Name and Twitter handle?
Magnus Hollmo / @SimGuruMeatball
What do you do now?
I work as an Art Director for Electronic Arts.
Currently residing where in the world?
San Francisco, USA
Favourite video game of all time?
I have a very hard time picking a specific favorite. But I do have a lot of very fond memories from playing different adventure games by Lucas Arts and Sierra.
What was the last game you enjoyed and why?
Swing King on the iOS. Beautiful artwork combined with smart puzzles and fun physics-based gameplay.
Describe very briefly any of the bullying you experienced.
I was a very thin and fragile boy who spent time at home drawing or sitting in front of my computer rather than doing sports or trying to hang with the “cool” kids. I was different and was therefore an obvious target for bullies. It was mostly older boys who enjoyed anything from verbal abuse to vandalizing my school locker and even physical abuse. It wouldn’t stop as soon as I left school, they would also approach me on my ride home or any other location outside the school environment where they could get to me.
When did you manage the bullying?
I tried getting help from friends, parents and teachers at various time, but nothing really helped. Eventually, as I got older, and started at another school, I got better friends and learned to stand up for myself better. Also, since I was getting older, so were my bullies, so eventually they became a bit more mature themselves and the bullying disappeared.
What effect do you think it had on you?
In a way, you can say that bullying got me to where I am today. It made me more introvert and instead of being able to be social, I focused a lot on my art and computer knowledge. I learnt skills that helped me getting my first job in the games industry. I was pretty depressed during school and I was not able to focus on my homework or feel like I wanted to be in school at all, because of the bullying. So I wasn’t a very good student. I graduated with mediocre grades and did not know what to do with my life. It was then I learned that I actually had very particular skills and talent which were rare and highly desirable, so I started working with games straight out of high school.
How is your life better now?
I have a really hard time relating to when I was young. My life today is so completely different in all ways possible, for the better. I get to work with something I love every day, and I even get paid for doing so! I am surrounded by amazing and creative people, I laugh and have fun almost every moment of my life. I am also blessed by living in one of the most fascinating and wondrous cities in the world, a city where anything is possible and where people are accepted for who they are. Bullying stopped me from doing sports, but today I am very active and my current life allows me to do something I love every day, playing soccer! As a kid I never got to be social through sports, today sports have given me friends for life from places like Pixar and LucasFilm. Every day I am surrounded by things that I only dreamt about as a young boy and I look forward to every moment life will bring me!
Did you think your life was ever going to be this good?
Certainly not when I was a teenager, no. I felt very alone, scared and negative regarding life in general. Today it is the complete opposite, I believe that anything is possible and that life is wonderful!
What would you like to say to a youngster thinking about getting into video games who is experiencing bullying right now?
Believe in yourself. There is absolutely nothing wrong with you, you are unique and amazing! There is nothing you can’t accomplish. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help and never stop dreaming. There is a better tomorrow, trust me.