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July 24, 2017 2 min read
When I was growing up, to openly love video games was to be a nonconformist. There was no getting around that, and in a small cliquey town where social status determined much of your experience in life, being a nonconformist meant being avoided and/or disliked by most. As such,only about ten of us ended up going public with our love of video games. Some of us were outed by mean spirited ex-friends, others just blabbed, having no idea that the social consequences of being a teenage gamer would be so dire, and the rest just couldn't help it. Eventually, by senior year, some of us had found a way towards something resembling peer acceptance, but it was no small feat to get there.
Over 25 years later, gaming isn't the same. I'm told by younger, more interesting people than myself that some kids today actually pretend to like video games more than they do in order to fit in. While that's definitely a sign of progress, the fact that people still have to ask if their gaming habits will lead to being socially accepted or rejected either way is still bad news. No one should feel bad about what games they like, because liking a game is entirely harmless. No harm means no guilt, at least by my standards.
Thankfully, I'm not alone on that standard. The folks at Haven Con feel the same way, which is why they created the event. It's been an annual thing for the past three years, and the fourth is tentatively scheduled for next Spring, but only if they can get the funding beforehand. Guest speakers include Karin Weekes from Bioware and Wolfpup TK, famed Furry and fundraiser for various charities.
Some of you may remember that when PAX first started, it was just a hole in the wall event with a few thousand attendees, so there's no way of knowing how big these sorts of shows may get. One thing is for sure though, anything that works to decrease division among video game lovers is something I want to support. Back in high school, you can bet that the ten of us "outed gamers" knew how to stick together. It was far from easy, but at least we had each other. These days, I'm not always so sure that's the case.
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