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Saying goodbye and announcing some changes for GameZone

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Let me start by saying this is goodbye but not farewell. Yes, I have resigned as MWEB GameZone's editor, website manager, etc. etc. etc., but I am staying on as a writer.

It has been a hellish, fun, mad, joyful, exciting, emotional, and every flavour of emotion on the spectrum of human feelings - joy puke fun ride. I have no words to describe the journey. I have a million words I want to shout from the rooftops. These past five years at gMz has shaped me, challenged me, broke me, then reshaped me into what I am today. I am proud of what I leave you with while I allow the next person to use my accomplishments to reach even greater heights.

I invite you for a scroll through five years with MWEB GameZone, but first, here's what's next for me.

You probably missed it, but from a writer's perspective, there are a few things I've talked about over the years that matter to me most (no, not Internet cats although I do have an obsession,) gaming and - education, equality, diversity, and online harassment. All these are sensitive subjects to talk about in gaming; so when I was offered a job where I could not only talk about those things but see it taught, practiced, lived every day, I grabbed it with both hands, feet, and all my heart.

I'll be running the office (and some other things I can't disclose yet) at a pre-school (Kiddies Academy Equestria) where the very young are educated in the principles that produce exceptional human beings. Nothing is more valuable than being part of something that embraces every South African no matter the gender, colour or whatever you can bring to the table. So, I am leaving the 'dream job' behind to invest the rest of my life into that which matters most to me.

Marco Cocomello will be taking over as website manager, with the beloved Fragile Flower remaining on as his trusted co-editor, and some other people slotting into things. You might be thinking "Jeez this is odd, first Des, then Brad now Han leaves ... hmm, something is not lekker at gMz." Everything is as it should be. In fact, I know what's coming, and I can promise you, it will only be good for local gaming. Mr. Coco is the right man at the right time, and it is good that I am leaving at this specific point in time. Watch this space ... good things are coming.

I am not one for long goodbyes, so here's a slice of my experiences in SA's games industry.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Before gMz I worked on a few other local gaming websites as writer, editor, manager and or developer, but it was only here that I was given a chance to bring my full potential to the party. For that, I want to thank Desmond Kurz and Brad Kirby. I entered gMz via a writing competition (didn't win but got their attention), and after a few months as a content contributor, I asked them to give me one month to run the website, and if stats improved, I get appointed, if not, so be it. They took the chance, basically gave me carte blanche, and here we are five years later. I am eternally grateful. 

I have so many good moments to share that it reminds me of the stars on a clear, moonless night. When I started out in the local games industry about a decade ago (started gaming when I was ten, so that's a few decades of playing video games), I was a self-conscious, insecure, inarticulate woman. In many ways, the industry matured me, helped me to face my weaknesses and develop my strengths in a professional capacity. 

Every reader who took the time to contribute to gMz whether it was through a comment, tweet, email or Facebook post added to the forming of who I am today - you have my gratitude. My colleagues chipped away at the things that didn't belong while adding to that which made me better - for that you have my love. To those who made it their personal obsession to harass me and/or gMz (you know who you are) you've taught me the most valuable lessons and for that I can't thank you enough.

The bad and ugly things deserve a few words because in them we find invaluable lessons if we are willing to learn. We can all work better together for the good of local gaming. I have seen juvenile bickering, jealousy, and downright meanness between gaming websites. No one wins, and everyone loses. Yes, we are in competition, but we can do so with class and style. Honor the competition when they deserve it, acknowledge a source and link back to them - it's the coin of the Internet. Don't be so interested in what everyone else is doing, put your head down and improve the quality of what you're bringing to SA gaming. The ugly things I've seen in SA gaming all boil down to an intolerance for people who are either not the same race, gender, or of sexual orientation than you. Yes, we still need to talk a lot more about these issues, and it's far from over.

I want to close off with the best part - gaming itself. Playing video games is like traveling without moving. It has the ability to tap into my inner dialogue where it confronts, comforts and teaches. It is the most extraordinary thing and bytes and pixels will forever run in my veins.

Lola out.

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Han: Twitter / MWEB GameZone: Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube

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