I get obsessed.
It might be reading comic books, cooking food, or doing standup comedy (Yes, that is something that actually happened. I have proof.). Doesn't matter what it is. I get lost and ignore everything and everyone around me.
We didn't have a computer in our house for most of my childhood. I was born in 1987 and my father bought himself a PC in 1998, but that one was off-limits. It was his porn and maintaining a Word document for his VHS collection machine. My first personal computer, and I shit you not, was a Commodore C64. In 1999.
It was glorious. It was a hand-me-down from my father's only friend, who was an avid pirate. I got the computer and hundreds of games to play. Black and White television. Really. Krakout. Winter Games. Boulder Dash. I fucking loved Krakout.
The games were in english, which is not my native language. School vocabulary was limited. So I started to teach myself (There's a whole aside about the Star Wars Trading Card Game and childhood friends I have to get into some other time).
A year later my father bought himself a new computer and gave me the old one. It was Pentium III and it had a CD-Burner. For a brief moment I was hot shit at school. I was being beaten on and laughed at, but because I was the only one able to create copies of games to pass around, I was let off the hook for a short period. I loved games. I poured hours and hours into Morrowind, GTA III, Quake III (offline, because the internet is a fad and too expensive and you need to go outside but not too late because we might get arrested. Shut up and comply.), and all sorts of long-forgotten gems. Unreal Tournament was a favorite.
Modding was hot. I read all about it in print magazines. They had CDs and on those shiny disks where not only demos of the newest hits, but also mods for Unreal Tournament, Half-Life, Quake. Strike-Force against bots. A weird Dragon Ball clone. I devoured those. I wanted to know how they were made.
I begged for an internet connection. I laid out a plan to finance it myself, with my meager allowance. They make mods. In groups. There are resources. No. Chance. You need to learn. School is important. But this is learning! Don't you see? This is the future! I can make games, I can design levels, this could be a career. You're a child. You don't understand. Do homework. I. am. Parent. Do as I say. I didn't.
Circumstances led me to drop out of school in eight grade. Home stuff. People stuff. My thirst for knowledge. School didn't offer me that. There were only bullies. They laughed. And laughed. I got punched. They laughed.
School offered knowledge I don't need. I need to make games. I don't need geology. I need to learn how to program. I need to learn how to write this thing called C++. I bought books. I got on public transportation and read books instead of going to school. My education was more important than school.
And then my parents divorced.
They were never good together, and I'm glad they did it, but it was like that moment a violent dictatorship is overthrown and no one really knows how to handle their freedom. My life went from orderly shit to chaotic shit to nothingness. Black hole. No one there.
I spend the next ten years running from many things. Games were one of them. I think it was the disappointment. The idea that I had a some semblance of a future ahead of me which was sabotaged at every stage by selfish, ignorant parents. Frankly, I was bitter. Traumatized. I abandoned programming. I wanted to be a writer. Poor artist. Look at me. That whole thing. But I knew. Deep down I knew. It wasn't the writing I was interested in. It was telling stories. There is a difference. The medium doesn't matter. Wrong. The medium does matter. I like being in control. I am visual person. Comics are hard. Movies are unwieldy. Games are perfect.
I returned to programming four years ago. I started out writing an app that would help me write more. A notes app. I had this whole notion about being a startup person now. I had this whole plan of overhauling publishing. Right.
I lost focus. That's not who I am.
I am a storyteller. And I need to make games.