Gamer Spotlight: Stephen Duetzmann

Stephen Duetzmann (Founder, Editor In Chief of Engaged Family Gaming)

Stephen always knew that he wanted to be a part of the games industry, when he was younger he had ambitions to go into game design before his career took him elsewhere. He tried his hand at writing about games for several years but found it difficult to get noticed in the sea of folks trying to cover the industry.

It was thanks to a suggestion from his wife that he finally found his niche when she told him that he should write about video games that kids can play with their family, and Engaged Family Gaming was born. Seven years later the blog continues to thrive and they’ve recorded over 200 episodes of their podcast. He’s also recently enlisted his kids into the business and they’re helping expand EFG into video and other directions.

What is the first video game that you remember playing?

“I know that my neighbors had an NES when I was a kid. I don’t specifically remember playing any games there, but I remember wanting one desperately. My parents eventually got one for my brother and I, and I remember that day in perfect detail.

It was very important to my mom and dad that they surprise us. I remember my mother holding us on the couch when my dad came around the corner with the box in a giant Caldor bag. I cheered. My mom cried. And my dad went to work upstairs installing it. It felt like a year before he finished and we finally went upstairs to find him playing Duck Hunt.

We played for a while, but eventually I asked if I could play Super Mario Bros. I remember my mother looking at my dad and asking if it was safe for me to play. I was young, but even then I took time to say, “Of course!” and showed her what it was. Its more than 30 years later and I am still trying to show parents that same thing”

What are your favorite games of all time?

“The four pillars of gaming for me are: Street Fighter II for the SNES, Final Fantasy X, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and World of Warcraft.”

Which hobbies or pastimes do you enjoy besides gaming?

“I’m an avid LARPer (I’m actually on the national staff for Alliance LARP.)
I also really love the NFL and play in a number of Fantasy Football leagues.”

Do you and your children play video games together?

“We do! They help me test most of the games for But we also spend a lot of time playing games together outside of “work.” One of my favorite things is being taught how to play games like Minecraft and Pokemon by my in-home experts.”

How do you make time for gaming with a busy family life and career?

“Playing games WITH my kids is a pretty big part of it, but I also accept that I will need to sleep a little bit less if I am particularly grabbed by a game. I’ll wake up earlier or stay up later to finish a game.

I have also gotten very selective of the games I play every year. I play games on the big TV in my living room, so there are very few “grown up” games that I will play in a given year.”

What is your proudest moment as a parent?

“I am most proud when my kids show empathy for other kids in bad situations. They recently called off in person school for the rest of the year and all three of my kids expressed sadness’s for other kids (like seniors and other kids who miss their teachers) before their own situations”

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