The Philosophy, Art, and Social Influence of games
User avatar
CFFJR
Next-Gen
 
Posts: 4372
Joined: Sun Feb 21, 2010 7:51 am
Location: Denver, CO

Re: Gaming as a life-long hobby - Thoughts from the 25+ crow

by CFFJR Thu Mar 15, 2012 9:35 am

I meant to reply to this days ago. I'm 25 by the way, if anyone's curious.

Put simply, I'm proud and unashamed of my collection and my hobby. When people ask about it, I talk about it freely, and I quite enjoy showing them my stuff if they ask to see it. Sometimes I get negative reactions to that, usually positive, but whatever the result I never hide it. That doesn't mean I go babbling about it mind you, but that's more because I have the conversational courtesy not to talk someone's ear off about my interests when they're not really into it (I hate it when people do that to me, its really difficult to say anything worthwhile in a talk like that).

I am however, occasionally put into somewhat awkward situations, but its not what you might think.

Its become very common now for people to play games of some kind. As we all know though, your typical gamer now plays fitness games with motion controls, sports titles, or first person shooters. When these people ask me if I play games and what I like, and I rattle off a bunch of games, they usually stare at me blankly, and somewhat embarrassed, admit they've never heard of them. Soon: "Do you play Call of Duty?" "Nah, its not for me". "Oh...".

This doesn't bother me (other than being disappointed by it, simply because I like talking shop when I meet up with other gamers) but it shows really well that what used to be a universal common ground no longer is. As an example:

Recently I had someone by the house to give us a quote on some work. He noticed my consoles under the tv (all of my modern systems are in the living room for easy access, everything else is in my game room in the basement) and started talking to me about games. We chatted a bit, and he asked what my favorite company was, and I told him Sega. It wasn't the answer he was looking for, so he shifted gears and asked my favorite system, and after we danced about the details of that question for a bit, I said that my favorite system of all is the Genesis (blank stare) but that among the modern stuff, I preferred the 360.

After that, he loosened up a bit and talked about how he likes to play Modern Warfare to relax after work, but he's amazed by his son, who has apparently learned quite a bit about different guns and ammunition types by playing that game.

Now, there was nothing at all wrong with this conversation, I enjoyed having it (very interesting that his son seems to be developing a passion for weapons) and I think he did too. The point though is that we approached the same subject from a completely different angle, and as a result weren't able to really relate to each other like he might have expected when he first brought it up. I get this a lot with people.

On a practical note, there certainly is less time for me now. As was mentioned, the prospect of starting an rpg is intimidating to me now in a way it never used to be. The time issue has become such a consideration that even when I'm free and have nothing to do, I sometimes won't play a game out of fear I might be interrupted. Having said that though, I always make time for games when I really want to, and there won't ever come a day when I say "I can't have fun, there's just no time". I can't play the way I did as a teenager, but I do still play as much as is reasonable.

I don't see myself ever giving up the hobby. Games are still my primary means of entertainment (I'm a collector and a player) and I've been quite successful in getting my wife into games as well. If you give her Harvest Moon for example, which is already an addicting series, like a true gamer she'll fall into a trance and play for hours, then suddenly perk up later and say "Holy shit, where did the time go? I have to get to bed!" On top of that, I really look forward to being able to share my games with my future kids.
GameSack wrote:That's right, only Sega had the skill to make a proper Nintendo game.
User avatar
ksloth
32-bit
 
Posts: 269
Joined: Fri Mar 09, 2012 3:40 pm
Location: Oregon, USA

Re: Gaming as a life-long hobby - Thoughts from the 25+ crow

by ksloth Thu Mar 15, 2012 3:24 pm

My wife last night said that she wanted me to pick out a cool pixel art character and let her know what the pixels colors are and how many, and she is going to crochet the squares and make a blanket. She mentioned that it would be appropriate because we are a 'gamer family'.

That just made me feel so good. Sometimes I feel like the only gamer, since she doesn't really game all *that* much, with all her other interests, but then she will surprise me with a comment like that, that just makes my day.

Also, we are salting away 25$ per paycheck so I can get a Vita for my Fathers Day gift, which is just friggen sweet.

Having a spouse who loves your gaming and knows how much it is a part of you is just one of life's real blessings.
User avatar
Key-Glyph
Next-Gen
 
Posts: 1673
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2011 12:38 am

Re: Gaming as a life-long hobby - Thoughts from the 25+ crow

by Key-Glyph Thu Mar 15, 2012 9:12 pm

ksloth wrote:My wife last night said that she wanted me to pick out a cool pixel art character and let her know what the pixels colors are and how many, and she is going to crochet the squares and make a blanket. She mentioned that it would be appropriate because we are a 'gamer family'.
That is so sweet. I like hearing you talk about your family. :)

Also: LUCKY! Crochet blankets and quilts of sprites are so awesome, and I could never even think of mustering the patience to make one. Alas. You must post pictures of it when your wife is done.

