In My Time of Gaming

<Insert cliche about growing older>. I’m not that old. Mid twenties. For a person who plays video games, that’s still not bad. It’s seems weird though. I’ve been playing video games most of my life, and I don’t think I will ever stop playing video games. However, I think how I play games will change (not just innovations in technology, like motion controls and touch… although those are part of it).

Being a little kid, I played video games. I also played trucks, played with Legos, did a ton of outside activities(we had a large yard when I was really younger), and many other things. I remember playing Super Mario Bros. 3, and Super Mario World. I remember we owned the NES game that had three games, Duck Hunt, Super Mario Bros, and something else. I sucked at Super Mario Bros, and I had to get really close to the screen with the light gun to play Duck Hunt. I would play Twisted Metal 2 with one friend, and play a Looney Toons game for the NES with another friend. I wasn’t very good at video games at that age.

Dunk Hunt

He’s laughing at how close I was to the T.V. He knew my eyesight would go bad. That jerk.

We moved from the small town, where we had a big yard, to a larger city (not a major metropolitan area, but significantly bigger than my previous town). We moved right after school was out for summer vacation. This is the worst time to move for a child just ten years of age. No friends, strange town, and you’re still kinda pissed for having to move. I found some comfort in video games. I would constantly rent Twisted Metal 3 from a video store. My brother and I would go to an Arcade and play a ton of video games. It wasn’t your standard arcade; you would spend six or seven dollars and you would be able to play a bunch of arcade games for free. It was awesome. They had bumper cars too.

Soon school started and I made friends. Two of them I am still friends to this day. A weird kid who liked Final Fantasy and Zelda. Yes, he owns a Link outfit, complete with a master sword. Another kid, who became my best friend, would come over to my house and we would watch my brother play Starcraft and Diablo 2. Pretty soon, we both bought those games and played them with each other. This is when I started to really get into gaming.

Starcraft

The Zerg always lose because they don’t have Pylons.

By middle school, I was still playing the expansions for Starcraft and Diablo 2 with friends. I had built my own computer and brought it to LAN parties. You don’t appreciate laptops until you’ve had to carry a CRT monitor from place to place. Our family owned a Playstation (we’ve had it before we moved) and my brother had an N64. We had retired the NES and SNES for mainly computer games, and an odd console game here and there. Then I watched someone play Grand Theft Auto 3. I had to have a Playstation 2 after seeing this game. I saved up and when I could afford one I bought a PS2 along with a copy of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. My dad had to purchase Vice City for me. The game was magical.

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City

Nothing says “Magic” like a felony.

Fast forward a little bit; high school to be exact. Full on video game geek. I gobbled up anything video game related. This is when I started to really pay attention to this fantastic industry. I started watching XPlay (R.I.P.). Guess who was being interviewed on one occasion? David Jaffe, the creator of one of my favorite games of all time, Twisted Metal 2. He was talking about God of War, which had been out for a while. I worked at Target at the time. My mom bought it for me for my birthday… I was the electronics team member whom she purchased it from. I remember playing it and was stunned at the violence. It was awesome. I showed all my friends. I still love that series.

God of War

To this day, I assume blood looks exactly like this.

My interest for video games grew throughout the rest of high school, and college. I bought a Wii on launch day, a Playstation 3 shortly after launch, and an XBox 360. I always had a PC capable of playing the latest games. I bought several games on release day, played dozens of hours a week, read a ton of video game websites, and subscribed to four different magazines at one point. I always knew when a game was going to be out, at least a year ahead of time. I watched several games become vaporware (games that were never released). I could tell you the lead developers for several games. I watched closely at projects started by Bill Roper, David Jaffe, Randy Pitchford, Tim Sweeney, John Carmack, and several others.

Then something happened. My last year or so of college, I played less video games. Needed to focus on homework, or I just hung out with friends more. I still paid attention to video games media and bought a ton of games, but I was playing much less. I had (and still do) a large back catalog of games. After graduation, I got a career. That’s where I am now. It’s weird. I love video games, but they are not as large part of my life anymore. My outlook has also changed on them.

I still stay caught up on the latest video games news. However, I prefer the feature articles of Polygon or The Penny Arcade Report, to the headline stories of Gamespot and IGN. Not saying that Gamespot and IGN don’t have very well written features, but they seem to be few and far between. Instead of buying a game on release day, I tend to wait until I have time to play it; then if I wait long enough, I might wait for a sale  or the price to go down on the game. It’s smart, but with a career, I don’t really need to pinch pennies. Before I might have bought a game like Bikini Zombie Slayer on day one, while today I’ll just pass on it. I used to play dozen of hours of video games a week, and I’m lucky if I play a video game during the work week at all (although weekends tend to be open season on video games for me). I just prefer to go exercise, have dinner with friends, maybe watch a TV show, or play Dungeon and Dragons (I’ll write about that someday).

Dice

Roll for story time.

I’m still excited about video games, but they are a lower priority now. I’m watching D.I.C.E. Summit videos right now. Some of the speakers are fascinating. I’m buying God of War Ascension on day one. I’m buying Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm on day one. Alas, Aliens: Colonial Marines gets pushed back to whenever I have time. Whenever I upgrade my computer, which needs to happen this year, I’ll buy Crysis 3. I might have to buy a 3DS for Castlevania: Lords of Shadow (there’s a few other games I want for 3DS too… its just Castlevania is probably the tipping point). Gears of War Judgement will need to be put off until a later date. Basically, once I feel satisfied with God of War and Starcraft, I’ll move on to another game. By then, they might be cheaper too.

So that’s where I’ve been and where I am at; at least when it comes to video games. I’m sure I’ll never stop playing. My corpse will be holding the controller for the Playstation 50 when I die. I’ll always play games. Maybe not as much as other times in my life life, but they’ll be present. Especially if they keep making games like Bikini Zombie Slayer.

Bikini Zombie Slayer

I don’t care how crappy the game is… it has blood, zombies, and cowboy hats.