Gaming Culture and Why I Created AmazYn
After some discussion with my brother, I am suddenly motivated to explain why I do the things I do, provide insight on my views of gaming culture and explain the reason I created AmazYn. I hope the readers of this blog take the time to fully digest this information with the understanding that this is what I believe.
Who I Am
I grew up in a single parent household with my mother, Kecia Mallard playing both the role of father and mother for the vast majority of my years as an adolescent. She is what most would describe as an intelligent, strong woman with outstanding work ethic and an enduring love for her children. When I think of all of the lessons I have learned in life or how to handle upcoming challenges, my mother and God have and will always be the guiding light to my salvation. Every bit of who I am is as much of her as it is me.
Throughout my life I remember having, to this very day, an uncanny desire to compete. In nearly every aspect of everyday activity, I always made it into a competition, to be the best and to show humility for the natural gifts I possess. Literally anything I found interesting, I sought to learn more about it and become the most knowledgeable and/or talented person within my circle – the larger the circle, the more challenging. Pushing myself to the limit and overcoming the obstacles of life is very gratifying. To many of you, friends, family and those in the gaming community, my legacy has consisted of sports accolades in Track & Field, Football, and gaming. The latter, gaming, has been a part of my childhood since the age of 3.
Life and Gaming
By most societal standards, I definitely do not fit the description of a web tech loving, “nerdy,” Professional Gamer. I am African American, played collegiate sports (University of Cincinnati), and grew up in a single parent household – I am what most would call a “jock” and in college it was always, “Oh you’re a football player.” Most people have been awe-stricken, disgusted, or stopped speaking to me all together after learning that I love gaming. To them, gaming is a societal wasteland, one that is, “Breeding a generation of lazy, uneducated, irresponsible individuals.” As one person so elegantly told me a few years ago. “I continue to waste my true potential,” said another.
My “true potential,” which has vaguely and loosely been discussed by people including my Father, Mother, coaches, girlfriends, friends and other various people in my life is something no one can truly understand. If they are referring to my potential for success, by what standards are they measuring? Or is it my physical and mental potential? Success is measured differently by every culture and every human being on this earth. My successes in life are weighed by my own standards, not by those of other people. I believe my mental and physical potential and my successes are mutually limitless, therefore my true potential is exponentially infinite. There is no one except Almighty himself that can stand in the way of what I set out to achieve.
Society on Gaming Culture
No doubt, my pursuit to further advance in the gaming industry has been a tremendously difficult and evolutionary path. It is one that I am both passionate and determined to accomplish, but was triggered by the distorted views my inner circle and what this society’s culture have placed on “gamers.” I do not believe gaming is “breeding a generation of lazy, uneducated and irresponsible individuals.” I do not believe games are influencing adolescents to pick up guns and pretend they are characters from games, giving in to that ridiculous “Games promote violence” nonsense. For every fault our culture has possessed there is always a scapegoat that people latch on to in order to shift the blame; gaming happens to fit quite nicely for a large majority of the population.
I began to formulate my initial plans to advance my status in the gaming industry in 2005 and helped create my first competitive gaming team. Many of you know that team as “vBi” or “Violent by Instinct.” The team was co-founded by myself and Jonathan Tartaglione and grew to roughly 25 team members with representation in the US, UK, Australia, and Canada. Sounds good right? It was also during this time period that I was introduced to Major League Gaming and the e-Sports community. Our team quickly established itself as a contender within Major League Gaming and other various e-Sports Leagues. My team and personal reputation in the league were established by our successes and determination to showcase our talent. The problem I began to see is that not everyone on vBi had the same burning desire to compete as the one that I possessed – a problem that would ultimately lead to its failure.
In 2008, I was brought on board with eBash LLC or eBash Video Gaming Centers by Zack Johnson as the company was in its initial phase of expansion. This job, a dream job by my standards, was acquired through a combination of my desire to learn more about the LAN Center business model and the reputation vBi attained through competition. It also contributed valuable information to the inherent nature and understanding of everyday gamers, the creation of AmazYn, and why I am so attuned to the ReflectzYn blog. In late 2009, the Bloomington eBash center was closed, along with it brought on an abrupt change in my attitude and a complete overhaul of my personal goals in gaming.
I believe gaming culture, as we know it, needs a transformation. I believe Major League Gaming has involuntarily tuned into a social trend that can be harnessed to a level that transcends stereotypes and creates a vastly different depiction of gamers. Furthermore it is my responsibility, by my own choice, to share the information and knowledge that I possess and create an image of who I am outside of gaming. And in the process providing everyone with a transparent view of my team, myself, and the organization I set out to establish.
Paul Coelho wrote in The Alchemist, “When you want something the universe conspires to help you.” My interpretation of that quote is quite simple: If I believe it, it is so. For the vast majority of my life and throughout my time within the gaming community, I have treated everyone with a mutual respect. I do not believe in being racist, derogatory or hateful online because I can hide behind an anonymous alias and spew out hate – that’s not me. I do not believe in showcasing foul sportsmanship in competion – that’s not me. I do not believe in living an unhealthy lifestyle – that’s not me. Somehow the communication has been distorted, and gaming culture has grown into this overshadowing, negative societal thing.
I set out to change this social negativity, through my actions, through my words and through my belief that it is time to change. It is time to be different, to show you who I am and to show you why AmazYn is the reason it will change. AmazYn is a representation of how I want to be viewed as a gamer. People are able to come together, to enjoy technology and improve the experience of those around them. We set out to create new communities like Healthy Gamers with aspirations to actively change and promote a better depiction of ourselves. We set out to create tools such as TheTwittbook because every opinion is valued, not the opposite. The universe is conspiring to help me with this task. And I have a burning desire to change every predetermined perception that does not represent who I am.
I BELIEVE IT IS TIME, THEREFORE IT IS SO.
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