“Have you played Bioshock Infinite?” my co-worker excitedly asked me the other day.
“No, not yet.” I responded, “It looks great, though I’ve never played a Bioshock game.”
He looked confused. “You’ve…what?! They’re great games, well, maybe not the second one…but you should really give them a shot, especially Infinite.”
Yeah, well…” my gaze turned to the floor, “maybe someday.”
Later that day, at my computer, I sat and stared at a list of upcoming game releases, and I sighed. Some were games that knew I had to play; others I knew I’d pass on. I moved to another site to read a few current games reviews, and I sighed again.
Will I ever play these games, I wonder? Maybe someday…some…day…[SIGH]
Argh! My melancholy turned to sudden anger. Why did this even bother me??
The list of games that I’ve not played is monumental in size compared to my list of played games. And, until recently, I never really cared that much. I’ve always been a fan of video games, even during long periods of not playing, and I never really thought all that much about being current or keeping up with the latest trends in games. I’ve always played what I felt like playing in the moment, whether new or retro.
But once I started writing about video games, I felt like I had to know more about them outside of my own experiences. So I started reading and watching and listening – other blogs, game news sites, podcasts, video reviews, etc. It had been years since I subscribed to a game magazine, and I only really kept up with news through the now-defunct TV show X-Play, so I was thrilled and dismayed at the sheer amount of gaming knowledge that was (and is) being disseminated over the electronic airwaves. Thrilled at feeling like I was “in the loop;” dismayed because it was a gigantic, confusing, and loud loop.
Even now, as I stare at the dozens of game sites in my bookmarks, and small part of my brain slowly implodes. I can feel it, just there at the back corner of my skull. I close the bookmarks panel and I realize:
I’m over being “current.”
Now, this DOES NOT mean I’m over gaming. Hardly. If fact, I can’t think of a better time in recent memory to be a video game player. There are so many options available to players these days. And nothing is off limits. Old games are available through networks and emulators, and new games can be downloaded onto smartphones. The pasts and futures of gaming are colliding in ways like never before — it’s ridiculously exciting!
And it’s ridiculously overwhelming.
A portion of my heart remains with those who live and breathe video games. Yes, I am slightly jealous because there are days that I long to be one of you. But honestly, those days for me are becoming fewer and more distant. I fully cherish the times I can game — I love them no less than those who have gaming in their blood 24/7. I’m no longer in a position to stand in lines for midnight releases, pre-order a dozen games at a time, or stay up until 3am lost in battle. That’s not my life and it never really was. And I’m okay with that. I’m okay with not being gaming’s sibling, but rather its antiquated and slightly demented aunt living with family and a garden and couple cats. I’m okay with being a little out of touch.
Oh, I’ll game when I can; and I’ll to read the news, the reviews, and the blogs. I’ll keep my eye on what’s new, the latest game controversies, and the next generation. I do it not because I have to but for the sake of free knowledge and for the sake of understanding where game journalists are coming from. I do it to inform my writing and to ably converse with others about games. I do it not to fit in but to stand out. We all relish gaming in our own ways. I guess my way happens to include some introspection and autobiography; what’s yours?