Kenny is a self-proclaimed "gaming geek", with an encyclopaedic knowledge of computer gaming spanning the past 30 years. But, he’s had to develop new digital skills to inspire and engage others online. In the early months of the pandemic, he started a gaming thread on our Facebook page, where the conversation ranged from golden oldies (such as Pong and Space Invaders) to next-gen consoles. Once shy, Kenny now lead rich and enjoyable online conversations. This is a huge step forward.
I was introduced to Reach Out with the WEA about 10 years ago, and I’ve enjoyed it from the very first day. It’s a place you can relax and speak about anything. You can just let yourself go, surrounded by people in the same boat.
Ever since I got an Atari with Space Invaders and Pacman Doodle aged about seven or eight, I knew I wanted to game all my life. One day, I saw the Sega Mega Drive in Comet. I wouldn’t leave the shop! My parents bought it for me a few weeks later and when I heard the Sonic the Hedgehog music playing, I was totally hooked. Since then, I’ve had a Sega Master System, GameCube, Wii, Play Station, Xbox 360 and Nintendo DS. Gaming helps me to unwind. I can escape into another world. You can also go online and make new friends, even if you never meet them in person.
When lockdown came, it was great to get back up on Zoom, as so many folk rely on Reach Out for social interaction. The forum page on Facebook became really active. We could send in pictures of our daily exercise and cooking, and get ideas and healthy recipes to follow. There were movie and music threads, so I offered to run one for gaming.
It’s been fantastic. I’ve had a lot of likes and positive comments. My wife has helped with my spelling, but nobody seems to mind anyway. I have a massive collection of games, so there’s plenty to speak about.
I even did a live demonstration of Assassin’s Creed, where folk watched me playing the game. I told them about the real life history in London where it’s based. They loved it, although some of them felt a bit sick watching me jump off high buildings! Once it was over, I felt really awesome. They tell me I played for an hour, but it felt like 10 minutes. If I can psych myself up again, I’d like to try do another one next term.
I used to be very shy. Reach Out has really helped boost my confidence. This award helps a huge amount too. Doing interviews for the award still makes me nervous, to be honest. But I couldn’t have done it all a few years ago. That’s a lot to do with my wife Nicola too. She has brought out my confidence.
Together, we also do a Facebook page called Rae Stones, where we place painted stones around Aberdeen for people to find. We’ve grown a small following, who search for the stones and share their pictures. It’s just a bit of fun, but it brings a lot of pleasure.