Geez. The things I wish I could tell 12-year old me… “Don’t let people tell you video games are a waste of time. Keep drawing. Who cares if you keep getting in trouble because your Mom finds doodles where your school work should be. It’ll work out for you later. Give up trying to be the cool kid. You’ll end up as a nerd anyways. You should have introduced yourself to that cute Filipino girl in Home Ec. class instead of just staring at her, like the nerd you are trying to pretend not to be.”
Geez. The things I wish I could tell 12-year old me..
I sat down this entire past weekend, in my pajamas with a laptop to my left, my PS4 streaming Twitch on the television in front of me and my tablet to the right. I had my phone in my lap, text messaging with my friends and brother who were tuned into the same event.
I was watching Evo 2016. The nerd’s version of the Superbowl. It was 3 straight days of video game geekiness that made me getty from Friday to Sunday. Evo is an annual fighting game tournament that features a dozen or so popular fight-themed video games from Mortal Kombat to Super Smash Bros. to Street Fighter 5.
The matches were intense and the action was frenetic as my friends and I fired out tweets and texts and posts detailing each hit, combo and counter. I should have stayed in gaming…
You see, I used to own a video game store in Baltimore, MD. I had ideas. Too many for my own good. But I was rooted deeply in the video game community. My life WAS a game, and I miss it dearly. I didn’t back then. I kinda took it for granted and crashed and burned.
I lacked business acumen and it showed in every part of my business except the design. I paid strict attention to detail. I knew how I wanted people to feel when they walked into my shop, but I didn’t pay attention to how to make money and run the business as a business and not a gaming lounge — which is what The Joystick Lounge turned in to.
So after I shut my store down, I worked for GameStop for a brief period, happy to stay in gaming.
Then it stopped.
I mean, I quit gaming kinda cold-turkey. I missed out on a LOT of classics. I stopped following E3 and just lost my love. I moved into tabletop wargaming and tcg/ccg gaming, but the video gaming was gone.
This year’s E3 gaming convention came and went and I didn’t even miss it. In fact, it wasn’t until the second day of Evo 2016 that I even realized I missed it.
And then it hit me. While watching amazing match after amazing match, I realized how much I missed gaming. The camaraderie, the culture, the tech. Watching video games on television was not something I had seen since the early days of the Madden tournament and the old 80’s arcade game show Starcade, and here, in front of 201K+ people tuned into ESPN 2 and another 200K+ tuned into Twitch I was watching video games on TV.
After the event ended, I ran to the basement and shuffled through some spiral notebooks and presentation binders to find a business plan I buried years ago. Now seems the perfect time to take some risks and make new and old concept and (pardon the pun) get in the fight.