He eventually joined a group outside of the virtual world when a friend from high school invited him to play with her Dungeons & Dragons crew. When they finished playing, he would go home and write what took place during that day’s adventure. He realized that the game was spurring an interest in creative writing as well as helping his mental math and vocabulary improve. Suddenly, in the classes he was previously failing, he was now not just passing, but excelling in with A’s.
Moreover, the social behavior he picked up through online gaming was now being applied to face-to-face interactions. He started making eye contact with the other gamers and talked through challenges and problems as they arose in the game.
“These are all skills as an adult I needed and didn’t have at the time,” he says. “When you triumph through a challenge, whether it is imaginary or real, you bond with people. They became my big group of friends.”
Although he didn’t know it at the time, he was setting up the foundation for what would later become his life’s work.