As a kid growing up in Brooklyn, actor Jerry Ferrara loved video games. Back then he hated having to stop gaming just because it was time for him or his friends to go home. “I used to wonder if there would ever come a day when we could play each other from our own houses,” says Ferrara. At age 36, Ferrara is still a “hardcore gamer” and is able to play video games with people all over the world. “Every time I play a game online, I still feel like a little kid,” he says. “With that ‘staying-up-late-while-my-mom-thinks-I’m-sleeping’ nostalgic moment.”

Serious fun

Ferrara is happy gaming is no longer a niche group. “It’s starting to become a thing,” he says. “It’s not just for ‘video game nerds.’ It’s now the gaming community.” Calling himself an “elder statesman,” Ferrara acknowledges many gamers are 10 to 15 years younger than him. “Back in my day, you only had two buttons,” he says. Now he uses a surround sound headset to immerse himself and communicate with teammates.

Ferrara likes to connect with fellow gamers on Twitch, a gaming-specific social media platform, and gamers have embraced him. He’s excited to be a part of the culture.

LOGGED ON: Long before video games were in, Ferrara was just one of the nerds. Today, in addition to being on Entourage, he's playing with gamers all over the world thanks to evolving technology. Photos: Benjo Arwas

“I’ve been welcomed by the gaming community,” says Ferrara, who has organized and competed in game tournaments, “I feel like I’m one of their own, although I’m older and not as good at hand-eye as I used to be. It’s all been positive, fun and good competition.”

Not just a game

Ferrara recently attended E3, a gaming tradeshow and was wowed, calling it “an unbelievable experience.”

“From what I saw, everything is getting better and better,” he says, explaining how he was impressed with the attention to detail, virtual reality technology and improving graphics. “Everything is going to be smoother, easier and grander.”

Ferrara compares the gaming displays at the convention to theme park-style attractions and rides.

GAME OVER: Despite being a big-time player, Ferrara isn't immune to the difficulty of leveling-up. Though he voiced an unlockable character, he was unable to hear his work as he wasn't able to make it to the next level.

“I’m in the movie business and that was the feeling I got, like they’re not looking at this as just a game. It’s an experience.” 

When asked about acting for a game, Ferrara laments that he voiced an unlockable character, but never heard himself, because he couldn’t get to the right level. His dream role? Main character in a first-person shooter.

Want another look? See more from Benjo Arwas' shoot with Jerry Ferrara.