What is The Sandbox?
Journalism is one of those things that turns you into one of three people, these days: you either become the traditionalist that follows the book rigidly, the snake that will do anything for press and attention, or you’re the person who’s taking the fight to traditional journalism and its foundations. If you ask me, reporting on gaming and writing about gaming shouldn’t be a party to all this negativity; that’s why I started The Sandbox as a place where I am able to be free of all that, a place where I can write the way that I want, when I want, about what I want. It might sound a little self-serving and that, for the most part, is exactly what it is. I have plenty of opportunities to write with restriction elsewhere if I so choose: this is where I let my imagination free, where I rest my head, where you hear exactly what I think and how I feel.
Who is The Laymen’s Gamer?
I’m not really good with introductions: the big reason for that is that I don’t see myself as anyone terribly special; not yet, anyway. The name’s Kenny and I’ve been a gamer for the better part of my life; ever since my brother’s interest in gaming brought me into the fold I’ve been hooked. I used to be a gaming hobbyist but when I started reading magazines like Game Players, GamePro, and Nintendo Power, I’d gotten myself interested in the industry as a whole and, ever since I logged into the internet for the first time, I’ve been following the industry and writing about gaming. I started out blogging and doing – shudder – fan fiction and soon blossomed into contributing for sites like 1UP.com and local newsprints. I only started seriously writing when my contributions to 1UP.com started increasing and I found sharing my love for gaming extremely satisfying; so I picked up the moniker of The Laymen’s Gamer – yes, before you start in on me, I’m aware that it’s technically not grammatically correct but there’s reasoning behind it – and launched the persona that would become a part of what I hold as my gaming mantra:
Gaming should be about enjoying games and healthy competition.
I’m all about positive enjoyment. Given, I’m probably the antithesis of that statement as some people’s insistence on turning gaming into a snarky competition of whose system is better, whose games are better, whose interests are better and, generally, driving a wedge between something that’s supposed to bring unity among a growing subculture. I find a good reason behind that is bringing gaming to the casual market and focusing more on that market due to it hosting a larger participating denomination of people but I digress; gaming is still supposed to be about enjoying the games and engaging in healthy competition.
Gaming should also be about standing for your interests and taking pride in them.
This isn’t to say you should alienate other people who don’t share your interests but rather, when people say that gaming is stupid or that what you’re doing or what you love is stupid then you should take pride and confidence from what you like about gaming – so long as that like isn’t something crazy like pretending to marry a fictional Square-Enix character in some kind of “astral realm” and enact some kind of phantom pregnancy with said fictional character. I can’t make this shit up, folks, it’s happened. Taking pride is kind of an objective thing but the bottom line is that one’s love for gaming should be a positive thing and not a source of stress and anger. That’s what I feel I’m here for: to help people out with that, to help share my joy for the culture of gaming and also help others find their happiness in reading about my journeys in gaming.
What kinds of games/systems are you into?
That’s actually a pretty good question that has something of a cop-out answer: I go where the good games lead me. Initially, I focused on the NES: the 16-bit Era was rough on me, being divided between the Genesis and the SNES but then the Genesis became too costly to stay on the bleeding edge of and the SNES won that time out for me… since then I’ve pretty much been a Sony flag carrier. What games I’m into can pretty much explain my majority shift from Nintendo to Sony – I’ve been huge into role-playing games from the time I was capable of understanding how to play them, being involved in tabletop stuff from quite a young age. I have a soft spot for platformers and real-time strategy, as well, but role-playing games, especially traditional JRPGs, hold the strongest spot in my heart. As you might have guessed, I have a huge spot in my gaming heart for Final Fantasy. It was Squaresoft’s decision to move the Final Fantasy franchise to the CD-ROM format – a move I supported strongly for the sake of moving technology forward – that moved me towards supporting Sony strongly from that point forward. Lately, I’ve been expanding my tastes in accordance with the reporting I’d been doing for Gaming Precision, Unigamesity, and various other ezines and sites. I’ve found that my love for games has grown but my distaste for a lot of fanbases has grown, as well.
What can I expect from this site?
You can expect a variety of articles based on what I’m doing, what I’m playing, and what I’m thinking at the time; this is a blog, after all. However, you can expect to see gaming-related videos and game music from yours truly, as well. Videos will be more of a flavor-of-the-moment type thing, either hitting on hard topics that need to be ranted about out loud or showing gameplay of sorts. I don’t post music nearly as often as composing, mixing, and mastering often takes up a good deal of time – unless, by grace, I am able to find a composition already out there. I haven’t really hit my stride with a posting schedule yet but I’m working on that and any updates to that will come as I figure them out. Aside from that, things are pretty random so if you want to keep track I suggest hitting up my Twitter or Facebook group and giving a follow or like.