Disclaimer: Don’t worry I didn’t actually throw my video-games in the trash, it was merely a rudimentary ruse to illustrate my point, nobody report me!
At around the age of 8 or 9 my parents bought me my first games console (a PlayStation) complete with two games that still remain in my top ten of all time; Final Fantasy VII & Resident Evil 2. At this moment, two things became very clear: 1. My parents were totally cool in buying a 9 year old an R-rated zombie-killing game and 2. I was hooked!
Gaming became a big part of my life. Sure I was an outdoorsy type, sporty even, but these were all just distractions from how I should really be spending my precious prepubescent leisure time. That was video-games. As a kid, I think I was just fascinated with the novelty of it, the idea that I could push a button and the character on screen would jump, punch, kick or blow a reanimated corpse’s head off.
Later, with Final Fantasy VII being the main influence, I began to embrace the escapism of it. I lost myself in a world battling the evil Shin-Ra Corporation and Sephiroth. Suddenly, the story within games became very important to me. I wouldn’t play anything that didn’t have a compelling plot or character development. I gradually accumulated a commendable library of RPG games and lived, at least part of my life, through the characters contained within. Those were the days.
I’m 25 years old now (with a birthday at the end of the month) and I’m still playing those same old games. The new releases were always a financial commitment too far for me, or simply didn’t appeal. Besides, nostalgia played a huge part in my selection process. I wanted to re-create that feeling, when I first started playing and few if any of the recent releases could accomplish that for me.
So if I’m still playing the same old, same old, what about my gaming habits has really changed? Well for starters, I have much less free time on my hands to actually sit down and play. Worse, when a rare opportunity presents itself, I can’t help but question if there’s a better use of my time. Video-games, it would seem, have transformed from a simple pleasure to a guilty one.
I no longer get the same satisfaction that came with beating a boss or leveling up a character. I began to wonder if this is the beginning of the end. Maybe I’m just outgrowing video-games. Sometimes I wonder if the characters in those same games had better development than me.
Yet, a gamer I still remain, at least for now, though the compulsion to pick up a controller is waning. I often wonder how beneficial it is to still be playing games at this age. I’m 25 and still have a canvas of Sephiroth on my wall! There has to be something wrong there, right?