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What My Special Interest Has Given Me as an Autistic Person

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Being autistic allows me to zone in on the things I truly love.

If you ask just about anyone what they’re passionate about, they can probably list a few things. For many autistics, these passions are especially strong. They may even be focused to the point where many people might call them “obsessions,” sometimes at the expense of other aspects of life.

I’ve been a Sonic the Hedgehog fan since I first played the game for Sega Genesis. Flash back to 1992. I was 9 years old, and on vacation in Florida. We were at my dad’s friend’s house, and their kids had a Genesis. I remember how we were all sitting around the screen, watching this little blue hedgehog travel through Green Hill Zone. I took my turn, and was immediately captivated. The graphics, the music, the gameplay… I was hooked!

A couple years later, for my 11th birthday, I got a Game Gear, Sega’s portable system. I already knew right away that I wanted my first game for it to be a Sonic one. I got the original Sonic the Hedgehog, and a couple weeks later, Sonic Chaos, which is an amazing game! This is where my love for video games, as well as my collection, began.

Over the years, I continued to purchase video game systems, averaging about one a year, which has been a regular occurrence to this day. I decided at 12 that my nickname was going to be Sonic. I collected Sonic merchandise, as well as expanded my game collection. I constantly drew Sonic. The other kids at school knew I was a huge Sonic fan, and I was often teased for it. I didn’t care. It was a large part of who I was, and I wasn’t about to let anyone bring me down!

Today, at 34, this “obsession,” as you may call it, has not wavered. Sonic is still a character I hold dear to my heart. The “blue blur” has been a part of my life for the majority of it. Because of my unique perspective on things, I was especially drawn to a character and a game which stimulated my mind. Sonic calmed me when I was anxious and gave me something familiar to fall back on during stressful times.

Now, I think I have a game to get back to!

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Photo via contributor.

Originally published: October 24, 2017
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