When I was in elementary school my fourth grade teacher asked my class that stereotypical question; “what do you want to be when you grow up?” At the time, I believed my answer was “an Astronaut.” Space intrigued me beyond anything I had seen or heard of to that point. The following year, I discovered broadcasting through my school’s morning show and I had found the frontier I truly wished to discover.
A few years later, after failing pre-algebra and learning of the de-funding of NASA, I abandoned my astronaut dreams on the launch pad and settled into the idea of being a reporter. I joined the morning show crew at my middle school and became heavily involved with my Television production class in High School. During this time, the dream of becoming a reporter in any form became my primary goal.
In my free time, Video games transformed from being a form of escape, to becoming a central part of my daily life. I lived and breathed the industry, much to the chagrin of my family, who believed my dream career as a game’s journalist was akin to that of a naive toddler. Thanksgiving conversations became repulsive arguments about self-fulfillment and explaining my decision didn’t stop my dad from threatening to destroy my Playstation every other weekend.What most failed to understand was my passion for the industry and the games that changed my perspective on what the medium was. Yes, Super Mario Bros. is great, but titles like the Last of Us, with its heavy-hitting story of loss and human faults made me realize that games could be significantly more than just a fun romp. Gaming was no longer a hobby, it was a means to a beginning.
As college approached, I saw the next four years as a chance to prove everyone wrong.
Unfortunately I spent the first 4 semesters of my college career unsure of myself and my ambitions (General education courses and binge drinking will do that to you). But through a bit of luck, a few leaps of faith and my parents threatening to stop helping me pay for college, I got involved at my college TV station. I spent a semester volunteering every weekday for a 5 minute morning news show. It was great to be “building my resume,” but I definitely wanted more. Floor directing, camera work and manning the soundboard were great, but the best moments came from helping write the script for the show.
Soon thereafter, the TV station crew found out that the news show was to be cancelled and the format was switching to entertainment only. Apparently a 9 a.m. program didn’t fair too well with nocturnal college students, go figure. All in all, there was suddenly an opportunity for something drastically different at the station.
My friend John (The one who had helped me become affiliated with the TV station in the first place) and I were both avid video game fans. We took a shot at a dream and pitched a Video Game and Tech show to our station manager. Our well planned idea was pitched…and shot down…twice.
But third time’s the charm, and after heavy concessions to our original idea, our show “Birds of Play” was approved. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t afford to stay at my college over the summer, which just so happened to be the trial period for our show. If the reception wasn’t good enough, the show would’ve been canned before I even had a chance to be on it.
Thankfully, John, our friend Brandon and a dedicated summer crew kept the dream alive, while also gradually shifting to our originally pitched format. Needless to say, the show was a success.
Fast forward to August 2016, I had just finished a grueling summer of working 2 jobs for little pay. Even after working up to 75 hours in a week, I often found myself more mentally drained than physically. I wanted to be more active in helping with the show, and I knew the long work weeks still wouldn’t add up to getting a decent enough car (My goal purchase for the summer).
For some reason though, everything I had been missing over summer finally clicked. I received a random text from a friend at the news department connected to the TV station. She was leaving her position as Police Reporter and the job would be available soon. Needless to say, I started at the position a week later, and helped host “Birds of Play” for the first time that same Friday.
At the time of writing, the balancing act of work, school, the show and my free time is still in the trouble shooting stage, but college is for learning…right?
But as we catch up to the present day, I’ve found a hole in my ambitions again. I write video game reviews, some of my family are starting to wrap their heads around the idea of gaming journalism as a career path and “Birds of Play” is growing in viewership. Still, there are parts of the Industry and its surrounding sub-culture that I have the desire to cover in abstract ways.
That’s where this site comes into play. I want to offer food for thought on many of the topics that don’t seem to get enough attention in the industry. Whether that be community toxicity, developer relations or the impact of hidden heroes in the industry, I want to highlight things the average person doesn’t here about.
I’ve also come to realize that the confused look on my mother’s face whenever I dove too deep into gaming subject matter represented a large portion of the people I knew. At times, we weren’t even speaking the same language. So I want to do my best to present the bizarre happenings and topics in and about the gaming industry to the everyday reader in a constructive manner, that’s what “The Polyglot” is.
Although 50% of men and 48% of women in the United States play video games, only 15% of men and 6% of women identify as “Gamers.” <http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/12/15/who-plays-video-games-and-identifies-as-a-gamer/>
It’s time for someone to bridge the gap between casual Candy Crush players and those putting days of playtime into their console or PC gaming library, those who see “Gamers” as jobless basement dwellers and a generation who grew up to become Esports professionals. Here’s my attempt at being that particular bridge builder. I hope you’ll join me.