Name / Twitter:
Ryan Simpson / @TheCodeTroll
What do you do now?
Game Engineer at SEGAs Hardlight studio
Where were you born?
Wiltshire, near enough to Bath
Where do you live nowadays?
Royal Leamington Spa
What’s your favourite video game of all time?
Of all time? Thats too hard to actually put…
The one thats had most of my time devoted to it however, is either World of Warcraft or Pokemon.
What was the last game you enjoyed and why?
The last game I enjoyed was probably Animal crossing: New Leaf.
I’ve always loved the Animal Crossing games and this one is, as usual from Nintendo, a very good iteration on something solid. Why? Because It gave me a reason to specifically pick up a 3DS other than Pokemon, and I really love how its so non demanding as a game. I don’t feel like I have to spend a hundred hours to get through it all and absorb it all within a few days or weeks. I can spend an hour a day checking in with the villagers and digging up some fossils during my lunch break or before I go to bed.
Describe any of the bullying you experienced.
The bullying started pretty much from the get go at secondary school.
It started pretty much off the bat because I wasn’t friends with certain people, and those people had lots of friends. I wasn’t and am still not, a person to be bothered by how many people like me. I was a bit of an introvert which didn’t help, as these people were already singling me out anyway. As time went on the bullying got worse, because the friends I made were similar to me, we had the same tastes in music, and like the same kind of style of clothes, liked nerdy things etc. By my 2nd year at secondary school I was growing my hair (and continued to do so until post college). The friends I had, the music and hobbies we liked, and the way we looked, wasn’t what these kids decided was good enough or normal enough, so they picked on us. That is where it started getting continually worse.
As the guys who picked on me got older and bigger, they found it more fun to not just annoy me or poke fun at me but to abuse me and physically harass me. I wont go into detail of every single scenario, but to name a few, there was a time when 5 or 6 of my friends and I were hiding in a class room, unable to leave because there was 20- 30 people outside, rounded up, expect a fight or anything really. We couldn’t leave and no teacher did a thing. Another time, a similar scenario occurred except there was a FAR larger amount of people, following a smaller group of people around the school grounds.
The smaller group, leading the larger group were looking for me, and a couple of others, because 1 guy wanted to beat me up because I’d apparently ‘said something about him’. So with probably close to 100 kids roaming around a fairly large school ground looking for me, I ran out of school and hid at a friends house… That was twice then I’d been forcefully threatened and scared into hiding.
Multiple times I was beaten up, cornered and harassed, even in the classroom to which the teachers either did nothing, or sent me out for disrupting the class by yelling at the kids. I have countless stories from 5-6 years of almost non stop bullying. Which is extremely depressing when you think about it.
When did you finally learn how to manage the bullying? How?
I learned to manage it by accepting it would happen, and starting standing up for myself, I thought it would be better to try and do something about it and have it keep happening than do nothing at all and have it keep happening. I learned to deal with it by telling myself that one day I’d be out of there and people will have grown up and grown out of this kind of thing. Which sadly we all know isn’t exactly true, I just ceased to be the minority that gets bullied
Being around friends and having people that understood what was going on and were probably going through similar things helped too, you are never the only person being bullied, and you can atleast try and laugh it up with friends to try and brush yourself off.
What effect do you think bullying had on you?
It has had a lot of effects on me, I think… Mostly it affected my character development, I wouldn’t be me or act the way I do or think the way I think if I’d had a different life.
I learnt not to care about what people thought of me too much because not everyone is going to agree, so only worry about the opinions that genuinely matter to you, if someone else has something to say, well then they can say it, big woop. What effect should they have on your life or the way you think about yourself? NONE.
How is your life better now?
Well for a start I don’t get beaten up regularly. That alone is better haha. truthfully my life is better now, in every possible way. I have a job doing the things I love to do, for a great company. I live independently. I have a wonderful girlfriend, and loving family. It’s the kind of thing you think about and want, when you don’t have it.
Did you think your life was ever going to be this good?
At the time, no. As time went on, and I learned that if I want something, fuck everything else and go for it, yeah. I knew I could make my life what I wanted it to be.
What would you like to say to a youngster thinking about getting into video games who is experiencing bullying right now?
If you want to get into video games, start now, start yesterday! Its a brilliant industry, and it continually needs new fresh perspective, which could very well be you. There are tons of resources out on the net for aspiring coders / artists / designers to jump right into game dev, so get started on making your life what you want it to be
About the bullying, if I havent said it enough, you just have to know yourself what you want and that is entirely all that matters, if you can get help from friends, family or teachers to help sort the bullying out and stop it, try doing that. But if it doesn’t stop, like it didnt for me at school, then just keep your eyes on the horizon, and keep going for what you want, and sod the people that make you feel like anything less than awesome. One day, it WILL stop.