My name is Taylor.
I am a white autistic male quickly approaching thirty years old.
I want to start off by saying that I am pretty sure that I do not have a "gaming disorder." I came here with honest skepticism towards that idea in general. While it is true that quite literally have over one-hundred games in my possession currently, I feel that I am not in any danger health-wise. The true reason I came here was to simply tell my story of allowing an incident from sixteen years ago or so to haunt me up to this point, and to look for guidance an how I could even perhaps turn my interest with gaming into a healthy occupation as a developer.
From childhood, I was practically raised by the Sega Genesis. Sonic the Hedgehog and Gunstar Heroes are both special interests of mine as an autistic. The character, personality, color, and action are all appealing to my neurodivergent senses. It's only up to this point in time that my abilities as a cartoonist were fully realized. I love drawing, and my goal in life other than to create my own video would definitely be to create my own comic or cartoon series with those same attitudes in mind. My older and I love to bounce ideas off each other. Where he prefers darker material like Batman, I prefer more light-hearted.
Growing up, I will admit that I had to deal with outside interference from family and school when it came to my time with video games. I was born, raised, and currently live in the buttcrack of the deep conservative south, Georgia, and it's a chokehold down here. My parents and teachers were not inclined to help foster growth in my creative pursuits inspired by video games during elementary.
Life went on, but it wasn't until I reached high-school that I discovered fandom. Excited, curious, and naïve, I went everywhere I could online if it looked cool or interesting. For a time, it felt like the fandom of Sonic the Hedgehog felt like a home away from home. I shared a hobby and passion with others for the first time without fear, and it was glorious. Then, however, came change. Around this time in the mid-2000's, I had discovered YouTube for the first time as well.
Okay, I'll make this one quick because I don't think I have the mental or emotional energy to go into the fullest detail without flying into a rage.
I love video games, but I am thinking about quitting because of the so-called community. It's not just about #GamerGate, but about a lot of other things.
To make a very long and complicated story short, Sonic changed and people started to debate about it. I was in on it, to be sure, but people outside of the Sonic fandom began to demonize us and the franchise and put a clamp on everything. I wasn't happy with that. One day, I decided to take a stand against someone who I thought was my friend. He told me to respect him or else I could go f*** myself. I refused and he released the hounds on me. I severed my ties with him and his group of bullies immediately. His actions never matched up with his supposed motto of "patience is everything." This guy and I used to be part of the same fandom, Sonic, and we had the same goals in mind until he backstabbed me.
People need to be able to debate in order to get the creative juices flowing, but nobody wants to have that. They either want to be right by having their cake and eating it, too, or enforce as much neutrality as possible. There's a culture that dictates that debating with someone about video games is apparently the worst sin you can possibly commit.
Other the other hand, too, there's demonization against the people who create the games that I love to play. I can't address this anywhere without being called a sensitive cringy fanboy. I've long since learned to forgive Sega for Sonic 06, and it's honestly done wonders for me.
I've actually begun to hate that word, "fanboy." It's ableist in and of itself especially when you consider that fandom as a cultural phenomenon was originally founded by people like neurodivergents as a safe space for them to express themselves through their interests special or otherwise. It was then appropriated when it hit mainstream and the people who invented it all became scapegoats by cringe-lords.
So, yeah, that's my life story.