I’m Tamer Asfahani, a broadcast journalist and producer. I’ve worked at most of the big broadcasters and founded ArabicGamers and Checkpoint. I am the eldest of three siblings and a father of two under 10s. I’ve been a gamer my whole life and have always tried to shoehorn gaming and the learnings I’ve taken away into anything I do.
Growing up as a Muslim Arab in Lincoln, surrounded by people who may have looked like me (but certainly didn’t think like me), loneliness wasn’t that obvious initially. Somehow I always felt a little bit like the odd one out. Not because I was treated differently (on the whole), but more because I knew culturally I was different. That feeling stayed with me over the years from childhood into adulthood.
Video games have played a part in navigating and coming to terms with my loneliness. Over the years games have offered me different ways to cope and mitigate this. There was the first excitement of discovering Jet Set Willy when visiting my family in Syria, specifically the Spectrum ZX my uncle owned. There was how my love of Sonic the Hedgehog was a bridge to unfamiliar American children at the American International school I attended in Saudi. There was the affirming identity found in playing Worms. And most recently they’ve become a way to embrace and make peace with loneliness, an example being No Man’s Sky when I was away for a number of weeks for work.
Over the years it has become clear that I actually quite enjoy my loneliness. It’s been important for me to explore it, and by playing a video game I can be lonely on my own terms. This may sound a bit morbid, but it’s actually not at all.
Video games let me choose how and when to step into the deep dark parts of my world. They enable me to be honest about how I feel but in a way that doesn’t take control away from me. Games don’t ask who I am, what I do or what I look like. They ask me where I want to go and who I want to become.
Acceptance of solitary time through gaming routines to create space and energy for connection and conversation.
This outcome arises from the following 5 milestones over the span of 32 years, from 6 - 38 years-old: