Virtual Living

Edwin - Syracuse, New York
Entered on September 2, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

Video games have taught me to believe that while everyone knows they can be anything and do anything in life, they occasionally need a reminder. In contrast to what society and my father specifically believe, video games have improved my life in multiple ways, and therefore I’m going to stick with what I love to do no matter what other people say.

I enjoy playing video games. Most of my friends would most likely tell you that I enjoy them a little too much, especially during the times when I could be doing something a little more productive like homework or studying. But video games are a different thing to me than to many other people – I see them as both friend and enemy, a test of my abilities and a showcase of them, rather than mind-numbing, if at times slightly savage entertainment.

I have a tendency of playing games for extended periods of time, which in turn angers my father. There was a time several years ago where I hadn’t been downstairs for several hours because I was playing Playstation 2 in my room. My father stomped his merry way upstairs and proceeded into a lengthy diatribe on how “video games were never going to put food on the table,” and the fact that I couldn’t recognize that made me irresponsible. He also added that I should spend more time on what was important, like studying… even though it was July. I have tried not to make it a habit of talking back to my father, but I couldn’t help but cock my head to the side to imply confusion. The question, “why not?” was on my lips, knowing how I’ve watched my father make a life and career out of something he was passionate about. Why couldn’t I? I decided then and there that I was going to prove him wrong.

There is some irony in the fact that through a slightly twisted path, video games have in fact literally put food on the table for me. I have participated in and won many different video game tournaments here at school, including Halo 2, Halo 3, Forza Motorsport 2, Army of Two, and FIFA 08. While these tournaments rarely give away cash for prizes, there are often ways to make money off the prizes I do get, like brand new games, electronic gear and clothing.

Having some prizes under my belt boosted my confidence. It was boosted enough that I was capable of telling my father the way I felt: I didn’t think that it was fair for him to say that I was irresponsible. What happened to believing that you can be whatever you want to be? What if I did want to dedicate my life to video games? Shouldn’t he support me?

I recently interviewed for an internship with Electronic Arts’ Sports division. Electronic Arts is one of the largest global video game developers and publishers, and their sports division is responsible for the Madden, FIFA, NBA Live and NHL sports video game franchises. As I was sitting in the interview, I wondered, “Do I really want to make a career out of the video game world?” Truthfully, the answer is no. But I think it’s very important for both me and my father to know that I could.

If you’re ever sitting there, wondering if you should do something, don’t hesitate. Give it a shot. Don’t be afraid to try things. The confidence and pride that you can get from proving to yourself that you can do something is going to be there for you when you find what it is you truly love and want to do.