Hello and welcome to Games for All!
I’m so glad you’ve found this blog and I’m hoping to help you out….but what exactly am I helping you with I hear you cry? I want to help you discover your character and skills for life through gaming. And give you pointers to help your children/partners/friends do so to. For parents in particular I hope this blog will give you an insight into what on Earth your children are talking about when they discuss their gaming hobby, and perhaps give you some alternative games to suggest when they want one that makes you feel uncomfortable to buy them.
For ease I will refer to everything as ‘your’ though as I said this is something you can use for yourself or to help your children /partner/acquaintances/alien overlords/puppies.
Before I get started with that though I guess I should introduce myself. I’m Stephen Taylor, a massive geek who loves 3 things in my life:
- My Family
My family is my lovely wife Catherine, my Mum and Dad, my brother Alistair, his wife and sons…. And my 2 cats Bonnie and Meeka. Though we do have a tiny Taylor on the way soon! Having a child on the way made me think of how I could meaningfully share my love of games and geeky ness with her in a way that wouldn’t just involve me saying ‘oh my goodness look at these fancy graphics and can you see how awesome this story is?! ‘ But could I use games to help her understand the world, understand herself and explore her faith?
I looked all over the interwebs for the answer. There’s a lot of the interwebs, and many topics covered but I couldn’t quite find what I was looking for. So I figured ‘hey, why not try creating it yourself?’ and well here we are!
How is it I could possibly know enough to talk about games with any level of authority? Let alone use them for teaching life skills?
I have been an avid gamer since I was born. I think, I can’t remember that far back but some of my earliest memories are of sitting at my Big Gramps’ house (that’s what I called my Grandad, I don’t know why, I was 2 when I came up with it) in the spare room playing R-type and various other DOS games. As I grew up we always had a computer and I remember getting in trouble in primary school because I knew how to boot the computer up faster than the teacher and before she knew it I was on Encarta 95 playing the awesome medieval themed trivia quiz Mind Maze. I always loved games, I went through a pokemon obsessions, a Yu-Gi-Oh obsession, my Auntie worked for Wizards of the Coast for a bit so I got Magic the Gathering cards for free every now and then, my brother and I got into Warhammer 40k – Black Templars were amazing, just saying – we had the majority of the home consoles from mega drive onwards.
But the first game I truly loved was Final Fantasy 8. I don’t know what it was about it – it could’ve been that I was a little bit emo, or a ‘mosher’ as we were called back then – but I sunk hours into that game. It sparked a massive love for Japanese roleplaying games that I still have to this day.
I’ve had all the playstations, and all the xbox’s bar the one and at the moment I have been playing a lot of Monster Hunter World.
As for table top gaming it has always been a passion of mine, but sadly I haven’t really had many people to play them with. My brother and I would go to games workshop on a Saturday for the large games with other people and we would often make characters for dungeons and dragons. But we never had a GM to run it for us. Or enough players to be the GM ourselves. At university I had a whole new world of boardgames open up infront of me and I’ve never looked back. My current personal favourite is Adrenaline – all the fun of an arena shooter in a boardgame.
I am also a fully trained teacher, having worked as a secondary science teacher for 6 years. I would often use game mechanics to reinforce the points I was making. Since leaving teaching I have been working in a church as a family support worker, running or helping to run all the outreach and kids/youth work sessions where I make extensive use of games in helping to get points across.
Which brings me on to my love of Jesus/God who are actually the same being, with the Holy Spirit – but that’s a bit of a mouthful really.
I am a Christian, have been since birth. I am a member of the Church of England and was raised an Anglo-Catholic which is a fancy way if saying a church with fancy robes, smelly incense and chanting in Latin. For a long time from my mid teens to mid twenties I believed in God but didn’t want anything to do with the church. I think many people go through a period like that, and many of you reading may never have left it or may never have encountered Jesus in the first place. Now I have returned to the church, and I have done a lot of exploring about what and who God is to me and how I meet him. I now don’t class myself as any ‘band’ of church – I find all of them have their strengths and weaknesses and I am happy to try them all. I currently work for an Evangelical one in Blackpool (evangelical in this context means that the Bible is at the centre of what the Church does).
As we travel together through the world of games my examples will tend to borrow heavily from my personal experience so may be Christian in nature. However, the point of this blog is NOT to convert you to Christianity. I hope it will help you explore your personal faith, whatever that may be, as well as figuring out what makes you tick as a person.
So that’s me. Ish. I could write for ages going into great depth but that would only serve to bore you senseless so I’m going to leave it at that for now. If you have any questions about me then feel free to leave a comment. You can also find me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SteTaylorGamer, twitter @SteTaylorGamer and Instagram @stetaylorgamer