But this brings up something else I absolutely love about gaming that has become more common and pronounced as we've all gotten older: how it's branched out beyond itself and begun fueling other creative interests. It's the stuff of inspiration now. I can spend hours exploring other people's gaming-inspired artwork, and from the mundane to the intense, I adore all that exists. Although I already said I can't do blankets, one of my own favorite pursuits is cross stitching sprites and make them into bookmarks, ornaments, magnets, and pins. My husband was a dear and recently modeled one of my creations:

Image

Why is translating gaming into crafts so satisfying?!

And when I say "gaming-inspired artwork," I'm including music. When I discovered OCRemix in the early 2000s it was so awesome I nearly died, and it's still going strong. Real musicians! Covering, re-inventing, and expanding upon video game music! I couldn't get enough. I am going to be at their PAX East panel this year with bells on.

Boy, was this post all over the place. /ramble
Image
BogusMeatFactory wrote:If I could powder my copies of shenmue and snort them I would
User avatar
Original_Name
Next-Gen
 
Posts: 1157
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 10:02 pm
Location: Nashville, TN

Re: Gaming as a life-long hobby - Thoughts from the 25+ crow

by Original_Name Sat Mar 17, 2012 9:29 am

[sheepish grin] Erm, hey guys!

The OP might be a little annoyed at another 25-minus kid flapping his gums since he specifically asked for the thoughts of folks with a couple more rings 'round the trunk, but I've spent a good while stepping back from the culture of the hobby in order to try and put everything in perspective, so maybe I'll have some relevant things to say.

Obviously, I'm very passionate about video games. I think that their expressive potential is on par with, if not more potent than, any other medium you could care to name -- they're also a touchstone of the convergence of media through technology, and I have no doubt that historians will one day look back upon our Ataris, Nintendos, PlayStations, and Xboxes (and Segas if fanatics like myself keep waving that banner around and screaming loud enough) as some of the main progenitors of the contemporary media model. On top of that, their idiosyncratic culture and history is a source of endless amusement and intrigue to me. But, as was alluded to earlier in this thread, time and relationships called for my attention, and I needed to reconsider what games meant not as a concept, but as a factor in my actual life.

I'd been dating, seriously, the prettiest girl ever. She was raised by very demanding, hard-working parents who were extremely concerned with appearances and material symbols of success (not trying to seem contemptuous -- this was simply the fact of the matter). On top of being raised in this environment, she was a psychology major, so there was that constant knowledge that everything about me was being painstakingly analyzed and organized into some pathological file or another. So it made me ask myself, "Is encyclopedic knowledge of plug-'n'-play funboxes really something you want to define yourself by? Does this have anything to do with what you define as success for yourself? Shouldn't you be spending more time doing something that might actually get you somewhere?" Perhaps I wouldn't have questioned myself so strongly in these regards had she not been, as previously mentioned, seriously, the prettiest girl ever.

It didn't work out with her for unbelievably silly reasons, but I think that seeing the hobby from a different (if stuffy) perspective for awhile was a good thing for me. I had been buying certain games sometimes not for their actual appeal to me personally, but for their place in history or for how well they "rounded out my collection", and that wasn't conducive to accomplishing any-goddamned-thing in my life. Exploring other people's creations is a beautiful thing which can enrich your experience in life -- but worshipping at their thrones without piecing together a few creations of your own is simply a waste of precious time.

So, I played through Panzer Dragoon Orta at the beginning of the year, and I've made a great deal of progress on Skies of Arcadia. I picked up a copy of Illbleed for later, since Blue Stinger is a camp-favorite of mine -- and because I actually plan on playing it. But I've also spent some time broadening my horizons in cinema (I hadn't watched Fight Club) and literature (I hadn't read Naked Lunch). More importantly, I've been making new friends, seeing new places, working out, learning to cook, expanding my mind (still straight-edge :P ), learning a bit of new language, and WRITING MY OWN SHIT, HALLELUJAH.

The gaming medium, to me, is simply media. Gaming culture is simply culture. Gaming history is simply history. I can sit down in the afternoon and play a game, but now I do it in the full knowledge that I could just as well be doing anything else. I still invest some time in video games, and I'll always enjoy them, and the very mention of those greatest two syllables in the entirety of language (say it with me: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6MMhxOSR7J8 ) still make me want to rip my clothes off and dance for joy... so in those regards gaming will remain a life-long presence -- but I've relinquished myself from feeling like I have anything to prove with games.

I don't feel an obligation to play all of those damn Nintendo games I never liked that much in the first place just to give myself a more fully-encompassing view of gaming culture anymore. "You're not a real gamer if you haven't played ________" is perfectly meaningless to me now, and that's liberating.

