The New NerdyBits / by Benjamin Sawyer

Videogames have always held a place located somewhere deep in the center of my heart. A place next to warm coffee, fried eggs, and a cigarette (which I’m trying to let go of). A place next to dark bars, loud music, dark beers, and boozy friends. A place next to Sunday morning snuggles, bedhead, and warm kisses in cold sheets.

Videogames got in the door early and made a home there, inside me, deeper than what some would call “healthy.” See, games are the reason I am alive to day. That’s no bullshit. If Skyrim hadn't opened its snow-crested mountains to me I would have taken my life years ago. If Bioshock hadn't made me think of things differently I would have gotten lost in the darkness just behind my own eyes. If Mass Effect hadn't taught me to make peace with warring species I wouldn't have had the confidence to make peace with my warring demons.

I have many friends today because of the late night conversations, debating until three in the morning whether or not Cortana is going to take human form. Why Call of Duty is fundamentally one of the best games ever made, but a creative wasteland at the same time.

I have cried, alone, in front of my TV, begging Clementine to leave my side before I turn. To this day, even the moment I write this, my eyes still well up when I remember saying goodbye to Thane Krios. His estranged son at my side, uttering a prayer for a  dying man as his final wish, only to learn that the prayer wasn’t for him. It was for me. And not a day to soon.

Games make me cry when I need it, regardless of my attempts to conceal the pain I have endured.

Perhaps that is something that I should make more clear. Perhaps you have deduced as much already. I have survived chronic depression for the last five and a half years and videogames are largely responsible for that result. And the unending support from my family and my wife (I do not mean to make slight their involvement).

But why am I talking about all of this? That is a good question. Maybe I'm trying to prove a point. Maybe not. Recently I was asked why I play so much. Why I spend that much money. Why I stay up so late. To me the answer was simple; because I am paying a debt. I owe who I am to so many faces I’ll never see. So many voices I'll never hear. So many names I’ll never speak.

That bugs me. Even drives me crazy at times. That is why I write about them. That is why I am writing this. Because I hope that someone, somewhere, reads this and realizes how much their work has impacted me. So they can know how the Division taught me not to give up hope. How Crash Bandicoot showed me that the girl I was dating was going to be the woman I married. How Deus Ex taught me to make the best of the hand(s) I've been dealt (see what I did there?).

This is why I want to make games too. Badly. I want to be the voice you think of when you think of a hero. I want to haunt your dreams, and motivate them. I want to write the story that changes how you see the world. I create something that brings people together, spurring conversations that last all night, then carry on to the IHOP you drove to at four in the morning (yes, I've done that).

Maybe, someday, I will meet one of the many people responsible for my existence. Maybe someday I will become one of those people for you.

Videogames have always held a place located somewhere deep in the center of my heart. I know many with the same condition. So next time you play, no matter what the game is, think about the ones who involved that don’t get nearly as much recognition as they should. They may have changed your life.

That is what NerdyBits is, and I have realized, recently, that I haven't been true to that idea. This is a place for thoughts. A place for appreciation. A place for criticism. More importantly my uncle created this site with the idea that I would use it as a means of expression. So NerdyBits is changing. If only a little bit. I used to try and compete with bigger blogs for readers and clicks. That's not what it was meant to be about. 

Going forward, NerdyBits is going to be me. No more third person writing, no more reviews for review's sake. NerdyBits is Caleb Sawyer. My thoughts on paper. You will still see posts from Kathleen, she is a great friend and writes great copy. But you won't read NerdyBits thoughts on anything anymore, you will read OUR thoughts. OUR feelings. Is it objective, absolutely not. It is truth. Emotion. Because games aren't neutral forces in our life. They have influence and should be treated that way.

Illok forward to the future. I hope you agree with this change. But when it comes down to it, I don't really give a damn. This is me being true to me. This is the new NerdyBits.