The Queer Warriors fight for video-game redemption at Boystown

The Queer Warriors fight for video-game redemption at Boystown
Leila Del Duca

"Sometimes we itch all over. We think it's because of the gas leak," says Timmy Moen, a lanky 27-year-old with bloodshot eyes glued to League of Legends, a multiplayer video game. When he turns on the heat, flames shoot from the vent, he complains to his 24-year-old roommate and best friend, Noah Bardwell.

Noah blushes. He is also Timmy's landlord.

The two live at Boystown, a ramshackle house in Villa Park, a predominantly Latino neighborhood on the west side of Denver. Their home is a social hub for a group of washed-up Peter Pans, sick with lung infections and consumed by endless gin drinking, weed smoking and video-game playing. Many nights the two stumble to bed, pass out, wake up, puke and do it all again — that is, if they ever leave their gaming chairs at all.

Noah Bardwell is the landlord of Boystown.
Anthony Camera
Noah Bardwell is the landlord of Boystown.
Timmy Moen in the gamers’ command center at Boystown.
Anthony Camera
Timmy Moen in the gamers’ command center at Boystown.

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The Boystown door is never locked. Inside, the dust-caked floor is uneven to the step. Ignored electric guitars and beat-up amps are stacked haphazardly in the corner of the living room. In three dirty bedrooms, dirty sheets cover dirty mattresses surrounded by dirty clothes.

The kitchen — half hallway and half breakfast nook — looks into a small room: the gamers' command center. At the back of the room, a hand-built table supports a gargantuan computer monitor and three small monitors; the computers glow and hum next to a high-end speaker system. Cigarette ash covers everything, including mounds of prescription pill bottles, dried marijuana stems, empty flasks, crushed beer cans and crusted plates.

At any time of the day or night, Boystown may be packed with gamers, queers and punks. Or the house may be dead quiet. Either way, Timmy is likely to be hunkered down in a tattered office chair in the command center, duct-taped headphones covering his ears. His fingers will be tapping at a keyboard and mouse, only breaking to pack a bowl with weed, crack open a beer or light another cigarette.


Chris Nelson loves cigarettes. Trying to quit, he has banned himself from Boystown.

"I've got to warn you, I'm grumpy," he says, grabbing two quarts of sesame sticks from a well-stocked pantry and lumbering down to his basement bedroom at Knox House, a tidy community home in Barnum, not far from Boystown.

"Last couple of years, I've headed over there once a week, and we'd play video games, smoke cigarettes and drink beer," he says. "It's hard to go over there and not partake. I've been over there two times, and both times I cheated. I've got to stay home. It sucks. I really want to be over there."

But with a baby coming next month, this thirty-year-old, curly-haired, flannel-clad bear has to kick his habit. This time, for real — for the kid, for his partner, and for his own health.

"Everything is more enjoyable with cigarettes. Drinking coffee is better with cigarettes. Reading is better with cigarettes. Eating is better with cigarettes. I enjoy it all more with cigarettes."


"I'm kicking so much ass. I'm awesome," Timmy tells himself, his pale, gaunt face lit blue by his monitor.

Even when Boystown is filled with friends trying to reconnect, it's tough for Timmy to turn away from his video games.

Tonight he's playing League of Legends with strangers around the world. On their screens, they share a bird's-eye view of their "champions" battling each other on the "Field of Justice." To the noob — the uninitiated gamer — the visuals appear muddled and incoherent. Gamers study hard to understand the game, and Timmy has put in the time.

"A lot of my friends judge my video-game habit. I've always been open about it, but my friends talk so much shit about it," he says. "I didn't become a full-time gamer until two years ago. I needed something to make me want to live again. Video games are a great way out when you feel like shit."

Queer Warriors: Noah and Timmy Are Sad from Voice Media Group on Vimeo.

"Playing video games is a good way to ignore things," says Noah, dwarfed by his mammoth monitor.

"When you've got low self-esteem, you've got to start somewhere," says Timmy, staring into his much smaller screen.

At fifteen, Timmy was a budding hawk in a pacifist, Unitarian community. "I was for the Iraq War. I was really into war and war movies. I grew up on Saving Private Ryan," he says, scrolling through YouTube videos, looking for the trailer for Memphis Belle.


