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Growth of A Gamer

Image Courtesy: zheN [pixiv]

Games can transform our lives in profound ways. Here's how.

"Growth of a Gamer" is a series of articles exploring the profound way games can transform our lives, as told by students of the USC Games program at the University of Southern California. Published on Gamnesia.com, the articles were brought to life through a series of peer-editing sessions with Gamnesia's Editor-In-Chief, Colin McIssac. "Growth of a Gamer" was received favorably by members of the gaming community, garnering over 3K views through social media.

Whether you're a massive fan of Mass Effect or you don't even know why people like video games... the authors were all able to articulate these really powerful emotions in a touching way without losing focus on the elements of the game that made these feelings possible. You get a very deep understanding of the human side of these specific games, and of gaming as a whole.
— Colin McIsaac, Editor-In-Chief, Gamnesia.com
It's really something to see people who are into game development kind of get the chance to be gamers for a change and not be game developers... it's great to see game developers who are now younger than me - which I find really interesting too - kind of coming up and talking about their experiences.
— Alex Plant, Senior Editor, Gamnesia.com

My personal contribution to this publication, entitled "Pokémon: Just Another Game", was written as a reflection on the many formative years I've spent with the series. In the article, I explore the idea that Pokémon isn't "just another game"; rather, it's a phenomenon that's given millions the strength to build lifelong friendships, find inner confidence, and continually strive to improve themselves. Pokémon has become an integral part of my identity over the past two decades, and I hope that my story can lend some insight into what makes it truly special.

Here's an excerpt from my article:

As someone who's poured enough hours into video games to write several novels, it's funny to think that I fell in love with them purely by accident. My seminal experiences with interactive entertainment weren't particularly memorable. I vaguely recall my dad trying out an action-adventure game on our brand-new Xbox, while my six-year old self observed from afar, perplexed by the incoherent movements on screen. My sparse shelf was populated by mediocre titles such as Superman: The Man of Steel and Zapper: One Wicked Cricket; ultimately, these hackneyed experiences aroused little more than a casual interest in gaming. If you told me that "immersive interactive experiences" existed back then, I'd give you a puzzled look and think nothing more of it.

But there was still a strange allure to the supermarket video game aisles that managed to filter past my decidedly average gaming exploits. I'd wander into these relatively abandoned spaces, enthralled by flashy box art characters that seemed all too willing to snatch me from my reality into theirs. They were quite the motley bunch—among them, a mustachioed Italian plumber, a shorts-touting fox with a ridiculous grin, and a spunky gang of Japanese teens on rollerblades. One of the boxes, Pokémon FireRed Version, caught my attention. I locked eyes with the blazing orange dragon on the cover, and that's when my journey began.

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