.O. + XPNGN
- Name? Zero. Yes, for real.
- ASL? mid-40s, male, Ontario.
- GPP? masculine polygender; queer; he/him/his.
- Relationships? married (25yrs); polyamorous.
- Kids? One daughter in college. Yes, she’s awesome.
- Other? ADHD, ASD, PTSD, chronic pain, synaesthesia, CSA survivor, celiac, migraneur, asthmatic, RADS (reactive airway disorder syndrome), multiple allergies.
- Pets? Two dogs (Shira and Bhel) and one snake (Blaze).
- Other sites? Know the Sea (writing) & 0jack (personal).
- Hobbies? knitting, meteorology, electronics, leatherworking, carpentry, making twine games, sewing, video gaming.
I’m a compulsive autodidact who always wanted to be a gamer—as a job and as a way of life. I thought I did. Sometimes I can’t let go of what I’m bad at doing, what I don’t understand. I have to work out how to succeed. I have to solve the puzzle. How can I be so far removed from this thing that’s so human, that comes so naturally to everyone else?
I’m terrible at playing. I don’t know how to do it. I didn’t have a life that taught me how to do that. I was always baffled by other children at play. Even today, I struggle to sit still long enough to play even a short board game—ADHD + chronic pain. It’s taken years of practice and physiotherapy for me to overcome coordination/neurological issues to where I can play a video game like Mass Effect.
By the time life comes around to where I can realize my desire to master not only the art of playing but the craft of making games, “gaming” is a house on fire. #G*merg*te is in full swing, some of the women I admire most are leaving the industry. Some others are also throwing in the towel. It’s hard for me to look at. Violence (especially sexualized violence against women), stalking, and other such abuse is all part of my past real life experience.
It’s been over twenty years since I first received death threats and hacking attempts—as well as being targeted by a player-kill campaign and in-game harassment—for making decisions about an online game that players found objectionable: I proposed, lobbied for, and enacted equal marriage options on a MU*, something that’s now legal in my country for the last ten years. Things are not better in gaming today. They’re worse.
But I have stacks of books piled up. Pages of notes. Folders of PDFs. Years of RPG characters recorded in yellowing, brittle paper going back through the era of the dot matrix printer to crumpled graph paper marred with my shaky handwriting in sticky Bic pen ink. This is what I want to do, I want to do more than just be a writer—writing is my day job, but it’s not enough. And I realize, as I’m sitting here between Twitter on my left and a stack of textbooks on my right like a devil and an angel advising me, I don’t want to make “games”.
I want to make experiences. I want to build experience engines. So I get out my credit card, register this domain name for three years, write this page. XPNGN. It’s not about play. It’s about experience.