How I’ve Fallen Out of Love With Games
The following post was written in France.
Two and a half years ago I was on track to be a games journalist. It’s what I wanted from life. Then something changed.
Despite my flurry with PC Zone, the now extinct UK PC gaming magazine, I had to find a mid-recession job that matched my strengths. PR, marketing, publishing, editorial; hell, even sales at one point, were all on the radar. Luckily Bamboo PR panned out, but I now sit pondering what might have been.
Sometimes it’s hard to pinpoint the moment I stopped caring about games. In January 2011 after a particularly heavy Christmas Steam sale, I decided to stop buying games for a month.
Surprisingly, or maybe not so, I coped fine. Spurred on I decided to see how far I could go – big releases like Mass Effect 2 and Red Dead rightfully caught my attention, but around six months ago something completely changed.
Suddenly, it wasn’t just buying new games; I didn’t even want to play those I already had. I kept myself amused over winter with Minecraft; a passive non-gaming activity that allowed me to watch films simultaneously.
In January 2012 that stopped, and the desire to play anything was even less. I’ve gone through the motions with Football Manager 2012 (another non-gaming experience) and the odd bit of freelance here and there, but there’s nothing remotely pulling me to play.
My Xbox hasn’t been on (bar the recent review of Birds of Steel) for 6 months. My Steam account’s played FM2012, 2 hours of CS:GO’s beta and a night of GRiD with Craig Lager et all. Oh, and a multiplayer session of L4D2 with some ex-PC Zone boys.
I’m trying to decide whether I’ve grown up (a stupid thing to say considering the age-accessibility of games), had a monumental shift in taste, or just come to a natural conclusion after 16 years of playing video games.
The longer I go without the medium, the more I learn to live without it. Oddly, the biggest yearn I’ve had is reading. You had to force me to read my University syllabus, but now I have the urge to re-read, taking my time.
I’ve mentioned my sudden thirst for knowledge, especially in the cinematic area, already. Maybe I’ve just come to the realisation that while gaming is arguably the greatest entertainment medium on the planet, it’s also one of the most useless.
Productivity is a funny thing – I don’t regret the thousands of hours I’ve put into gaming, but the same amount of time broadening my literature, film and photography skills is likely to leave a longer legacy than a strong k/d ratio.
I’m not suddenly lamenting those that continue to enjoy virtual pleasures, nor suggesting
there’s anything worthless with gaming itself, but I’m just struggling to see how it can help better myself, improve my cultural knowledge and help others who meet me along my hopefully long journey.
[Self Edit - Parts of] gaming, much like modern cinema, are broken. They are and will be for a long while. You don’t have to have degree to know that. Or maybe I’m broken. Who knows.
EDIT: As C.Y. rightfully points out – when I say gaming’s a pointless medium, I’m unsure at this current point in the industry, and my own life, as to whether that’s a personal statement, or a broad one I believe in.
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