He finds it, clicks "play" and watches the Greatest Generation's finest bomb the Third Reich. A Voice-of-God narrator booms: "We asked these boys to become men. We asked these men to become heroes, but whatever the danger, whatever the odds, we asked them to come home again."

Home, for Timmy, was complicated. He was in awe of his sister and her straight-edge vegan friends, but she hated him almost as much as he hated himself.

"Everybody in my high school sucked. I grew up in Littleton, where the Columbine shooting happened. My friends were assholes," he says, resuming League of Legends.

He was a bullied outcast. He played video games. He longed to fight wars. Timmy was the kind of misfit that the post-Columbine nightly news demonized as a potential threat.

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Wow. I used to be a washed up nobody loser, and no one ever made a news article about me. The only thing this fairy tale is missing is a big bag of meth. What a bunch of crap!


I hung out there one time now I'm in Malaysia and can't sleep.


Boys town collects big bucks off exploiting children. And that reprobate bastard Aquino gets to burn for torturing, raping and murdering children through the (so called) national security agency. And you cops and law pervert judges who hide your eyes from this crap are cut off from God (the same way that God cut off people who hid their eyes from Solomon's abomination in molech worship). Read:

(1 Kings 11:7) Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon.

(Jeremiah 32:35) And they built the high places of Baal, which are in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire unto Molech; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin.

(Leviticus 20:1-5) And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Again, thou shalt say to the children of Israel, Whosoever he be of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn in Israel, that giveth any of his seed unto Molech; he shall surely be put to death: the people of the land shall stone him with stones. And I will set my face against that man, and will cut him off from among his people; because he hath given of his seed unto Molech, to defile my sanctuary, and to profane my holy name. And if the people of the land do any ways hide their eyes from the man, when he giveth of his seed unto Molech, and kill him not: Then I will set my face against that man, and against his family, and will cut him off, and all that go a whoring after him, to commit whoredom with Molech, from among their people.

So listen up you cops, charge me for littering on boystown property (per your law). And then burn for that perverted and partial law that shows favor to child raping reprobate bastards. Did some high paid judge who reads proverbs tell you doughnut eaters that solomon was a good guy or something? Read:

(Matthew 12:42) The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.

(1 Kings 10:13, 14)  And king Solomon gave unto the queen of Sheba all her desire, whatsoever she asked, beside that which Solomon gave her of his royal bounty. So she turned and went to her own country, she and her servants. Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was SIX HUNDRED THREESCORE AND SIX talents of gold.

(Revelation 13:18) Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is SIX HUNDRED THREESCORE AND SIX.

(Revelation 17:8) The beast that thou sawest WAS, AND IS NOT; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.

And don't that suck for the solomon worshipping masons who get to burn with him?

(Revelation 19:11-21) And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great. And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.

This is what I do to deadbeat law perverts who exploit children for a whore's wages:                                                                                                       Judgment against child abusers at boystown Omaha, Nebraska:

(Revelation 20:10) And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. (Revelation 20:15) And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.


Westword has really hit rock bottom. The "alternative" newspaper has already cut all of its regular content that was remotely interesting (Kenny Be, Savage Love, etc.), but at least it had some decent main articles. Now, Westword literally gives us a story about a bunch of punk kids who play video games all day. And then a few weeks ago we got an "update" about a bunch of kids who were in a play several years ago and haven't really done much since...real hard hitting.

I know some of this is just taste, but please give readers more content that is actual news and not just profiles of uninteresting people.


This is a good story, and a breath of fresh air in a world that doesn't have much patience for character study.  Once you agree not to make it any more than it is, it's excellent. 

Cognitive_Dissident topcommenter

If I can't figure out what the fuck the article is actually about in the first paragraph, I'm not really planning to read the rest. It sure as hell didn't explain what the bizarre title was all about.


What the fuck was that? That was the absolute tops of shit writing and a shit story I've read all year. Who approved this shit to go into print? What a bunch of'm just dumbfounded this shit found its way into WestWord.

LeAnn Nuss Lovato
LeAnn Nuss Lovato

This was supposed to be about fighting for equality online? I seemed to have missed that amongst the drunk, high, living-in-a-mess, not-doing-a-damn-thing-but-playing-video-games stuff. If you were shooting to make people not want to get interested in playing a video game ever again, then mission accomplished.


This is what happens when a buncha dudes don't go out and surf. 


What a f-ing depressing, depressing story :(

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