Boeing worker finds release and social connections through video gaming

Photo by Rachel Coward

Photo by Rachel Coward

The fights, explosions, shootouts, and high-speed car crashes of thriller movies get viewers’ blood pumping, and the successes and failures of those shows’ main characters can be all-consuming.

By the same token, it can be pretty frustrating to watch such films when a main character makes an awful decision, like going into a dark basement or stumbling into an ambush they should have seen coming.

You would have avoided that obvious death trap, right?

Video game hobbyist David Dyke likens the experience of game playing to the thrill of watching such movies. But instead of watching, the player actually can make decisions to win or lose, to virtually live or die.

“That’s the big allure of video games,” Dyke said. “You don’t just watch it; you engage in the choices. It’s pretty rewarding.”

Dyke, 28, is an Air Force veteran who works at Boeing in Renton, where the 737 Next Generation and the 737 MAX are made. His job: to help make sure the parts for the 737s arrive in the proper order and in the correct amount.

Dyke’s fascination for gaming began, as it does for many, in his early teens. And, also as it is for many teens, his parents weren’t too thrilled or supportive of the hobby.

“My parents didn’t buy me a gaming console,” he said. “They didn’t want to spend the money, and they wanted me to do better things with my time.”

Dyke was undeterred. He made some friends that were “big gamers,” and soon found himself fully immersed in the culture. By 15, he had his first job at a Salvation Army camp and saved up enough money to purchase his first gaming gear — a PC, which he felt would give him a “bigger bang for your buck” than a console would.

57Gaming PCs allow the gamers to add components and parts as needed, and Dyke is a self-taught gaming PC builder.

There is a variety of video game genres, and Dyke has two favorites: role-playing games that allow character development, and strategy games, which are more conducive to multiplayers and teams.

Dyke said that the real reward for gamers is that you don’t just sit on the couch and enjoy a show; you engage in what is happening.

He admits he had a tough time balancing his gaming hobby with other activities when he was younger and spent too many hours playing. Today, he plays for about 20 hours a week, but those hours drop considerably during the summer months, when the weather is good and he can enjoy the outdoors. Dyke goes to the gym regularly and recently visited Greece and Italy with his girlfriend. In the winter, he participates in extreme sports. He isn’t a stereotypical gamer who rarely sees daylight.

“Here is my cautionary tale about gaming,” he said. “Some things can be overdone. Moderation and control lead to a more balanced life.”

Dyke started a Meetup group to encourage other big gamers to leave the house and socialize and connect with like-minded people on different levels. He likes the social aspect of gaming and wants to encourage other gamers to join him in real-life events.

That’s because his own video game addiction once caused him to miss out on doing other things. He doesn’t want others to face the same fate.

“When I was younger, I would stay home and play video games, and I regret that,” he said.