Mehmet's Story - Gaming and Its Influence on My Life

By Mehmet Shah, Do a Barrel Roll

The place that you can go that never changes.

Everyone can remember getting lost in an imaginary world running around outside, playing with makeshift tools and building worlds and stories. For me, video games are an extension of those carefree days and I believe that can help make the world a better place. Life doesn’t always make sense or go the way you expect, especially as a kid, but video games are an outlet to help lessen the burden of those feelings - an escape. They provide an environment that can spark creativity, help you find and nurture friendships, and give you a moment of clarity in an otherwise hectic world.

The first video game that I played, and still love, is Final Fantasy VII. It really shaped what I looked for in a video game. My brother and I would spend countless hours captivated, and this really brought us together as siblings when we didn’t always get along. To this day, whenever I mention that game he will always get a huge smile on his face. We spent hours fighting over the Playstation controllers impatiently wanting to be the hero that found the next secret or defeat the next boss.

Eventually, I branched out and experienced video games as a social activity with my friends. I can still remember picking up Diablo 2 for the first time and playing in LAN parties night after night on dungeon crawls that never seemed to end. We temporarily forgot about the stresses of school and homework and laughed non-stop while cramming our faces full of junk food. When Diablo 3 came out almost 12 years after Diablo 2, even as a working adult, I was transported back to my times as a kid.  To this day, I will still find some quiet time to hop on my PlayStation 4 to dive into some new and crazy world because, at the end of the day, it makes me happy and feel at home.

There are so many different ways to cope and deal with hard times, but video games can be a social, interactive, and immersive experience and don’t often get the appreciation they deserve outside of the gaming community. Video games can provide support and provide a vice to many who may need a type of release. Taking one step closer to understanding that could begin to foster a more inclusive society. It’s important for young kids and adults to be confident in the things that they love and bring them happiness.

I hope that being involved in Do A Barrel Roll will give me a chance to spread this message of positivity and inclusion to help others feel confident in whatever they love because everyone deserves to feel accepted.