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Behold! The Man-Child!

Dear God, I'm 30 years old. One week away from 31. My father was raising 4 kids by this age! Me? I'm raising freakin' Pokemon.

Is this a personality flaw of mine? I mean, a lot of my peers appear to be in similar situations, so maybe this could just be a generational thing. What could possibly have made such a big difference between last generation and this one? My guess: video games.

Back in my dad's day, as he recalls, there was only Pong. That's it. My dad never wondered how the left paddle in Pong grew to be so competitive against the right paddle because there was never any intended story to it. Eight years later, Pac-Man was released, but that game still lacked the immersion that later games provided, and by which point, my dad had already grown into the man he was doomed to be. By 19, my dad threw off the pupa husk and became the man-butterfly we now know him as.

On the other side of the coin, I grew up with Mario and Mega Man. The booklets and box-backs had just enough information to help my developing creativity fill in the blanks. I grew up doodling all these characters and coming up with stories for them as they transversed their colorful worlds. I had become obsessed. I had unintentionally been trapped into the world of fanfiction way before I even knew what that even meant.

My creativity grew out of "what ifs." I aimed to make my "what ifs" a reality as I tried my hand at becoming a writer, just so that one day I could write the ultimate Sonic story (unfortunately, that has already been done). Then later, I wanted to create the ultimate Mega Man game, which led me into game development, developing my own Mega Man fangame. This eventually led to me wanting to create my own IP - now I'm a starving artist/game developer looking for my break into the industry, all while I'm working my completely unrelated day-job.

My father had to quit any crazy dreams like this thanks to the reality setting dilemma of "feeding kids." My day-job is just a day-job. Any income I get from it goes into my artist or programmer funds. For my dad, his day-job had to be his career.

Ironically enough, my dad introduced me to Doom. When my dad bought our first family computer, it came with the game. He played a few levels here and there (not sure if he ever committed to actually beating the game). The first few levels of Doom were enough to blow his mind and set it aside as "the best thing he's ever seen" and go back to work. Me? I absorbed every single map of Doom. If I had reserved all that space in my brain for school-work, I probably would've been a rocket scientist or something.

That was years ago, though. Now, I have Duke Nukem 3D maps, Mega Man Robot Master weaknesses, Mario warp whistle locations and Pokemon battle strategies all taking up residence where science and American history should be.

That reminds me, I got to go raise my new Staraptor.