There are three great loves in my life: reading, writing, and video games.
I know that sounds absolutely cliché and maybe it kind of is, but bear with me now. This is my first post and so I thought I’d help you get to know me by telling you about the stuff I love.
Funnily enough, when I first started learning to read, I hated it. So very, very much. I’d have to sit through an hour of Reader Rabbit on the computer before I could mess around in Kid Pix. Green Eggs and Ham was the first book I read, out loud to my parents, by myself – and to this day I still kind of hate it. Piss off, Sam-I-Am.
I can’t exactly remember when I started to like reading. My dad read The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, the His Dark Materials trilogy and the first three Harry Potter books to me. (Considering my mother wouldn’t let me watch Kiki’s Delivery Service for a long time because it had witches in it, I’m surprised she let my dad read me anything by Philip Pullman or good old JK.) By the time I was in grade school, I was a reading fanatic. I loved going to the library and taking out the same books over and over again. Scholastic Book Fairs were the best ever – my parents had to put a limit on how many books I was allowed to order, otherwise I would have bankrupted them.
But what I can remember is one day in Grade Four. In that grade, they decided to split us into different groups for our subjects based on our proficiency. It was quite confusing for my ten-year-old self-esteem to be in the best Language Arts (English lit) class but also the worst Math class. Anyway. We went to the library in LA to pick out a book we hadn’t read before to do a book report on it, and something caught my eye:
I don’t know what it was about Martin the Warrior that hooked me. Everything, probably. The characters (there are a lot), the classic story of good vs. evil, the friendships and the romance–and my first major death (spoiler alert: Rose dies, and I was in shock). Yeah, I really liked Harry Potter, but that was a special thing between me and my dad. This was all mine. And when I found out that there were fifteen other books in this series – and the author was still writing – I was ecstatic.
And then there was the TV show.
Long story short, after reading Martin the Warrior, I decided that I wanted to write books who would make people feel the way I did. And so I became an English Lit major.
I’m sure I would have majored in English anyway, but I distinctly remember deciding to do it after I’d finished that book. And I was really sad in first year university when Brian Jacques died. I still haven’t read The Rogue Crew, because that means it’s over.
Because I love to read, it’s probably no surprise that I love to write. In Grade Two, we had to do these Think And Do booklets – write a story and draw pictures to go along with it. We were supposed to do, like, two over the course of the year. I made ten.
When I was eleven, I started writing a story set in WWII about three British teenagers who stole a plane, crash-landed in the Black Forest, and infiltrated the Hitler Youth. It was hilariously ambitious and I wish I still had it – just so I could look back and laugh.
I discovered fanfiction in 2006 when Googling Delilah and Julius, and I had a prolific career in that fandom for a couple years before branching out to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (the 2003 series specifically), Bleach, Dragon Age, and, most recently, Gears of War.
I started planning out a dystopian YA novel (before they were cool, yes, I’m so hipster) called City Zero. I haven’t touched it in about five years but it might be fun to finish one day.
The first game I remember playing was Pokémon Snap on the N64. This is the only Pokémon game I’ve ever played, much to Jenica’s horror. Then there was Mario Kart 64, Super Smash Bros., and The Ocarina of Time. As we only had one console when we were kids, it was a lot of me watching my younger brother play. It was okay for me to watch but I couldn’t actually play the games by myself because I’m a girl and video games were for boys.
My brother ended up teaching me to play Halo 3 on the Xbox 360. This was back when my parents were convinced that everyone on Xbox Live was a pedophile and/or serial killer, and so they refused to buy my brother a subscription. So, when his friends weren’t around to play with him, there was only me. I helped him beat Halo 3 on Legendary, and I have vague memories of playing some bits of the first Gears of War game.
Gears of War 2 has more vivid memories for me. Playing Warzone against bots and kicking their asses. Then I went to high school, enrolled in the Performing and Visual Arts program, and met Renee. She was cool. I knew of her in junior high but she had black and red hair and wore corsets and was generally terrifying to me. But as she was one of the three people I knew at Central (I transferred out of my designated high school for the PVA program), we became friends. She played Gears of War as well! How amazing. As a girl, I could actually like video games! Obsess over them, even.
Fast forward to 2011: I’m in Vancouver, in my second year of university, and Gears of War 3 is coming out. With money from my summer job, I pre-order the Gears of War 3 Limited Edition Xbox 360 and the Epic Edition of the game.
And now, in 2015:
I’ve gone from believing I couldn’t like video games to being unashamedly obsessed with one of the manliest dudebro games of all time. But read Karen Traviss’s books. They are great novels, some of my favourite, and they’re about video games. Characters that have made me laugh out loud and weep.
And, hey, I even ended up writing my undergraduate thesis on Mass Effect 3. And I think that’s pretty cool.