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Video games are all the rage, so we decided to shed some light on local video game stars in the Carolinas. This week, we had the chance to sit down with local community gamer, Tariq White, and ask him about being part of the gaming community! Fun fact: Tariq is also a student currently at Johnson C. Smith University here in Charlotte, North Carolina!

1) How did you get into gaming? What was the original goal?

I got into gaming at a very young age. I had to be at least three years old when my uncle introduced me to the NCAA Football series on the PlayStation 2. I used to watch him play through the Dynasty mode as our favorite team, Florida State, and he would recruit his way to being the number one team at the end of every season. He jump-started my passion and love for video games, specifically the NCAA and Madden series. The original goal I had for gaming was just to master and be the best at every game I play. I still go back to old games I might not have been good at in the past and play them just to say I completed what I couldn’t before.

2) What’s been your best moment as a gamer?

My best moment as a gamer had to be buying the PlayStation 4 back in 2013. I didn’t truly buy it outright by myself, but it was a big accomplishment for me because I was only thirteen at the time. Doing that made me become independent when it came to buying my own games so I’m extremely thankful for that moment.

3) What games really speak to you?

NBA 2K, Madden, and NCAA Football games. Sports are my one true love and I’ve had pretty much every single one of these games in each series. I got into NBA 2K late as I was more of an NBA Live kind of player up until 2009. NBA 2K9 was the first 2K game I played and the graphics and gameplay were so great, I never looked back to Live again. Madden and NCAA were the series that I grew up on since I was three or four years old, so my loyalty to them will never fade although I am still a huge fan of ESPN NFL 2K5, perhaps probably the only other NFL video game I believe could rival a Madden game.

4) What advice would you give to aspiring gamers?

My biggest piece of advice I would give to aspiring gamers is to never let anyone convince you that gaming is not productive. It gives me peace of mind, it allows me to unwind and focus on something that makes me happy. It’s like an escape from the outside world almost.

5) What has been one of the biggest surprises that you never thought of going into gaming?

That I would be appointed as the first Vice President of the E-Sports club at Johnson C. Smith University. It’s my first big accomplishment here at the university club-wise, and I am glad to have joined the team.

Alexis Zarycki is your average girl with the hopes of leaving an everlasting impact on the world. Follow her on Instagram @official_lexpaige