This is just a few thoughts I had while out with my wife today. I’m not going to post this on 6312 Production’s Myspace because it’s a bit too personal and I feel it would interfere with the company’s image. I may post it on my own Myspace but I’m not sure simply because this when I first thought of writing about it, I thought of everyone here at Pwned. After all, we’re the gamers, you guys would understand a lot easier than many of the peeps who inhabit Myspace.
First, I figure I should let everyone know where I’m coming from. I grew up here in McDonough, Georgia. I was born here, raised here, had my first real heartbreak here, and had the greatest friends a guy could ask for here. I lived here from May 21, 1989 until May 24, 2005. I went to the same high school my brother had attended, and since we had been so involved with that school when my brother was there I had many relationships with teachers and people by the time I arrived. This was, nay is, my town. Every memory I ever knew and loved was here. Every memory with family, every memory with friends, and every memory with games, it all happened between here and our weekend lake house on Lake Oconee.
I know now from my parents that I first picked up a controller when I was just able to sit up. My brother was playing our NES and I had the second controller, thinking I was the one controlling Mario on Mario 3. Turns out, those days of pressing buttons contoured my hand perfectly for a controller because I was beating Mario 3 in the first days I could understand what was going on. When my brother would go to school in the mornings, I was still at home and I would beg my mom or dad to play with me. I’d end up getting to the second or third world without dying, while my mom or dad would be stuck on one of the first levels in the second world, the desert. So then we moved up to the SNES and that was when things really got going. I was introduced to so many different franchises and that was about when me and my friends really started playing games together. Then along came the N64 and Playstation, and along came 3D graphics, Final Fantasy, and Pokemon. I remember being on the phone with my cousins and they would be playing this Pokemon game that I had never heard of. Mind you, this was in late third grade when Pokemon was first becoming popular, and I had absolutely no idea what it was. But something came flooding back to me today. I was standing in the parking lot of a Kroger shopping center, and down at the end of the strip mall was a little restaurant that served mostly chicken wings. I looked and realized that it was the same exact place that my two cousins had first introduced me to Pokemon when I was about 8 years old. We had sat in there one night when my parents had brought us along to do some errands and that was the restaurant we decided to stop in and eat at. They told me about Pikachu, Squirtle, Charmander, Bulbasaur, Dr. Oak, Ash, Misty, and Brock, how you caught these “animals” with these things called Pokeballs and how you raised them to battle each other. I listened intently from the time we pulled into that restaurant’s parking lot all the way back home and on into the night. Of course it was a couple of weeks before I could find a copy of Blue or Red, but finally I did, and that started my playing of one of the greatest game franchises in history. That was one of the things I realized today.
So going back to the timeline, a few years later came the Gamecube, and then two years after that, the Xbox. I’ve always been a Nintendo fan boy, but it wasn’t until I played Halo on the Xbox at my friend’s house that I decided I really like Microsoft. Anyways, this was when I was in 9th grade. I was in the high school I had looked forward to going to since my brother had graduated from it when I was in 5th grade. It was a great year, but didn’t do much for gaming for me except Need for Speed Underground and then Halo, obviously. At the end of that year was about the time I started looking forward to Halo 2, as did the rest of the gaming world. I started 10th grade with a few great friends in one of my classes, third period to be exact. I had some friends from the end of the last year, Keith, Charleen, and Jesse, and I met my best friend Javi, a guy named Jeff, and a guy named Michael. I started that year in third period knowing Keith and getting to know Javi because we sat together. We talked about games, import cars, girls, anime, typical guy stuff.
It was all great until October 20th, 2004. I was sitting in that class talking to Javi about Alien vs. Predator and suddenly the intercom came on. “Coach Perry, can you please send Tyler Pilgrim to the front office?” He obviously said ok and I stood up and walked down to the office, clueless as to what had happened. I arrived and a senior office aid looked at me and said, “It’s okay, no one is hurt.” I looked at her in total confusion and then one of the coaches came out and asked me if I had any way to get in touch with my mom. I told him I had our home phone number and he looked at me in a funny way and said, “No, is there any other way?” I handed him my cell and he walked outside and called my mom. After a few minutes of waiting, he came back in and said, “Here, I’ll let her tell you.” He handed me back my phone and I picked it up and said hello, after which all I heard was my mom say, “Tyler, the house is on fire.” After a few minutes of explanation we got off the phone and I walked back to class, stunned. Coach Perry was standing at the stairs to the trailer looking down and smiling before saying, “So, what’d you do this time?” I looked up and simply told him that my house was on fire, explained it to him, and then walked inside and explained it all to Javi. We then went to lunch and we all sat together and everyone was talking about the typical game stuff; normally I was like the ring leader, the one who did a lot of the talking and made everyone laugh. Not that day. When I got home, or when I got to where home had been, a friend was on his way over because we had planned to play Halo that day. He saw what had happened and me and him spent hours rummaging through stuff that wasn’t burned, coughing out smoke and emerging with handfuls of stuff, all black.
