Following Steven’s incredible win at The Game Awards, we sat down with the Global Gaming Citizen himself to talk AbleGamers and get into the nitty-gritty of how Steven got here and where he is going.
“It’s an interesting thing being honored for something you’ve poured 15 years of your life into,” AbleGamers COO Steven Spohn begins to tell me. “And I don’t just mean AbleGamers. When I joined AbleGamers founder, Mark Barlet, on what would be his quest to change the world, AbleGamers was nothing more than a blog and I was merely a young, frustrated disabled guy.”
Earlier this month, our very own Steven Spohn, COO of AbleGamers, took home a big win, perhaps one of the biggest in his career: the Global Gaming Citizen Award. Prior to the 2018 Game Awards, the award was coined Trending Gamer of the Year, and was typically taken home by, you guessed it, the most trending gamer, which meant the most popular streamer or content creator. This year, Facebook Gaming teamed up with The Game Awards and broke this down into two awards: Content Creator of the Year and the Global Gaming Citizen Award. The idea was to still give recognition to the year’s most influential content creator, but also shine a light on a figure in the community who is doing something impactful and meaningful aside from entertaining.
He explains that the award was more than just that – it was a way to not only honor him as an individual, but a putting a positive light on a person making real change in the industry. Steven goes on to explain that the exposure for AbleGamers was priceless as well, and ultimately gave the public a real behind-the-scenes look at what the charity does, and he hopes it brings more disabled people into the gaming community.
“See…Mark Barlet, Craig Kaufman, and I have infused so much of our life’s blood into what we’ve been doing for so very long that it’s sometimes easy to forget you are more than your work,” Steven continues. “AbleGamers isn’t just a fantastic organization, it’s an ideal — a beacon of light that draws you in to guide you on your way to becoming the best version of yourself.”
Steven goes on to explain that AbleGamers is the beautiful vision that shaped him into who he is today — the guy that always posts positive affirmations on Twitter, the guy who streams not for the views, but to show the world that people with disabilities DO game and they CAN stream on Twitch. “Every part of what I do professionally and personally is forever molded by the relationships I’ve made and experiences I’ve been privileged enough to partake in, and it is all thanks to a single decision to invest in something larger than myself,” Steven says.
Today, AbleGamers stands as one of the most prolific and impactful organizations fighting for the rights of people with disabilities in video games and beyond. Steven explains that AbleGamers became his prism— and the defining moments within shaped his youthful rage into a laser-focused power with sights set on destroying ableism and inequality in and around video games — or however else he can make a difference in the lives of others.
“I will always bleed orange and black,” Steve continues. “In a way, everything I do will always be a mix of who I am as an individual and what AbleGamers forged me to become.” Steven’s dream is that every single human being has the opportunity in their lifetime to find that one burning passion that inspires them to push themselves to the absolute limit and hold on with everything they’ve got.
“Because sometimes… It’s not about ever finding the end of the journey, it’s about watching everything and everyone grow with you into the most magnificent dream you could ever imagine.”