Retro Game Collection - My Story of hurt and recovery (Autism,OCD,PTSD)


Ever since I was 7 years old I've always had a computer or console in some form, I started with the Amstrad CPC 464, the Commodore Amiga and then a 468 PC my Dad got me. Throughout my childhood at School I was bullied almost felt like torture with bruised bones from the endless kicking and punching just because I was slightly overweight and being Autistic. Didn't matter what School I went to, I was treated like utter scum that should not even exist.. Yes suicide was thought of many times, but in the end I just shut myself away. In fact that was my entire childhood, even homelife was bad! And although my mum did try, she was suffering herself with scars from her own life experiences (Her mum beat her).

But through those years, what did help get me through so many tough times, was retro gaming. Yes it didn't do me any good dealing with "THE REAL WORLD", but loading up my Amstrad CPC or my Commodore Amiga and I could leave the life behind mentally and put myself in a world of wonder and mystery. I could never get into books, but closing that door, shutting everything out and playing games for hours on end, harmful thoughts was put aside. I mean the amount of hours playing Green Beret on the Amstrad, or Deuteros, Dragons Breath and Wings on the Amiga was something of wonder for a young autistic mind.


What seemed like an eternity, the time came when I left school. However even with that, for many years even as a young adult I never really recovered. Being diagnosed in the 2000's with Autism, then OCD and finally PTSD. My mum was still trying, but there were times when I became very aggressive not at her, but at myself. " I hate myself, I hate myself when can I end it all " she heard that line so many times. Counselling was an utter waste of time too, 12 sessions and your done we can't help you. 

Through lots of persistence and such kind nature is my Mum, I ended up doing more and more, I started to actually talk to people and then it happened......Retrogaming! I wanted to re-live the better part of my childhood and I wanted to share my love of it with the world. At first I started collecting Amstrad tapes, then the Commodore Amiga, and finally other systems came through too (ZX Spectrum, Sega Mega Drive, NES, MSX). In fact Indie Retro News didn't start as a website as such, but it started as forum posts, telling people about the latest games. I ended up talking (online) to others and involved myself in some way with other online communities as well. There are so many kind people out there, I wish I had them as friends growing up!


So how are things now? Well I'm not the same person as I was all those years ago, but the scars are still there as my girlfriend knows too well. I still have trouble dealing with certain situations and I can make people turn against me very quickly even today, The Autism part of me says this is what you believe in, you have a right to say that and should. The OCD is life controlling too, negative thoughts constantly, doing things repetitively over and over again to the point of banging your head up against a wall. I've also been betrayed and back stabbed a number of times by the very community that want the earth from you, but will sooner vanish in kind.

But there is something else that has been bugging me and it's starting to hurt...Money! At some point I will have to say bye to it, the retro game collection. I can't keep struggling day by day, while looking at memories just sitting there. Sure I'll keep a few things, those that I had good times with my Dad, good times with my Mum. But the road to recovery is a long one, and maybe one day I can say... I'm truly happy!

Signing off
Neil

53 comments:

  1. Neil, thank you for sharing this. You're one of us, a retrogamer, a good person. You're not alone, believe me. If you could see how many appreciate you and what you do, you could feel... truly happy.

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  2. Yeah the normies treated me like shit too man, I pretty much hate most people based on that.

    You're a good lad though, this site is a testament to that...I sold most of my collection a few years back to fund some kids I have, it does burn now and again but I wouldn't change it.

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  3. Neil, it's very brave of you to write all of this.
    We, as the retrogaming community, support you with all our might.
    The work you are doing is incredible and we all see that and appreciate it!
    I wish you peace and good luck with further projects and plans of yours :)

    Cheers,
    Saberman

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  4. With almost 30,000,000 views I think it's fine time you started thinking about advertising on your site. Nothing too intrusive, but it takes money to operate anything in this modern world effectively. Good for you for overcoming your personal challenges. You have a lot to live for and a community that supports you.

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  5. Good luck Neil. Don't let the bullies ruin your life mate.

