Name and Twitter handle:
What do you do now?
I’m the Founder and Creative Director of Nnooo an indie developer/publisher based in Sydney, Australia
Currently residing where in the world?
Favourite video game of all time?
The Legend of Zelda: Windwaker, Pikmin and World of Warcraft (if I’m only allowed one then erm, Pikmin)
What was the last game you enjoyed and why?
Loved Pikmin 3 mainly because the world, the goals, the pace and the beauty/cuteness of the game. I just love breeding as many Pikmin as I can, exploring the world they live in and finding all the treasures!
Please describe very briefly any of the bullying you experienced
From about 9 years old, when I joined a different school, I was called a girl and gay. It started on my first day when the boys decided to test me to see if I was ‘manly’ enough… I had to hold my hand out straight, which I did but because I knew what they were trying (IE if my hand went down I would be called gay) I held my hand so taught that it bent upwards a small amount, enough for them to decide I was still gay…
When did you finally learn how to manage the bullying? How?
It got better towards my final years of school, particularly as I was pretty good at art and our school allowed you to spend your free periods and spare time in the art department. There I found a lot of like minded people who were focused on enjoying life and making great art and not about peer pressure and status (well not as much at least).
I think I finally managed to over come it when I was in a summer job during university as a waiter. One of the kitchen staff had decided to bully me and would belittle me at any opportunity in front of the other, junior, kitchen staff. One night we were in the kitchen and he really let loose one of my colleagues stood up for me and afterwards asked why I put up with it. I didn’t really know much better and said as much. She suggested we speak to management and so it escalated, there were a lot of interviews with myself and other members of staff and the bully was eventually let go.
This was a turning point for me and made me realise that it is not acceptable for people to treat you like that and that you need to be firm, stand up for yourself and believe in yourself.
What effect do you think bullying had on you?
On the good side I think it has made me stronger in myself as I have had, from a young age, learnt to only rely on what I can do. This means I drive things forward, and take on work and projects that I believe in and can achieve. On the bad side it has made me less reliant on others and more of a lone wolf in that I enjoy the company of others but don’t plan or rely on them doing exactly what they say they will or delivering things when they say they will.
How is your life better now?
Life has been better since leaving school to be honest. As soon as I went to University you realise there are a lot of like-minded people out there and you start to gravitate towards people who like what you like, do the things you do and are as open minded as you are. I have focused on getting into the games industry and from University I wanted to set up my own games company. I am really happy that I have, finally, managed to do that and; despite the pressure, the lack of money and time; really enjoy what we do!
Did you think your life was ever going to be this good?
When I was at school no I probably didn’t. There were lots of times I enjoyed myself but I don’t think I ever thought I would be making games for Nintendo and Sony machines two things I idolised as a child!
What would you like to say to a youngster thinking about getting into video games who is experiencing bullying right now?
Bullies are just weak people who need the affirmation of others to feel loved and wanted. Learn to love yourself and enjoy others for who they are not who you want them to be and you will always be stronger and more independent than those bullying you. If you are at school focus on the skills you need to get to where you want to go in life. So if you want to get into games be the best programmer, artist or designer and before long you’ll be racing out of the school gates to a great career while the bullies are still trying to be cool, trendy and work out which girl/boy is the sexiest/most popular.