-old California native. As I mentioned, I am engaged to a wonderful man, and we make our home in sunny Los Angeles. Did I mention his last name is Marvel? Yeah, that's a thing.
I should also tell you, for the sake of understanding my background, that in addition to being gay, I am also Jewish and Latino- I call that the bully’s trifecta. I joke that I’ve been a game designer since I was a kid, creating schoolyard games like Zombie, which involved a mix of tag, dodgeball (this was of course when Koosh Balls were all the rage), and hide-and-seek. My first foray into gaming happened after receiving a purple Game Boy Color, because that’s how I roll. After that, it was all uphill- Game Boy Advance, GameCube, PS2, Wii, PS4, and Xbox One. There was a PSP in there somewhere, but I’m trying to focus on the good. From Pokémon, Legend of Zelda, and Metroid Prime to Skyrim, Destiny, and Halo, I have fallen in love with games on all of these platforms and in a variety of genres.
In high school, I had some health issues which caused me to walk with a crutch for a few years and go on home study. Games helped me maintain my sanity being cooped up in the house alone, and gave me an endless number of worlds to escape into. To some “hardcore” gamers, my journey in the gaming world may seem cursory and laughable. But understand that as an only child who came out at 12, I didn’t exactly have an overwhelming number of friends in a community dominated by white, heterosexual males who could show me the ropes. I did the best I could with what I had, as all of us do.
When I got to college, my love of storytelling and intimate familiarity with cultural intersectionality lead me to pursue a degree in cultural anthropology from UCLA. After graduating in 2013, I went on to work for the UCLA Special Collections Library, a Jewish non-profit, and finally USC (because I apparently enjoy the turmoil it causes my soul). While working, I have gone back to school to earn my A.A. in animation with a concentration in game design at Santa Monica City College. After I am able to build an adequate portfolio, I plan on applying to USC’s Interactive Media MFA program. I did stray from this path though, exploring career possibilities as an archaeologist, professor, character designer, costume designer, and many more (as my friends and family can grudgingly attest to).
Each of these fields involved one passion or another, but the one passion I had been ignoring was the one that has been with me the longest: game design. Creating worlds, imagining new stories, collaborating with similarly obsessed people- game design has it all. Within game design, I am particularly interested in harnessing the burgeoning technologies of VR and AR. They hold the key to what all game designers are chasing- true immersion. You can expect a good deal of the content I discuss on this blog to involve them in one way or another.
In ten years, I see myself making games that I am proud to make. Games that will give my future daughter(s) strong role models. Games that make a lonely queer kid in Missouri feel slightly less alone because of the inclusion of queer characters. As we’ve seen from the GamerGate Controversy and PewDiePie, the gaming community still has a long way to come before everyone feels welcome. But we’re already seeing some creative responses to internet trolls that make my heart swell. But that’s what a game can be when it reaches its full potential- something that has the power to transport, transcend, and transform.
As I mention in the about section, I chose the name of this blog because I think about life in the context of gaming. Hardship, tragedy, and heartbreak affect us all. These “debuffs” can make daily life feel unlivable. But these are also the things that make us stronger by working through them. These are the things that push us to try harder, to fight for the things we love, and to cling to hope. Games, like all stories, hold a mirror to these universal challenges and triumphs.
If you’ve read this far, I want to thank you. As with any endeavor like this, I owe whatever this becomes to you- my first supporters. I’m already thinking about what I want to post next, so keep an eye out for updates. I will also be posting random thoughts and questions in the Dribs and Drabs section. In addition, I tweet daily about gaming so follow me there if that’s your jam. Until my next post, fight on my fellow debuffed heroes.