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Great Expectations: A Tale of One Journalist

February 27, 2013 Written by Dan Oravasaari

PSLS is changing, I see that every day, and hope to be a part of that change. But as we want to be more open, and remove the barriers between the writer and the reader, it’s only fair that I let you know about how I came to write for this site, why I do it, and what the future might hold. This is how I came to be who I am, how my hardships have changed me, and why I am about to leave my old life behind.

Growing up, I was always the kid who knew everything about games, and was always the one who everyone had gauged their ability against. This was something that was ingrained in me since I was a child, having grown up playing video games with my older brother, who was always very much the same way. We became each other’s competition, we did not wrestle or bicker the way many siblings do, instead we met on a digital battleground.

Gaming became the definition of who I was, but my parents believed very much in the need for a prestigious career, as they had struggled in life and did not want the same for us. I grew up dreaming about designing games, and became a decently talented artist, but believed I needed be ‘respectable’ and the games industry was not far from that. My dreams became fantasies that were never to be realized, as they were simply hopeful and childish, the games industry at the time was so meek compared to where it is now, that the reality of it even being a feasible job was so far from reality.

So, instead of setting my goal to work within the games industry, I set my goal to learn everything I could about various aspects of design and and industry standards as a way to satiate myself while I made my ‘career’ a side project. I studied 3D animation, art and programming, all while getting my degree in Psychology – as I had a knack for listening and reading people. I found that I could still wedge in my passion for gaming, by running studies on aggression and behavior, which had actually garnered the attention of a number of my teachers. They brought me on to work as an understudy for my Neuroscience teacher, and I became a teaching assistant for a multivariate statistics class, putting me well on my way to enter grad-school.

After graduating, my girlfriend at the time was diagnosed with cancer, and my life almost stopped. I spent the next year taking care of her, and was working to support both of us. Soon, I was laid off, caught her cheating, and pretty much fell apart.

Shortly after, I found a job working in an office that I thought had saved me from my own pit of despair, sadly I did not know that I would be stuck in a situation that would only drag me down further. I became the office fall guy, yelled at by supervisors for issues far beyond my control, was improperly trained, and was mistreated daily by my own lead.

One day, as a way to escape my environment I put in my headphones and listened to a terrible show called Cross Game Chat (j/k guys). To my surprise, there was an opening for new writers to send in samples,  not being a trained journalist but not having much to lose, I sent in an email. Little did I know, that a year and a half from that simple action, I would be able to go to E3, co-host Daily Reaction & Bad Gamers, be set to go to my first GDC, and get to talk to so many amazing people.

Things seemed to be picking up, but after months of working 12-15 hour days, I knew that I had to figure out something before I killed myself. My office job was the only way I could support myself financially, and PSLS was the only way I felt happy, which was I supposed to choose? On January 18th, I quit my office job, and decided to leave everything I could behind, to make a better life for myself.

Now, after packing up all of my belongings, I sit here in an empty room on the last day I have left in my old house looking forward. I do not know if I will be able to continue the path I have chosen within the games industry, I do not know if I will need to keep that large cardboard box Seb tells me I will live in. I do not know anything about my future, except that it is mine to make, and whatever happens, I will have made the best decisions I could to finally be happy – and that is all anyone can do.