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  6. I was 8 when i entered an arcade club, In 1982, and...never got out. Well i did, because i had to get back home, but you got the point. In 1983 i started taking music lessons at a music school. One day, while i was waiting outside class, i saw a tiny little girl playing Pacman (i knew the game already from the arcades). But wait, it was black and white? What the hell...then i saw the keyboard but still didn't know what that was. I only recognised the word Commodore on top of it, because i had seen it in ads. In Greece back then (40yrs back), there was almost no intel about computing. Sometime in 1985 my parents bought a new home and started equiping it. One day they visited a furniture shop. Next to that there was a computer shop. My dad left in the facade of that shop and that's it! I wanted to buy that god damn Spectrum thingy. Eventually, in 1988 i bought a CPC 6128 with green color. I still find it better than the color monitor, possibly due to good memories with that machine. In 1990 i bought an Amiga 500, but three years later i had to sell to buy a PC for my college classes. Fast forward, i bought those machines in 2007, but didn't stop there. I also bought a C64 and a Spectrum ZX even if i didn't had one. I just wanted to fullfill all my wishes from my memories. Wishes for machines my parents could afford back then. I even bought a Mac Plus. Why? Because one day, back in 1987-88 i was watching a TV show called "That's Incredible", where a guy had invented some sort of water pool and in there there was a Mac Plus operating with power without short-circuiting. I honestly believe that people who don't forget their past, are more sensitive than others because they don't want to forget the child that they once were (with good and bad moments)

    Mr Neil, I feel very sorry for those memories of yours. Bad memories are worst scars than the scars in your hand, because the latter will stop hurting you some day, but the former are always there for you to (re)remember. I'm sure that you are a very good heart.

    I visit your site almost every day, but it's the first time I write a comment. You are a very good source of news about new games for my favorite retro computers.

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  7. You make many, many people happy with this site Neil, and your hard work and dedication to it shine through with every post. You're a pillar of the community and you did good :) If I could post a magical Sailor Moon gif here for you, you know I would!

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  8. Thanks for writing this up, I guess I am not the only who had own memories flashing up before my eyes while reading this. Your site is a nice and warm constant in my everyday life. Thanks for making this place so cozy.

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  9. Neil, you do a great job in this wonderful site. Day after day I come here to read the retro news, and this make me to feel good. Thank you very much

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  10. Love from Greece to you and your legendrary website

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  11. Hi Neil, just want to say that I love your excellent taste and devotion to retro gaming, and also admire your amazing writing and your relentless and inspiring work. I truly feel for you. Greetings from Greece!

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  12. Dziękuję za Twoją stronę. Odwiedzam ją codziennie po kilka razy!!! Każde moje wejście i radość gdy widzę nowy post i to wszystko dzięki Tobie! Pozdrowienia z Polski.

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  13. The online retrogaming community (especially computer Retrogaming) has a far higher demographic of autistic people in its numbers. In fact, most of us will be somewhere on the autistic spectrum. Computers do not judge appearances. Computers don't care about social skills. And neither do the communities. For the most part, as communication is written rather than spoken, it's a world where social awkwardness is not even noticed, and everyone is welcome.

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  14. Hello Neil
    Love from France,
    We are all the same,

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  15. Neil, never forget. You are a great person!
    Love your site. The best retrogames news site ever!!!!

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  16. This site was always great source of news and it felt like labor of love. If you feel that now is time for change, I can only wish you luck in the future endeavors.

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  17. Sadly I have a family member going through a very similar (school not home) situation to yourself and I understand the pain it causes. Thanks so much for sharing and for being part of such a fantastic community. Wishing you and your family well.

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  18. the long journey of healing, i picture we're all in our boats rowing around on the river of life. i just recently discovered this site and put it in my 'sites i check everyday' folder. i would like to use this opportunity to say thanks for all the news and i wish you a wonderful 2023 with lots of joy and increased cash flow.

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  19. Hi Neil, greetings from Australia mate, just wanted to let you know that your articles reach far and wide!
    I grew up on a few systems and the most memorable for me by far was the Amiga; it is still my golden era for gaming and most powerful for that nostalgic feel. There really is quite nothing like that feeling you describe for Retro Gaming and taking that pseudo time machine back in your mind to relive it again.
    I hope you get to keep the site going, within the financial burden it carries; while it doesn't pay the bills - everyone here (as also mentioned by others as well) share the same love you do being able to create something like that is quite a special thing in itself. :)

    Regards,
    Steve

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  20. Hi Neil, I am the father of two handicapped children, when they tell me that the world around them makes them unhappy, I explain that happiness is a place within us that we can reach in a thousand different ways, the important thing is to find your. Are you okay with your memories? Focus on those, do you like to collect? Just do it. Do you prefer silence? Enjoy it. We love you and we are many more than all the bullies in schools.

