The Introduction: Our Newest Intern Writes Courageously About Games, His Childhood In The Dominican Republic And Being Gay In The Bronx

By Jeison Liranzo

My name is Jeison and I am an aspiring writer. I like to read, watch anime, and play video games. As I read, I watch and play and think. I love to pay attention to the writing, research, character development, plots, and storytelling. I learn and observe. And then, I write.

My favorite video game genre is action-adventure games. I really enjoy games like Ghost of Tsushima, Concrete Genie, the Tomb Raider series, the Uncharted series, It Takes 2, Control, Horizon Zero Dawn, Overwatch, and both Attack on Titan games. I really gravitate to this genre because I feel it is the one that’s most involved in storytelling, character development and plot twists. Besides having amazing storytelling, they also provide a good amount of action to keep you entertained.

I was born and raised in the Dominican Republic until I was nine years old. During these nine years of my life the only devices we had were an old TV and a Nintendo 2DS. But even then the only games I had were Cooking Mama and Super Mario Bros., which I completed fast. We also didn’t have energy all day long, so if my Nintendo 2DS ran out of battery power I had to wait until the energy came back the next day. So I spent most of my days playing outside, but still thinking about Mama and the Plumber.

For the rest of my life I have lived in the Bronx. Coming to a new country to live in was really difficult for me, especially considering I didn’t know the language. So I spent most of my time indulging in video games. As time went on and I started attending school, I met people who faced the same situation as me: we were learning English together. When I began middle school, I finally knew some English. It wasn’t really the best but I ended up becoming somewhat fluent in English thanks to books, audiobooks, talking to people online, and friends – along with gaming by listening to the characters talk.

During that time in middle school, I discovered many things about myself. I discovered that I actually enjoyed reading. Before then, I always felt like I was forced to read for school classes but in middle school, I started reading webtoons and mangas. I started to gravitate toward reading because there were so many different genres of books and comics. It was more inspiring and adventurous than the reading I had to do for school.

But the most important thing that I learned about myself during this time was that I was Gay. I always felt different from people around me because while other guys would be attracted to females characters in video games, I was always more attracted towards the male characters – which made me realize I was Gay.

When I entered high school, my mental health started to become worse because of trauma that I always ignored. This trauma started to destroy my self esteem and damage me emotionally. So I couldn’t ignore it anymore. It was thanks to video games that I managed to not have a breakdown. I use gaming to make myself feel better. Gaming also allowed me to calm myself down because I was always feeling anxious from hearing about family money issues that were going on at the time. In the future, I wish to become a video game writer because I want to create video games that help other people just like they did for me. I also want to make video games that have many varieties of POC because while I was growing up, there weren’t really any. I didn’t see any characters with the same culture as me so when playing, I didn’t really have a special connection with characters like other people did.

I am pursuing my writing career at the moment by planning on attending college and majoring in creative writing. I want to learn many different writing styles, including how to create good character development and to learn to stick to the original plot of my stories rather than going off on tangents. I am also doing this internship to hone my writing skills and learn more about the way games and journalism is made. I hope that as a Gay person of color, my opinions will be as appreciated as much as everyone else’s point of view. After all, that’s how we move forward – when our minds are open.

Jeison Liranzo is our New York Videogame Critics Circle newest writing intern. This is his first story for The Circle.

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