Content of the article: "A man’s thoughts about gaming throughout his life"
Hi everyone. I'm a 32 year-old man that has been playing games since I was 8 years old when my grandpa bought me an NES and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (we loved that movie). I played that game for about 15 minutes then borrowed SMB from a friend. The rest is history.
There is no real overarching point to this post. I just want to talk about my feelings towards games as I've grown older and the way changes in life have affected those feelings. I will kind of ramble but will do my best to keep ideas intact.
First I want to talk about my struggle finding enjoyment in games that I had in the last couple years (yes had). I think overall I had to find what I actually enjoyed about games in my childhood and separate that form what I want out of games now.
When I was a kid just playing games was awesome. I just loved playing them. Even if a game wasn't great I still played it because I liked playing games. Eventually some titles would just piss me off or get very boring. But most kept my attention. Favorite games form NES include; SMB 1 & 2 (never owned 3 as a kid), Startropics (still holds up!), Kung Fu (me and my brother laughed so hard at the animations and sound effects), and Kirby. Those made the most lasting impact. We rented games but I don't remember about 95% of them.
Then I got a SNES. This is when it really began. Three words; Donkey Kong County. Oh my god this was it. I was a gamer. Star Fox was cool, Super Mario was cool, but DKC was my jam. I still remember the Christmas I got DKC3. It was the only thing I wanted. My grandpa wrapped it in a box about 8 times bigger than the game box and when I opened it I found the game and some rocks. I look at him smiling and he mouthed, "Gotcha."
I rented Mario Kart constantly. I rented Super Mario RPG got about an hour into and just didn't get it. It wasn't my thing (now JRPGs are my favorite. I kick my young self).
Then my grandpa got me a PS1 because he had the modchip that let it play copied games. If I wanted a game he would get me a bootleg. It didn't last too long. I think he got bored. I had Spyro (100% save file!), Krash (meh), and Oddworld 1 & 2 (sooooo good). I played all of that for a while then I met some new friends who introduced me into Final Fantasy…you get the picture.
In the past couple years I would find myself getting hyped over a game and getting it. I'd pop it in and just feel the vibes coming back. Ahh, diving into a new game….then it would fade. There are a bunch of games I would start then just put down because I wasn't feeling it and never pick it back up, despite absolutely loving the first 90% of the time I spent playing it up to that point.
I think I figured it out. When I was young not only did I just love playing games but when I got a game that was the new game. There were not humble bundles and PS4 store sales. You picked a game that your mom got you and that was your game for the month (or longer). You just played it because it was what you had. When you went over to your SNES that was the one game you had not beaten so you played it.
The curse of choice. The over-saturation of games available. "Is there a better version of this game I'm playing? Am I wasting my time on this JRPG while there is one better out there?" I found myself constantly comparing games to each other. "I love the characters in this one but the combat in that one is so much better." Was I now playing games just to judge them? To stand them against each other instead of just enjoying them for what they are? That's exactly what I was doing.
I was too worried about "wasting my time". Such a stupid concept. Once you are worried about your hobby "wasting your time" you need to rethink your hobby. That's what I did. I changed what I wanted out of games. I stopped looking for the "best" game and starting pursuing what I found entertaining. I've beaten more games in the past 8 months than the 2 years before it. I beat FFXII, FFVII remake, Dark Souls 1, DS 2, Blood Borne, Sekiro (Platinum!), Lunar Silver Star Story, Pokemon Shield, and Hollow Knight. I don't even know where to begin with the list of games I've started and dropped in the 2 years before compared to the games I actually finished. psst, it was 3 I'm currently 60 hours in Xenoblade Chronicles DE and still loving it. There are so many games that appeal to me (to the point that I will love playing them) but not enough for me to stick with them when the hype wears off.
What I've been doing is this; When I buy a new game I will play it for about an hour or two. Then I ask myself if I am really feeling it. If not I put it down but pay close attention to how I felt when playing it. I bank this feeling so I know what game to play when I have this feeling. Namely Sekiro. I played it for a bit and hit a hard wall. I took a step back and set it down. When I had the urge to play it I picked it back up and platinumed it. I wasn't playing it for the hype at that point, I knew what mood I needed to be in to stick with it and I enjoyed every second of it (except demon of hatred).
The opposite end is Xenoblade. I picked it up on release day and haven't put it down. I think this is a mix of me being in the mood to play a game like that and me having a very good idea upfront what it is like. Same happened with FFVII remake. I just got lucky. I've stopped bundle buying but still games that look cool on same. I'll play it or I won't. I don't spend money I don't have either. Just got Tales of Berseria for like $6. I'll check it out eventually.
If the "magic" of playing games isn't there anymore but you still want to feel it you have to create it yourself. If you do it correctly then the "magic" will be as real as you remember it. I just had to take control and stopped hoping the "magic" would just show back up with the right game. I am a different person and games are very different than when I was younger. Don't be afraid to adapt and try not to look at games through a negative lens. You're only hurting yourself. If you're not enjoying a game then stop playing it. Don't get mad, don't bash it, just move on. What is worse; Wasting your time playing a game you are not enjoying or wasting your time complaining about said game?
If you made it this far I don't believe you. Thanks for reading.
Never give up, never surrender.
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