It's tattooed on my body. It's probably the most important word I know. Passion is the word I live by. I have many passions. My passion for music was a defining characteristic of my formative years. If you ever saw me in the halls of TLS, Landon Middle School, or Topeka West High School I had headphones on. Chances are I had music cranked so loud you could make out the lyrics as I walked by. I crammed so much music into my skull as a kid that I have transcended trying to keep a collection anymore. I've absorbed years of music. By that I mean I've listened to years worth of music over my lifetime and not just casually. I poured over song meanings, band origins, lyrics, guitar tablature, and more. I spent hours and hours making mix tape perfection, only to turn around and spend more hours recording over the same tape night after night. Music was and always has been my first love. Music is what taught me the significance of Passion.
By the time I entered high school I'd sunk endless hours into games like Tetris, Super Mario Bros. 3, Mortal Kombat, Doom, and Tomb Raider. I knew what video games were, I enjoyed playing them alone, and with friends; however I didn't really have a passion for video games. Then I played Halo Combat Evolved. That sparked something inside me. I began pouring over magazines like Electronic Gaming Monthly, Game Informer, GamePro, and eventually Official Xbox Magazine. I learned that there was more to this hobby than just spending all night trying to figure out how to beat Metal Gear Solid with my friend. More than intense sessions of Goldeneye. There was more to enjoy than simply everything between "Press Start" and "Game Over" in this world of video games. However playing Halo wasn't the birth of my passion for video games.
My passion for video games was the result of being completely engrossed in Halo: The Fall of Reach, a novel by Eric Nylund. The Fall of Reach actually inspired me to join the military, a defining moment in my life. From the day I entered the Army to the day I left I spent almost every single month (if not week) of my Active Duty service playing video games. Eight and a half years spent eating, breathing, sleeping, living, learning, and loving all that my Xbox 360 had to offer. This period of time saw me sinking hours and hours into websites like 1up.com, gametrailers.com, and eventually IGN. Over the last few years of my enlistment I discovered the wonder of podcasts. After completely loving shows like The 1Up Show, Xplay, and Attack of The Show, finding podcasts like Podcast Unlocked, Podcast Beyond, Game Scoop, and The Game Informer Show was a dream come true. Free access to hours of content every week to soak up all of the ins and outs of the industry as conveyed by people I was quickly discovering I totally wanted to learn from.
Fast forward to eighteen months after finishing my time in Army. I have written for a half dozen video game sites ranging from tiny blogs that nobody reads to a digital magazine with thousands hundreds of subscribers. I've hosted several podcasts and have two weekly live shows that I produce myself. I have founded several gaming communities based on everything ranging from Destiny and Halo to gaming in general. The feeling I get when I introduce someone to a new concept or thing they didn't know about some specific game or their favorite series is immeasurable joy.
This is why I do this. My goal with all that I do is to educate, inform, and entertain people with my experience and knowledge. This is a blanket concept I apply to most aspects of my life. However it applies most perfectly to my time with video games. This is my passion. I want to bring people together around what I can share with them. Whether that be a place for them to feel like they can share their love of a certain game or group of games with like-minded individuals they would otherwise never get a chance to know, or if it's just taking the time to have a simple chat with someone while we play hang out in an Xbox Live party. This is the stuff that fills my life with the greatest sense of fulfillment I've ever known. This sounds like hyperbole but I'm being completely transparent in saying the last six months has been more satisfying and has filled me with more sense of accomplishment than the entire eight years I spent serving in the United States Army. This is what I do best and I love doing it.
So ultimately... I'm saying thank you. Thank you Sean, Rory, Rob, Cj, Lenny, Bill, Esteban, Abdallah, David, Krysta, Nate, the Joshes, Joey, Kary, Alex, Stephen, Aaron, Steven, Kyle, Brad, Bryan, Terra, Brittney, Maxim, Phil, Michael, Byf, Mark, Patrick, Jackie, Derrick, Nathan, Andrew, Sal, Corey, Jason, Jesse, Jackson, Jason, Kevin, Rush, Ramon, Nick, Paul, Vincent, Tom, Heather, Robby, and so many many many more people that I can't possibly think of at 3 A.M.
You are all making me live my dreams... thank you.