Gaming Journalism Origins: BChan’s Story
How did I get into the gaming media industry? For me this story isn’t tied to just my experience writing on video games, but ties closely to my history with video games. This story goes back to when I played my very first game, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, on the SEGA Game Gear in the 90s, introduced to me by my father.
The game is an old-school side-scrolling action fighter where you choose one of the five titular power rangers and each level has you battle through enemies that culminates in 1v1 boss battles with well-known enemies from the television show. Despite the old game being so basic, it taught me how fun games could be and introduced me to this form of entertainment that allowed me to exercise my mental acuity in real-time while connecting me with my dad who I’d ask for help whenever I couldn’t beat a boss.
Following that, the game gear became a source of entertainment that bonded me with new friends I would meet growing up, where we would hand off the machine and take turns playing games while the other would watch on in excitement, seeing how we would each approach puzzles and unfold the 16-bit content.
What followed as I grew up saw me getting my hands on more games and more consoles, one particularly significant instance being the Nintendo 64, which had me see multiplayer gaming for the first time with Diddy Kong Racing. This go-kart racing game which allowed me to directly enjoy such gaming experiences with friends and family further cemented in me the notion that video games were an incredible tool when it came to creating lasting memories with others.
Furthermore it was around this time when I started meeting more kids my age and engaging in physical activities became the social norm – however it was here I also discovered the social division that would take place for kids due to physical differences. Yet, when no matter which kid picked up a controller despite their size or physical appearance, when they sat down to play a game, it boiled down to kids having fun on a virtual landscape.
Forward a few years and I got into my first online multiplayer game, Runescape. Through this game I learned I could connect and play with friends regardless of physical distance, yet still enjoy their company as we would go on hunts or quests together.
More importantly, I came to meet other totally stranger players who I would befriend through the same activities. While of course practising internet stranger-safety protocols, I found how fun it could be to make connections with others without knowing their physical appearance but understanding that we both shared a passion for gaming, and how being a part of an online community centred around video games connected me to that much more people.
Fast forward several more years down the line to 2016, and by now I’ve played through a fair share of all kinds of single-player, multiplayer, online, fps, rpg, action, horror, etc. you-name-it kind of games and have developed a profound love for my hobby. Yet that’s all it was – a hobby. At this point I had made everlasting friendships, been to various video-game-related events, and experienced life-influencing narratives all thanks to video games, yet never really gave much thought to how much games had influenced me, other than that it was a fun activity that connected me with others. It was during this year when a dear friend of mine recommended me NieR.
They called it a cult-classic – a “really weird” kind of game that pushes players through tons of bizarre obstacles and ultimately didn’t get a lot of love, but all for an exceedingly good reason. Initially hearing this made me sceptical and wonder why I would want to expose myself to such a game, to which their response was “If there is only one game I would recommend to anyone, it would be this one.” So I picked up and played NieR on a PlayStation 3 that same year – and found it to be an absolute masterpiece.
I won’t go into detail my thoughts on NieR – that’s for another reflective piece that can be found on my website www.checkpointmediaworks.com – but I will say that the game made me think, A LOT. It made me think about my history with video games and how they affected me growing up. It made me reflect and come to realise just about everything I had admitted in the first 3 paragraphs of this written piece – because when I was growing up, I didn’t actually understand the influence video games had on me, no! I took them for granted as mere tools for entertainment.
It was by reflecting on how this mere recommendation from a friend made me see video games as more than just games that helped me truly realise how the essence of video games can be a strong binding force for people.
I realised that the SEGA Game Gear became a way for me to connect with others, by recommending and being recommended gaming experiences; that multiplayer couch games set level playing fields for all kinds of gamers regardless of physical appearances; and that you don’t even have to really know someone to enjoy an experience with them when you’re both just having fun. Most importantly, I realised that this all came about because video games can serve as the shared experience to establish everlasting social bonds.
In 2018, after grounding myself some more in the gaming industry and building more connections at events and universities, I created Checkpoint MediaWorks – a gaming blog dedicated to uncovering gaming’s hidden masterpieces. I hoped that with my team, I would be able to give similar recommendations that would help visitors and gamers appreciate their connection with video games, and ultimately the bonds they’ve forged thanks to video games.
On behalf of the team at Informed Pixel, we want to thank BChan for sharing his story as the first Featured Content Creator. This piece was written by BChan. This featured content creator piece is the start of a ongoing series to help bring focus to those who work in various areas of the gaming industry. Featuring journalists, streamers, community leaders and even game developers, the featured content creator series is focused on highlighting the journeys of the people who help continue to spread the love of games in the gaming community.
You can check out my personal story over on BChan’s site over at Checkpoint MediaWorks. For gaming news and more featured content creator stories, you can also keep up to date at Informed Pixel. Want to speak to the team and interact with other gamers? You can do so over on the Informed Pixel Facebook page or on the Informed Pixel Twitter account. You can also find my work on my Facebook page or on my Twitter.