Passionate Geeks is a monthly feature (the second Wednesday of the month), where I invite people to explore and share about those things that they are passionate about.
What kind of a Geek are you?
The first Passionate Geek to share with us all is Jo Osborne!
Jo is an aspiring indie developer with qualifications in game development. She has always been drawn to anything creative, with a passion for programming and art. She also considers herself to be a lifelong learner, always searching for ways to help make her own segment of the world a brighter place.
Being a geek has shaped my life in many different, but wonderful ways. I’m easily excitable and can be a very eager and enthusiastic person. I find it all too easy to fall in love with new experiences and have tried my hand at all sorts of activities including art, pottery, photography, baking and even longbow archery. I do have one particular passion that has always been a staple in my life however, and that’s video games. I feel so strongly about games that I will dedicate a lot of time and money towards them; sometimes I can become so absorbed by them I’ll completely lose track of the time. Right now as I type I’m sat in a room surrounded by gaming merchandise: models, plushies, books and collectors editions.
I was a very shy kid and I could present numerous accounts of typical bullying problems while growing up. Games have come to mean a lot to me because I feel like they helped me to get through those difficult times in my life. They gave me a safe place to escape to and distract myself. They also offered me many challenges to overcome and in turn opportunities to succeed, that feeling of mastery helping me to feel good about myself. I’ve been told that when given the chance to talk about video games my face apparently lights up and my shyness melts away. No matter what insecurities we feel, when we love something we find it easier to come out of our shells and to show off who we really are.
Our passions can lead to us developing new skills and expertise. Games inspire people to create their own fan art, fiction, guides and to even go on to learn how to develop their own. From the moment I launched my first game on the Commodore Amiga, I was instantly captivated by the idea of being able to build entire worlds with their own rules. I became obsessed with wanting to learn how to develop my own games, starting out by drawing my own level designs and making simple point and click adventures. I remember asking for development software for Christmas and my poor parents didn’t have a clue about what I actually needed to follow this dream. Eventually I bought my first programming book and later attended a course. Game development is one of those subjects that requires a lot of time and dedication to break into. Like any skill-set that we might strive to be truly good at, I believe that it takes a certain amount of love on our part to get there. Many talented people are probably geeks for what they do.
Geeks also love to connect with other like minded people to talk about what compels them. My interest in games eventually led to me finding such connections, through my game development course, playing online and attending tournaments/conventions. When I meet other gamers for the first time it’s amazing how we can talk for so long without running out of things to say – in all appearances it’s as if we’re not strangers at all, but in fact long time friends. Sharing the same interests also allows us to form a sort of dialogue that only those in the know can follow, and in turn that inclusive feeling seems to strengthen the bonds we feel. My partner loves how he can reel off hazy gaming strategies and I’ll nod along having completely understood everything. Once I have formed a bond I can also be incredibly loyal and will always try my best to help a friend in need.
My geeky tendencies have influenced my life greatly from friendships to skills/careers to helping me to cope during difficult times. To me a ‘geek’ isn’t just a set group of interests, but also a type of person and a way of life. Geeks are capable of seeing the wonder where others might have overlooked and will scratch deeper below the surface. We’re also rarely content with going half-way and will pursue our chosen passions with as a much vigor as we can muster. Geeks bring a little extra magic to the world and I am proud to be able to say that I’m one of them.