I’m Daryl Baxter, I write for Tech Radar, specialising in software and apps. I also wrote The Making of Tomb Raider book. This is the story of how video games helped me get here.
I’ve always enjoyed playing games. They have been an enjoyable escape and entertainment. But also, they planted the seed for me to find the spark and desire to write for a living. I may well have got there without games, but some specific games I've enjoyed definitely accelerated this journey. They offer me space to find my voice, especially when I was younger and struggling with with school bullying that might otherwise have robbed me of the confidence to go for this career.
From the simple cut-scene story-telling of Sonic the Hedgehog 3 to the open-world narrative of Tomb Raider 2, games got me wondering "What’s going to happen next?” These worlds were like books, only here I was in control of what was happening, so when something new presented itself it was happening to me.
As I played more games this interest in the wonder of stories grew. Metal Gear Solid limited the world and what I could do, but in doing that it took the story in all sorts of new ways. Tangents and side quests drew me in and I was fascinated by the breaking of the fourth wall.
Then came Shadow of the Colossus and the threads started making sense. The games that impacted me the most where ones where I could be the hero no one expected. I could confound my childhood bullies and be the champion. But more than that, I could do the same in real life and write about the wonder of these interactive stories of a living.
Writing felt like an underdog activity. I had to compete with other (more experienced) writers or stretch my writing ability and expertise to clearly explain something new. I had to face my imposter syndrome, and the voices of those old school bullies, and find a way to get my hands back on the keyboard. Reminding myself of those unlikely video game heroes still helps even today.
Confidence and contentment in a career as a commercial author with published books, and work in a wide range of international outlets.
This outcome arises from the following 4 milestones over the span of 11 years, from 5 - 16 years-old: