For years now, I’ve considered myself a gamer. I’ve played games since I was five. Christmas 1984 to be precise. That’s when my parents bought my brother and I a Commodore 64 for Christmas – the idea being that unlike a console, we could do more than just game. We did do a bit of BASIC programming – following simple instructions from the Input magazine my dad subscribed us to, but I don’t think either of us understood what we were doing. We did enjoy the games though! I still have a Commodore 64 to this day. In fact, in our house, we have a Commodore 64, SEGA MegaDrive (this is my wife’s), Nintendo 64, Game Cube, Wii, XBOX 360 (two of these), XBOX ONE (two of these), a Wii U and two 3DS handhelds. We had two PS3’s at one time and my wife bought an On Live too. Not to mention desktop computers and the Sony Xperia tablet I bought specifically to play Android games on.
I used to keep on top of all the major releases I was interested in. I’d pre-order games and that was probably where a big chunk of my disposable income went. I co-host a podcast about gaming and write news, reviews and the occasional feature for this very website about the subject. I own two game capture devices with the intent of producing gaming videos for YouTube beyond the first three game reviews I recorded a year ago. There we are; I’m a gamer.
Something has happened though, and although I saw the creeping signs I managed to ignore them right up until the first of August this year. I’ve been gaming less and less. I notice when we were recording The Next Level that I couldn’t often review new games. I was finding reasons to not get certain big titles any more. Although I still love gaming, I find myself doing it so much less than I would like. Okay, so a big part of this is that I have more responsibilities now. I’m a husband and a father. My daughter is approaching her second birthday. She is a handful, interested in absolutely everything and – as is seemingly the norm with toddlers – she has no sense of fear (which is great but also exhausting). On top of this, I have a day-job, cooking and housework to do and other interests and hobbies to fulfill.
Given all this. Given that, I’m probably clocking up a paltry three-hours a week gaming (if that) and given what happened on the First of August, can I still – in good faith – call myself a gamer?
What happened on the first? I actually … I can barely bring myself to type this … started to consider cancelling a pre-order for a game in one of my favourite franchises. Later this month, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided will be released and I am seriously considering not getting it at launch. There are reasons for this. I’ve had a busy and expensive month. My car needed some work doing to it. But I can probably take the hit without any long-lasting financial ramifications. But. This is the unforgivable part: I have too many great games sitting either un-played or barely played and I should really clear that backlog.
This is what has caused my crisis of … gamerness? Gamerism? I’ll go with that: my crisis of Gamerism.
I’ve had doubts before but this must be the final straw. Yet, I think I still do consider myself a gamer. Just because I can’t or don’t dedicate tens-of-hours a week to playing one or more video games shouldn’t really affect that. The “to-play” pile’s ever-increasing and guilt-inducing size shouldn’t make me doubt being a gamer. The unfulfilled good-intentions to make some retro-gaming or current gaming videos shouldn’t really affect me that much. Nor should my lapse in organising new episodes of The Next Level podcast.
The fact is I love Video Games. I have done since I first got my hands on the joystick of that 1984 Commodore 64. There have always been periods where I’ve had to spend time doing other things, or where I’ve not wanted to play games as much. That’s just life for most people I think. I like keeping an eye on developments. I enjoy getting excited over trailers or other gaming news.
Being a gamer is about more than just playing games in every available moment. Being a gamer is like being any kind of fan. It’s about loving it when you do get the chance to do it. It’s about getting that buzz when playing, or finding out about a new game that really appeals.
So yes. I am still a gamer. I don’t think I should doubt that. Nor should anyone else having such a crisis. If you enjoy gaming and if you have a sense of joy from the thought of gaming then you ARE a gamer.
GS Blogger: WedgeDoc