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  21. Hi Neil, I'm the father of two handicapped boys, when they tell me that the world around them makes them unhappy, I explain that happiness is a place within us and that's where we have to look for it, there are a thousand ways to reach it but all come to us. Focus on what you like and do it, we love you and we are many more than all the bullies you have ever met!

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  22. Thanks for sharing your feelings and (part of) your life. It shouldn't be easy, but your spirit and your courage to go on must be admired. Be proud of yourself, you are a good person and your website is the best, keep it up! Much love from Italy!

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  23. I just wanted to reach out and let you know that I can really empathise with your story. I too had a difficult time in school, especially during my teenage years. I'm fortunate to have had a supportive home life, so it breaks my heart to hear that you didn't have a safe space to turn to.

    I visit your site every day and it has become an important part of my daily routine. It's great to know that I'm not alone in finding comfort in retro gaming - it's definitely my happy place too.

    I hope you can find other sources of income besides selling your retro collection. While selling items that you don't have an emotional attachment to can be cathartic, I would suggest holding onto items that have sentimental value to you.

    I also agree with others who have suggested adding some non-intrusive advertising to the site. You provide so much value with your website, and I believe you deserve to be compensated for it.

    Keep up the good work

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  24. Thanks for sharing your sad story. You now run a website which makes a whole community happy! Don´t ever let these fuckheads back into your life again, they are disgusting shit. You are a great person, who always gave and never (!) wanted a single thing back. Please keep going. Indieretronews is by far the best source for information for our beloved systems on the whole internet.

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  25. Retrogaming is a great retreat. I am a pretty well-rounded guy with many interests, but if I had the means, I would spend much more time retro gaming. Best wishes!

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  26. Hi Neil, in a sense, for some folks including me, you are a good friend already.
    Personally, almost every day, and regularly on weekend mornings, when taking my coffee I would first check indieretronews for new content and articles, and then I will proceed with the rest of my day.
    So, the impact in my life is definitely positive and inspirational.

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  27. Thank you for sharing your life story with us and wishing you all the best in life going forward....

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  28. great site thanks man

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  29. Thanks for your dedication and for sharing your personal story; I got aware of autism as a father and all my efforts are now dedicated to get a zone of confort for my son, to help him live his life at best, autonomous but, as far as i can, without bumping into the bullies. Indieretronews is my favourite source of good news, please keep going!

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  30. Thank you for sharing this and having the courage to open up. Lots of us out here including me who can empathise with that, even though it's now so many years ago. One of my young daughters was diagnosed autistic last year. Slowly dawning on me how vulnerable she is now and will be for years to come. For her and all my children, all I want is their happiness, however they get it - I wish back then I knew what I know now!

    I love the site and have become a daily visitor - so this is now a source of happiness for me!! So all the best to you and make sure whatever you decide you keep enjoying your life and doing those things that make you happy :-)

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  31. Thank you for sharing you story with us. As far as I know, I am not autistic, but having been an introverted kid with a love for gaming, I can certainly relate to a lot of what you and others here have written. I don't really have the time to play computer games anymore, but checking out the news on this site is still a daily routine for me (as well as downloading interesting C64 releases and putting them on my ever-growing bucket list...). Thank you for all the work you have put into this site!

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  32. Although I haven't faced this kind of hardship, I can understand, to some extent. My first owned system is the Amiga 500, but I had many gaming experiences with other systems at friends and relatives before that. My parents had a hard time understanding the entertainment value of games. They never drastically opposed but you could tell that they considered this a complete waste of time, a divergence from the "good job" I was doing being a "normal" kid that gladly plays with others, and getting good grades (I still even prefer solitary sports like martial arts to team games!). There is a great value in being in our own world, living our own adventure, and many don't understand that!
    Your site is my go-to source for anything retro gaming, I am visiting every day.
    Thank you for this. Hang in there. Many people feel you.

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  33. I don't think funding this web site is the issue. It runs on Blogger and that's free.

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    1. Website isn't free as it's officially hosted and paid for every year, the blogger is just the editor and partial template. That's why you see www.indieretronews.com and not blogspot.

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    2. (Not the same Anonymous, but) In that case, I would also non-intrusive accept ads on the site, if you were able to finance the site that way.

