I find myself asking…myself about my gamer status. I seem to get labeled a gamer a lot in my life, at work, amongst casual friends and even guy family but every time the label get slapped on me I immediately try to shake it off. Its not that I hate the term or the people it applies to, I just feel that I’m not one of them. To me being called a gamer is like going through life wearing someone else’s coat [cue the Tommy Boy clip].
Gaming has been a part of my life for a very long time as I came up in the Geneses/SNES era (I was a Sega kid for the record), I even had a few gaming sessions with my older brothers Intellivision before it decided to grow legs and walk off. I always had fun but I don’t think I ever finished a game in those days and never had amazing stories 24 hour gaming or tails of how I was screwed over by some boss that is impossible to beat without pixel perfect execution. I used to play Sonic 2 a lot and some times popped in Tale Spin (loved the show as a kid) or Terminator (movie was ok) but I never finished any of the games I owned nor did I ever feel compelled to play them all that much however I did get a monthly magazine subscription from what started out as GamePlayers (and then became something else, and then something else, but more on that later) to keep up on all the games I wanted but never got.
Once the Geneses was passed up by the newer offerings of t he next console cycle I was S.O.L. as my father refused to buy me a new console. After time my interest in my antiquated Sega box waned and all I had was the GamePlayers magazine, friends with newer systems and my dreams. Eventually my desire to play games went the way of the Dodo but I still was getting GamePlayer Magazine who by this time changed their name to GameBuyers (I think) and then immediately folded. I never really under name change, I mean most of the people playing games at the time had their parents buy them but what do I know (fun fact: I know more than I should and less than I need to). Also my subscription of GamePlayers/GameBuyers ran out after the 12 months that my dad paid for but it continued for many years after that. I wonder why print is dead?
I never had a Playstation One or a Sega Saturn and to this day have never owned a Nintendo device. For my entire live I never owned a handheld that wasn’t made by Tiger Interactive and even those I had vary sparing…because they are utter shit. I basically sat out an entire generation of gaming. I mean I had some time on just about every system because I have friends but I had a long time between owning systems. The next system I got was a Playstation 2 and the only reason I got that was because I got a summer job and paid for it myself.
Unlike most people who love games that are my age (I born in ’83), my love for playing video games came about when I cracked open my PS2 and started playing Grand Theft Auto 3. I loved that game and in fact that was the first game I ever finished. That admission feels a little shameful to be honest but I was just never moved to complete any of the other games I owned or really play them for hours on end but the fact that GTA had something of a narrative that felt like it was part of the gameplay as opposed to something that was a bit of scrolling text set up or something that never touched upon. Al I’m saying is if Sonic 2 had a story to go along with all that running he did maybe he could have held my attention (so much running).
All of my PS2 fun was great. I finished a few other games here and there and started to for a bit of a library of titles, till the day when it all when wrong. Well it was a bit longer than a day, it was months. I started to notice that some games where having a hard time starting or would just refuse to play. It turns out my trusty Playstation was scratching rings into most of the DVD based games. On the up side I did come into having a decent amount of decorative coasters. So there’s that.
Losing game after game led me to some drastic measures and I cracked open the console (keep in mind this was years after the warranty was up and Sony could give a shit, still kids, this was very stupid). While I had it splayed open like the General’s daughter (…in The General’s Daughter) the top fell off the table and pulled out the cords that connected to the power and open tray buttons effectively killing my PS2. RIP. [Hey Tim, dig something up to put here. Try to be touching.]
[Well that wasn't touching at all. Such a dick.]
I was once again without a console and I was strangely OK with it, after all the PS3 was on the horizon and coming down the pipe. There were a few games I thought I wanted to play but I decided to not reinvest in a PS2 but instead wait out the year or so for the PS3 to drop, then the price was announced.
I had a friend who was totally into gaming far more than I and was insistent that he was going to give me his old Xbox 360 as he was going to buy a new one. No I don’t know why, he wasn’t really smart with his money. He also never gave me his old Xbox. This is me not surprised. [Tim, sad face.]
The plan was always to get a PS3 but I ended up getting both eventually because of Crackdown (wanted to play the game, didn’t care about the Halo Beta) and the removal of backwards compatibility respectively but now the 360 spends a lot of time gathering dust and my PS3 get a heavy workout streaming all those movies and shows on my Netflix queue. I still play games but I haven’t bought one this so far. If I can scrape together enough cash I’ll pick up Infamous 2 and November brings the next installments of Uncharted and Mass Effect which are day one buys. Ok lets be honest, Mass Effect is a day one, I get it or someone forfeits their life. To me this year holds nothing else other than interest sparkers (coined). I am interested in LA Noir for the world it paints but I really don’t feel compelled to go out and buy it, more “I’ll wait and see”. Portal 2 is something I’m interested in but I bought the Orange Box 2 years ago and have never put the disc in the console. I do find it interesting but I just don’t ever seem to be able to play the damn thing.
My life in game doesn’t really warrant me being called a gamer at least in my mind. I’ve had games. I’ve gamed. I own a PS3. I own a 360. I’ve played Mass Effect 5 times. I’ve played Mass Effect 2 6 times. I played Uncharted 1 when it came out and not after everyone said the second one was amazing. I listen to a ton of gaming podcast (and then don’t play the games). I was once kicked out of an online match (I just want to say I was handed the mic and told to be a dick, I didn’t even have a controller. Also want to say I didn’t say anything racial, homophobic or anti-Semitic…may have called them lonely masturbators.). All of that seems like I’m a gamer through and through, however I mostly play games on easy. I never play online (friend or foe not welcome). If you add all that up you may be like me and unable to figure out what I am. I guess I am a gamer, I’ll give you that but I am the very definition of a casual gamer. I am some one who likes to stay informed but doesn’t really want to get involved with most of the games because of lack of money, lack of time or in my case more often than not lack of interest.
I would like to thank Tim for helping me out on this one with his complete dick head way.