"Growth of a Gamer" is a series of articles exploring the profound way games and gaming can impact our lives, as told by students of the Interactive Media program at the University of Southern California. They've teamed up with us at Gamnesia to tell personal stories of how a particular game or franchise has molded us into the people we are today, and through our experiences we hope to shed light on the ways that these games have affected all of you as well.

Here you'll find all of the entries in the series and an introduction from the author. If a game strikes your fancy, check out their story in full by following the link in each section. And if you want to share your experiences, please join in on the discussion in the comments below, or by writing your very own series entries through Gamnesia's Journals feature. We love coming together to share in the joys that make gaming so memorable for us all, and we hope that you'll join us!



Colin McIsaac: Pokémon Gold Version

"Hey everybody! You may know me as your friendly neighborhood Editor-in-Chief, but I wouldn't be anything like the person I am today without a little game called Pokémon Gold Version. It was one of the earliest games I'd ever played, and its beautiful world-building was able to transcend those 8-bit pixels and capture my whimsy in ways that I still probably don't realize. So much of who I am is built upon those magical experiences I had in Johto, and I can't wait to share my story with you—you may even see a glimpse of your own journey."

Read: How the Classic Pokémon Gold Version Unleashed My Imagination and Redefined Who I Am



Justin Camden: Mass Effect

"Hey everyone. I'm Justin Camden, and I'm a Freshman at the University of Southern California, currently studying Business and Game Design. Today I want talk to you about a game called Mass Effect, and how it inspired me to become a game designer. I hope you enjoy the story. Cheers!"

Read: The Original Mass Effect Taught My Brother How to Smile Again



Abhishek Biswas: The Pokémon Series

"I know two types of people in this world: people who play video games, and people who will soon play video games. Variously described as a computing fanatic, Nintendo enthusiast, and Pokémaniac extraordinaire, I'm a Computer Science (Games) major on a mission to spread the joy of video games to every corner of the globe. I've decided to highlight my defining experiences with Pokémon in hopes that one day, everybody will be able to appreciate the happiness that shared interactive experiences bring to our lives." You can follow Abhishek @biswasOS.

Read: How Pokémon Evolved My Boring World into a Vibrant, Interconnected Universe



Kevin Shi: Pikmin

"I, Kevin Shi, do solemnly swear that even though I'm slogging through the quagmire of publishing a dead tree book, I love videogames as much as the next nerd. Currently I'm working as a writer (ahem, "narrative designer") on the student project FROM LIGHT, while studying Computer Science: Game Design at USC. As for Pikmin, it certainly isn't the go-to title when you think about story in games, but it was instrumental in shaping how I view the world I live in—and in turn, the worlds I create."

Read: Pikmin Taught Me to Love the Unlovable, Because it's the Little Things that Matter Most



Cristian Guzman: Spider-Man 2: The Game

"Hey there! I'm Cristian, a college student who intensely dabbles in game design and gaming culture, and Spider-Man 2 holds a special place in my heart as one of the most liberating games of my youth. I'm an aspiring game designer myself, as well as a programmer and writer. Currently I'm is exploring the realm of VR and the potential storytelling opportunities that it can hold."

Read: The Spider-Man 2 Game Set Me Free from the Insular, Unwelcoming World at Home



Drew Perlman: Portal and Portal 2

"What’s up everyone? I’m Drew, and I’m currently a freshman at USC in IMGD (Interactive Media and Game Design). I love games (obviously!), and I’m really interested in game development and programming. The Portal series, and specifically Portal 2, had a significant effect on the way I look at games and influenced my desire to join the world of interactive media. Feel free to read my story and let me know what experiences you had in the world of Portal!"

Read: Portal's Ingenious Design is Why I Decided to Become a Game Developer



James Collins: World of Warcraft

"Hello! My names is James Collins and I am a Computer Science Games major at the University of Southern California. I’ve played World of Warcraft for nine years, and I was interested in sharing how this worldwide phenomenon affects the daily lives of habitual players. Largely due to the touch of Blizzard games in my life, I’m currently pursuing games programming and wish to one day craft experiences of my own. Have fun, and as always, Lok'tar ogar!"

Read: World of Warcraft Became Both a Blessing and a Curse for My Growth as a Person