After that we moved into a rental house so I could finish my school year there. That house was where I bought Pokemon Ruby and I put 72 hours into that game, raised a Rayquaza to level 100, and pushed my mind away from everything in less than 5 days. I kept playing because I loved it and it reminded me of home. About 19 days later, Halo 2 came out. I bought it and played on the Xbox that survived a fire, I played against people in the neighborhood who I had met that were supposedly tourny players. I destroyed them. Gaming was my way of relieving everything. It was as if a demon, or angel, in me had emerged to help me do what God knew I loved doing. Gaming. I had never played much multiplayer Halo CE or Halo 2 before I went to those kid’s houses and here I was beasting people who were supposed to be the best at my school. I played so many other games during that time, too, including Pokemon Colosseum, another (obviously) Pokemon game, Rainbow Six 3, Need for Speed Underground 2, and some classics like Chrono Trigger.. It’s funny, looking back on that school year, it was the best of my life. Though my house burned down, I had the greatest friends and the greatest ways to pass the time. We played Halo 2 on the last day of each semester that year, both times in my third period with all my friends. Just in those few hours we spent I had an amazing amount of fun. But of course, all good things must come to an end. The last day of the school year I stood with Javi, Jeff, Jesse, Chase, Charleen, and Keith outside after the last bell. We talked, hugged, said our goodbyes. I said bye to Keith, Jeff, and Jesse who had to go get on the bus. Jeff was leaving to go to New York that summer. I said bye to Charleen who was leaving to go to New Orleans. And then I said bye to Javi as I got in the car to leave to go to my lake house, where I would spend the next two years of high school in a world so unlike my former one.
It was a private school, and that was where I got into MMO’s like Maple Story and other online games like Gunbound. It was also when I started playing Halo 2 on Live. However, I did this with my friends Javi and Keith from back home, not anyone I knew from the new school. However, it was here that I met my friends, Stephen, Noah and Brendan. Out of the entire school, they were the only ones who liked gaming and anime. Indeed, it was a small school, but these were my friends now. We played some Halo 2 together (a game which I went undefeated at in that school) as well as games like Shin Megami Tensei, WoW, Kingdom Hearst 1 and 2, and a multitude of others. It was at the end of my twelfth grade year that I met a girl who had recently broken up with my friend Javi. We started talking and began going out. Javi, unfortunately, wasn’t one to give her up and realize that she was happy, and he began spreading rumors and hateful stories about the two of us. I started college and she got pregnant with our son. We got married on April 19th, 2008 and had our son, Zayne, on May 15th, 2008. That year of college was spent full of Guitar Hero, Dragonballz games, anime, Call of Duty 4, and of course, Halo 3. Late nights were spent playing Halo 3, something I plan on getting back to doing very soon with the finish of our theater room.
At the end of this year of college two of my college friends and another old friend came up with the idea to start 6312 Productions, a game production company. We planned our first game that we’re currently working on. After the school year ended in early May, I moved back home to McDonough, Georgia and stayed there for the first time since my house burned down in 2004. Now I’ve put myself to work finishing up this theater room so I can continue doing what I love, spending hours gaming with true friends, the one thing that got me through the hardships of losing something I had my entire life. Finally I can get back to gaming with Stephen, Keith, Jeff, and all of the people I have met since I entered college. As for where my house used to stand? I have a big plan for that. When Kingdom Come arrives, 6312’s first game, I plan on headquartering my company exactly where my former life stood. And everyone of the people I named in this writing is going to be invited back for a little reunion of sorts. That place taught me to value friends and value what I love doing. Why not have them both in the final resting spot of my childhood? There are a couple of things I want to do with gaming. I want to one day be a pro gamer, I want to develop my own game company (of which I already have a start), and I want that company to be one which promotes the kind of gaming we true gamers enjoy. The fun times we have doing what we love and the great times we have doing that with friends. 6312 isn’t a dream anymore. Yes, what we have planned is going to be hard with the small amount of money we have going into it right now, but the ideas we have for both the games and the company are indescribably amazing. I love these things, I love my family, my friends, and gaming. As a matter of fact, I just picked up my almost 4 week old son and he gave the biggest smile I’ve ever seen given by anyone. One day I pray that he’ll be able to develop the same kind of memories I’ve developed through gaming, and maybe, just maybe, some of those games will be ones his daddy helped make. I once thought that I “ruled the world” in tenth grade; that it was the greatest anyone could ever feel. But now I know that when I have those friends, the gaming, and my family along with it, then…then, I will truly “rule the world.” As for right now, I’m going to sit here while my son is asleep and my beautiful wife is relaxing, pick up my DS, the first system I ever bought after the fire, and play Pokemon Pearl. And finally begin to rule the world.