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  34. Once again I'm so grateful to all of you for your support, and also for Sharing your experiences as well 🤗

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  35. Hi Neil, it's brave and generous to share your memories with us. You are a great guy and you are doing an amazing job creating this site. I read your posts almost every day, but this is the first time I decided to leave a comment. I started my computer adventure in late 80's, I saw Gianna Sisters on my cousins Commodore 64, I've loved this game and this computer ever since, a few months later I got my own Commodore with a tape recorder hooked up to a black and white TV, I switched on PC in the 90's. Today many years later I own Commodore 64 again (not mine old one unfortunately), I also bought Atari 130XE, ZX Spectrum 48, MSX, CPC464 with lots of games and peripherals. Thanks to your wonderful website my good old machines are still alive. Thanks Neil. Greetings from Poland.

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  36. I read several news pages on the internet every day, can't help it. Indieretronews I always visit last, because after reading all that crap at other places, seeing all the hate and madness that's filling the world today, indieretronews is a place of tranquility. And the news make me smile. Simple as that. I hope you can keep the site going, but even more hope you manage on your personal journey. All the best from Germany!
    And, concerning financials, aren't there several different options for some income? I am no expert, but "buy me a coffee" could be one of them. I move from indieretronews to itch.io every now and then to spend a couple of bucks (ok, euros) on games there, so I guess some form of participation on your side would only be fair.

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    Replies
    1. That's lovely to read thank you, I love the Cup of Coffee idea!

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  37. Fantastic writeup Neil, thank you for sharing your story. No matter who you are in this world, retro gaming is something we can all here resonate with, despite our journeys all being different.

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  38. I am sending my appreciation for this site you are running, thank you so much,
    and also sending my love and hugs from Poland!
    It must be very hard for you, partially I know this myself.. but hang on and never give up!

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  39. I think you have a Patreon page, but somehow you don't advertise it enough. Maybe you do not like to ask for money, but running this site must be a lot of work and there is nothing wrong with getting compensated for your time. I'm off to check if you have a Patreon and if you do, i will make a pledge. Maybe this way you'll be able to keep several more old carts;)

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    Replies
    1. Hey Anon thank you for those kind words, for some reason Patreon doesn't show on mobiles via the site but here you go https://www.patreon.com/IndieRetroNews . Much appreciated 🤗🤗

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  40. Damn, didnt expect to read a big pity party spiel.
    Everyone has battles in life, but not everyone writes about them in the way you did. You can get a point across and tell your story in ways that dont sound as pathetic as yours did.
    Your choice of words is what makes it pathetic, not the story itself.
    Reads as though you're still drowning in self pity.
    You really need to grow a pair.

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    Replies
    1. Show some respect, I think the guy or girl has done enough for the community to have their say. Maybe you should grow a pair and show your real name, instead of hiding behind an anon account.

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    2. Well said, what a **** just ignore him dude

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  41. Thank you Neil for sharing this and for the open words. Unfortunately, this topic is still not taken seriously or even understood by some people, as one can see here in a specific comment from January 15th. It is a topic that affects many people today, even a lot of readers here who don't dare or are ashamed to talk about it. Sometimes the escape route in the past and childhood days is the best medicine, not least because we used to sit together and play games together in front of the screen much more than today on the Internet, where bullying and insults via headsets are already part of the daily routine for many adolescents. You concentrated more on the essentials and didn't need any warm-up time like today. I wish you a lot of strength and fun in the retro gaming hobby, which connects us all here somewhere as readers, no matter how we found our way here. And if this website didn't exist here, an important part and information area for our project would also be lost. So I am very happy that you are doing so much for us and are also indirectly helping to shape our monthly live stream. By the way, it is not at all reprehensible to be overweight, on the contrary! Much more, such people are often very sensitive and empathetic and need special affection. So at this point just a big hug and *cuddle* for you. Just let me know if you need any further and personal advice that might help you. We can also chat on Facebook if you like. :-)

    Best wishes from Germany,
    Manuel (Radio PARALAX)

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  42. Small addendum: keep it up and don't let it get you down! Of course you can also cuddle back if you like. 😘🤗

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  43. Thanks for your work all this time man. Been there too, bullied in the past for various reasons so I know how it feels. Even bullied by a group of punks coz there was a girl that liked me and one of them wanted her. 1 vs 8. Absolute mess. Just f*ck them

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