Before getting into the actual text I want to clarify that this is my entry for the #smarterwithlenovo campaign from Lenovo.
Despite participating in the campaign I’m neither getting paid nor is Lenovo influencing anything I create under the motto “How technology makes your life better”. I’m merely using this as a platform to tell a story important to me and create awareness towards an important and current topic.
Got it? Perfect, now let’s get to the point.
In the midst of the peak of Fighting Game competition, another discussion around games and gun violence occured. I don’t have to address the fact that, we all play games. Kids, teenagers and adults play Video Games all over the world and the only country with constant gun violence problems is still America. Instead of debating what is right and wrong here, I think the best is to share some of my journey with Gaming and Esports through my life.
I’ve been playing games since forever. I can remember the first time I hold a controller to play Super Mario, going to the arcade with my siblings to play Star Wars racer or the first time my siblings trolled me when I was a kid by putting a toy controller in my hands.
Games connect people all over the world. They connect people to chat, spend time together or to blow off steam after a stressful day. Over the years playing video games and traveling to Esports events I met quite a lot of people that fascinates me for who they are and what they do.
Great people that I wouldn’t have met otherwise. We met because of gaming and developed great friendships over time, some fun rivalries, and some laughter together. I grew up with games and this is one of my dearest memories with gaming.
I was born in São Paulo, Brazil. The two pastimes you had as a kid were either to play video games or go out to play football. Despite the difficulty of actually buying consoles in Brazil, there were arcades everywhere. So if you didn’t get yourself a PlayStation and found a way to get games in Brazil, which was very expensive, you spent your time at the arcade playing time crisis or some fighting games.
When I was 8 years old I moved to Germany and things changed drastically. I was in a new environment where I didn’t speak the language nor knew the culture. Kids my age weren’t too familiar with video games and there were no arcades nearby. I was still able to make friends, however, as soon as I moved to high school, I got bullied. I got bullied for several things. Most importantly I got bullied because I was different and not “one” of them. I spoke a different language, came from a different culture and had other interests as the other kids. And I remember the time when we moved into a different city during 7th grade. It was a 15 minutes car ride away from my friends, but that meant we couldn’t see each other often, I was alone in a city I didn’t know anybody and I couldn’t make any new friends in the new classroom.
Although on the first day I took the bus to school, I made this one friend. He was sitting in the back of the bus, talking with his friends about a game he was playing. Not long after he asked me if I was the new guy that just moved into the city. Shortly after we argued if the PlayStation or Nintendo was better and chatted about our favorite games. The next day we met up and started playing games together and started a friendship over this common interest of ours. His parents were more relaxing towards technology than my other friends, letting him have his computer, consoles and own TV in his room. We spent endless hours playing Halo 3, Mario Kart or Smash bros. We took it even one step further than we would recreate a competition inspired by a German TV show called Game One. They had a format called Royal Beef, where the moderators would battle against each other in a video game competition. Since we loved it so much, we recreated the show ourselves. It was at the time where the first iPod touches with cameras came out and we had one of those and an old digital camera. So we shot our intro videos to scare us off and selected a couple of games to play. Since we were kids and we didn’t have any idea of what we were doing, we used one of the cameras to record the tv and the other one to record us playing. And we just had fun creating our TV show and competition. On this day I did not only had a ton of fun as a kid, but I encountered my passion for Esports and Video. After that we started competing in other games and take things a bit more serious.
Over the years we maintained that friendship and still talk to this day. He was one of my first friends to support on my journey into Esports and Filmmaking and we will be going to play at a Smash Ultimate Tournament at the end of the month. I travelled because of video games, met people from different countries and cultures and was able to find a community of people that share a common passion for video games. Video Games connected us and with many others.
Video Games were there when I needed them the most. Video Games were there to create new connections and friendships. Video Games allowed me to travel. Video Games allowed me to experience things I might never be possible to do otherwise and use the door it opened for me to grow as a person. It didn’t make me a violent or a worse person, it made me a better one.