I am an artist by trade. A playwright, poet, performer and producer (lot of Ps), but my gaming life and my artistic life rarely intertwine. In fact, the only time they do is cosplay, but opportunities for that are few and far between. So when Tony asked me if I was interested in starting a gaming zine, I leapt at the opportunity. Finally, I am going to write about games. But this isn’t your average review spot, a state of the industry or an eyes on the horizon site. What I want to write about are games that exist in my distant present -- the games that never left me, and their emotional power that I still feel today.
I’m currently 28 and change and have been playing video games since The Legend of Zelda in ‘86 (that makes me oneish when it came out). My parents were obsessed with the NES and the three of us would play all the time. When I was a little older my dad and I revisited Zelda and this time, he watched me play through the game (with my mom’s homemade map) and I handed it over to him to beat Ganon. Since that playthrough, gaming has had a huge impact on my life and so many of my favorite games (Majora’s Mask, FFX, Earthbound, Elder Scrolls just to name a few) have taught me about mood, theme, tone and storytelling in general, so in a way, it has colored much of my career.
This zine has a queer edge. I am an out and proud gaymer, which isn’t always the easiest thing. The gaming community isn’t exactly rolling in gay characters (and more often than not some pretty horrible epithets are tossed around), but I hope that in some small way we can connect to our underrepresented gaming communities and inform the greater one in the process. And I think the best way to talk to the community is talk about how games make you feel. I want Electro Bureau to strike the emotional chord that keeps the gaming community alive after all this time (and hopefully along the way, we’ll brush the dust off some old, misplaced treasures).
I stole this next part from Tony, but if you have something gamewise to share with us, be it artwork, opinions, reviews or whatever (especially with an underrepresented voice (female, gay, trans, ect…), submit it to us. I would love it if Electro Bureau was as much the reader’s place as it is ours.
2013 was not my year. I’d settled into a routine of working, watching television or playing games, then sleeping. I spent most of my free time consuming media that, while well-crafted and thoughtful, left me feeling unfulfilled. I had vague urges of wanting to “make something,” but that is hardly an actionable directive. I tried blogging about the games that were important to me, but that got no traction and I dropped the idea.
Serendipitously, one of the first things I read this year was “The Builder’s High” by Michael Lopp. If you haven’t read it, go ahead and follow the link; I’ll still be here when you’re done. He concisely stated what I’d been feeling for over a year-- though we consume and create constantly on social media, no amount of likes or retweets or reblogs can satisfy the primeval urge to build. I’d been wading through a morass of RSS feeds, tweets, and linkbait articles, and I wasn’t feeling fulfilled. Lopp also had a prescription for the ennui I’d been experiencing: just build. [[“It is an effort to simply get past the foulness in order to start building, but once the building has begun, the foul beast loses ground.”]] It doesn’t matter what it is, just put a blank canvas in front of yourself, and put something on it.
You’re looking at my once-blank canvas. I’ve been playing video games for the majority of my life; I beat my first, The Legend of Zelda, when I was four years old. Wonderful games, eerie games, niche games, social games, retro games, experimental games. I know that my identity is intertwined with the games that have filled my days, but I haven’t taken the time necessary to recognize these games and how they have ingrained themselves in my life. I want to take these experiences and to build something. I want to externalize what these games meant to me at very specific moments in time, and reach a better understanding of our intersections.
I don’t want Electro Bureau to just be a venue for my own navel-gazing, of course. I’m hoping we can feature voices that are not often heard speaking on games that are not often played. If you have something to say, please pick up a pen. If you’ve got a lot to say, we’ve got plenty of blank canvas to share. Put your thoughts to paper and submit a piece to us.