Video gaming and fashion seem to be making a lot of headlines lately in popular media. Starting the other day with the announcement of official footwear collaborations between Nintendo and skateboard apparel designer Vans, and with the most recent Met Gala event featuring famous celebrities armed with Tamagotchi devices, it’s hard to deny the influence that gaming has had on popular culture.

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Gaming is seen as an art form by the developers who design these games, and the fans who play them. Whether it be in the rich story dialogue, the game play, the visuals, or the music, gaming means many different things to many different people. Of course, there will always be those who scoff at gaming, seeing it as a children’s hobby. Kind of like my own parents, really, who did not realize how intensively involved I am with this industry and the intertwining network of connections I’ve built up over almost a decade. It’s times like this where I smile wholeheartedly for people like Tommy Tallarico, who created the largest video gaming music show in Video Games Live. People like him who want to change the industry, and who want to expose a new generation to the wonders that video gaming is.

It’s strange, really. Here I am, about to begin a whole new chapter of my life with pharmacy school, yet I find myself still very much entwined in the affairs of the games industry. The signs of the industry are everywhere. Gaming culture has changed – jet planes featuring gaming characters, enthusiast apparel, food, you name it. I’ve been told to pick one or the other: do I choose the promising potential career in sciences, or do I go all in and work together towards creating a new tomorrow for the gaming industry? This question burns each day. There is no denying, however, how much of an impact video games have changed the face of my life.

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Ten years ago, if you had told me that I would open up a gaming publication and gone to E3 with it, I would have laughed in your face. It was a pipe dream, but a long road ahead; there have been times I have wanted to tear out the hair on my head in frustration at some of these developments on my way to this. All in all, the one factor that has kept me focused has been gaming. It’s not just gaming itself, it’s the bonds that gaming has helped create; with a network of acquaintances that spans countries, the impact is definitely there. Some of my best friends have been made, indirectly, through gaming.

What I think is most important is not the entertainment value that gaming brings. Gaming’s most important values are to bring people together. Gaming in the past few years has become focused on small, mundane facets, and people get incredibly wrapped up in console wars and graphical arguments. Time for us all to take a few steps back, and look at some of the things that gaming has brought us.