When I was in High School I had arranged my schedule as much as possible to include as many study halls as I could. This wasn't because I was lazy and found ways to skip afternoon school hours (although that did happen on occasion), or that I needed more time than most for studying purposes. I spent that time very wisely in my view, by reading as much as I could about anything and everything that I could get my hands on that wasn't necessarily school related itself. While Scientific American magazines and USA Today newspapers fulfilled my appetite for non-fictional news updates, there was another form that I always needed to read that wasn't considered as real or tangible.
It was the stories and lives of fictional characters from a good book. I would read a book every day for hours on end, wanting to find out where the characters adventured to next in their world and what they would encounter there. Fantasy and Science Fiction were my favorite genres. It wasn't the real world I wanted to read about the most, as that is somewhat predictable and more easily defined, but instead it was the fantasy world. My imagination led me on adventures right alongside the heroes and villains I read about. They sometimes were written in such detail that they might as well have been from a real world. Perhaps not our own, but a world out there somewhere in the universe. When I am entrenched in a fictional book you cannot pull me away, for I am living that world, a world that had no beginning nor end but continued on for as long as I wanted it to.
Later on I discovered the magic of computer games and eventually games that allowed me to play with others from around the world. Even with such an interactive tool at my finger tips, computer games will never completely replace the books I read. Still, the computer brought the visual element into play, which was something books can never do. For the first time I could optically create a creature portrayed in one of the books I read and lead him directly along a path to a great city deep in some magical forest, or guide him through a searing desert on a quest to slay a terrible beast that resides deep underground. I could see my imagination unfolding before me. That experience added just enough of an additional piece of realism to a world that never could be fully realized, but had enough in it to be satisfying.
Bringing the real world and the fantasy worlds together under one community truly began with MMORPGs. While single player games were enough to satisfy a more linear and direct, not to mention lonely experience, it was the MMORPGs that gave me the unpredictable yet controllable experience that you can have when adventuring in a world that is artificial and contains thousands of players just like yourself. It is a world where characters are not controlled by the computer, which just give you static responses that don't have any true meaning. It is a world controlled by humans, and as well all know humans are as unpredictable and chaotic as any creatures we've ever created in our imaginations.
My career, my goals and what is really the heart of all I want to be and have become so far all point to creating the worlds founded from my imagination in the form of interactive media. To be able to imagine something and then to further develop that something into a tangible and positive experience not just for yourself but for hundreds of thousands of others I feel is at the heart of what it is to be human. It doesn't matter if you are creating a new treatment to cure cancer, designing a safer and more fuel efficient automobile, discovering new ways to increase world food output... or creating fictional worlds that raise the inspiration and imagination of others who play them.