I’ve been a gamer since I was a kid. My family played board games around the kitchen table after supper many, many times, and from those experiences I learned valuable things about patience, waiting your turn, and yes, a fair amount of strategy and how to bluff. Also important, having to read instructions and rulebooks helped polish my reading skills, so that I was a fully proficient reader by the time I entered first grade.
Games — from card games and simple board games to more complex ones, all the way up to tabletop role-playing games — are a hobby I’ve enjoyed for more than four decades now. I even work part time in a game store — mostly for the extra money, but also because it’s a hobby I know well and love. It makes me sad to hear grown-ups speak disparagingly about how games are just for kids; clearly, they’ve never tried to play the old Avalon Hill versions of Civilization or History of the World!
Play is an important aspect of a human life. Playing allows us to blow off steam after a tough day. Physical play — sports or outdoor games — is important to maintain a fit body; mental play — games and puzzles, for instance — is just as important to maintain a fit mind. For children, play teaches them concepts that will be important later in life, like fair play, co-operation, and the patience to wait for one’s own turn. Also, games help teach sharing, reading and are key in developing interpersonal skills. Games are an important part of life no matter your age!
Since my earliest gaming experiences – playing Hi-Ho! Cherry-O and Ropes and Ladders as a little boy, I’ve moved on. I’ve worked in a game store, held several positions with a major US game distributor, and worked for game publishers, both as a freelance writer and as a regular employee. Not only have games provided me with countless hours of entertainment, they’ve also kept me gainfully employed for decades. Frankly, I owe the games industry a lot, and I’m grateful to have had such an enjoyably and challenging career.
In the future I look forward to more freelance writing, and also working on more fiction. With my experience and background in the games industry I would certainly consider an offer from the right company to help promote and sell their games, but for now, I’m happy where I am.
One final note: Mark your calendars! Games In Libraries Day is Saturday November 16. Be sure to stop by your local library branch to try some new games and to check out what’s new at your library; I think you’ll be impressed!