Why I changed trajectory: From working in the video game industry to becoming a change agent for peace
Growing up, I loved video games, and enjoyed reading video game magazines. During my teenage years, I thought I would end up working in the video game industry. Whether it was to be a video game journalist or at a video game developer or publishing company.
Around 2007, the trajectory shift began that was pulling me away from the video game industry. Video game magazines started to cease publication: such as Xbox Nation, GameNOW, Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine, Tips & Tricks (one of my favorites), Electronic Gaming Monthly (which ended up being revived), GamePro, Nintendo Power, and play (to name a few).
The demise of video game magazines, however, was not a shock to me. Most of the video game magazines I grew up reading felt as if they had deteriorated over time. The quality was not as good, and the internet became a large competition pool that pulled readers away from subscription-based magazines. While I wrote reviews online, and on my blog (as well as volunteering for Microsoft and Konami), my interest in reviewing games waned, particularly by 2010. Since 2010, I have only written one review on my blog. However, it would also be fair to say life has been rather hectic since 2010… though my interest in video games certainly declined significantly by this time.
In the later years, I also began to see price extortion really being abused (such as paying for content already on the disc), which really took the joy out of many video games due to a transparent capitalistic agenda. I also felt that most games were not original anymore. In 2016, there are still a few unique games being released, though back in the day, I remember looking forward to so many games. Today, I can only name a handful of games. The idea of working in the video game industry today, particularly as a journalist, would be rather boring for me, due to a lack of games that currently interest me.
However, it was not just the video game industry that made me change my trajectory in life. Personal events in my life (such as being robbed at gunpoint in 2009), and re-uniting with many relatives I had not seen in 15+ years made me realize what was most important in life. Connecting with people – whether it is with family, friends, or bringing more harmony and peace to the world in any capacity. Thus, I decided to immediately continue my education right after I graduated from a Master’s degree to a PhD in Conflict Analysis and Resolution, with a concentration in International Peace.
While I will still play video games, they no longer have any priority in my life. I only play them generally with many family relatives (we play games such as Scene It), and I never ended up upgrading to a Wii U, Xbox One, or PlayStation 4. Perhaps maybe the next console generation.. or perhaps still this current generation of video game systems. I just don’t really have the time to invest in games anymore as I did. There are millions of people out there who don’t have the luxury of playing video games, and I for one would like to help in creating a world where many more can have the same opportunities I did.
Although my life growing up was not a walk in the park, we somehow were able to afford video games, and they helped me escape from a dark life that I tried so desperately to internally overcome, and not let the shadows overwhelm me. Through my personal experiences, a deep empathy remains strong, and I will continue to challenge myself in life as I near the conclusion of the current chapter in my life: completing the PhD (soon to be, hopefully before 2017).
Perhaps this was supposed to be my path all along, and video games were just the connection to bring me to where I am today. I don’t regret my previous ambitions in life — it’s always great to aspire and dream of a bright future. I just noticed a deeper void that I knew was my calling, as I did not see what more I could add to the “me too” video game industry.