I hope that games find an easy avenue into my life in the future, though. I'll get busier and responsibilities will mount, but it'll be nice if I can get... oh, I don't know... a cute, geeky Japanese girl who'll help me make my way through the Saturn version of Grandia or something in my off-time. But even if I wind up with a job that doesn't give me room to breathe paired with a Nicaraguan girl (why not?) who doesn't "get" video games and eats into my game-time by needing to be taken out dancing a couple times a week, I'd be perfectly okay with letting games take a back seat in my life.

For now, though, it's great getting back in touch with you guys -- and this weekend isn't looking too hectic, so I think I'll be spending some time with the Blue Rogues after I finish a couple chapters of "From Hell". :D
User avatar
J T
Next-Gen
 
Posts: 12420
Joined: Wed Mar 25, 2009 6:21 pm
Location: Seattle

Re: Gaming as a life-long hobby - Thoughts from the 25+ crow

by J T Sat Mar 17, 2012 1:10 pm

Nice to hear your thought Original_Name. :)

Hey, next time you date a Psychology major, you have to consult with me. I speak that language fluidly, so if you need help defending your hobby from a psychological standpoint, I'm your guy. ;)

I wanted to respond to this part of what you wrote though:

Original_Name wrote: So it made me ask myself, "Is encyclopedic knowledge of plug-'n'-play funboxes really something you want to define yourself by? Does this have anything to do with what you define as success for yourself? Shouldn't you be spending more time doing something that might actually get you somewhere?" Perhaps I wouldn't have questioned myself so strongly in these regards had she not been, as previously mentioned, seriously, the prettiest girl ever.


"Videogames are not productive". This is something I'm always butting heads with people about. There is this popular notion that people that aren't doing something to further their career are simply "wasting time". That they are "slackers". The same arguments get applied to television, movies, and other forms of entertainment, but videogamers seem to hear this complaint the most. But what is the whole point of furthering your career if not to make your life more enjoyable and/or improve the lives of others? People say they work to get money, they want money to survive and buy the things they want, but then they chastise themselves and others for actually enjoying the things they want because they "should be working". That's lunacy*. That's madness*. Yes, we need to make enough money to pay the bills, yes it's self-limiting to devote all your time to one hobby, and no I don't think a person should live an entirely self-centered hedonistic lifestyle. However, we need to budget in "me time". Otherwise, why do any of this? If you don't take time to enjoy your life, then it never really feels like your life and it's never really enjoyable. If videogames are what you enjoy most, then there should be some time made for them. Not because they will help you get somewhere or be a better person. There is no requirement that doing what you enjoy for leisure need to also be a means to some other end. Gaming can be an end in itself, and so none of that stuff about games being unproductive matters as long as your life is balanced. Saying that gaming is not productive is a nonargument. We do what we enjoy, to enjoy it. Simple as that. I could just as well make an argument that most human communication is nonproductive, or that most products sold are unnecessary, but what's the point? We do these things to do them, not to get somewhere new. If the purpose of work is to make money to make our lives more enjoyable, then we can't mess up the times we are enjoying ourselves by making self-reprimands about how we should be working.



*not a psychological term. :P

P.S. That rant isn't really directed at you, I'm just tired of people acting like doing something fun is a waste of time. I think it's an excellent use of time. I think work for little-to-no pay is a waste of time.
My contributions to the Racketboy site:
Browser Games ... Free PC Games ... Mixtapes ... Doujin Games ... SotC Poetry
User avatar
MrNash
32-bit
 
Posts: 262
Joined: Mon Feb 13, 2012 1:34 pm

Re: Gaming as a life-long hobby - Thoughts from the 25+ crow

by MrNash Sat Mar 17, 2012 1:46 pm

I have no problems playing games as someone in his mid-30s. Times have changed since when I was a kid, and video games aren't looked at as a kid's pass time any more. It's just one more way to pass the time besides TV, movies, music, etc. If anything I prefer games over something like broadcast television, which I've long since written off as crap.

If I was playing games all day every day, sure, that wouldn't be good, but it's not healthy to do most anything like that. Playing them during my down time after work, though? Sure, why not.

I think the stigma once associated with games has largely disappeared now, and so long as you don't spend every waking hour at them people aren't going to have an issue with your hobby.
User avatar
Original_Name
Next-Gen
 
Posts: 1157
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 10:02 pm
Location: Nashville, TN

Re: Gaming as a life-long hobby - Thoughts from the 25+ crow

by Original_Name Sat Mar 17, 2012 11:03 pm

Yeah, I get what you're saying, Mr. Toad. Personally though, I think that we as a society have placed too much value on entertainment when it's as simple to obtain as the click of a button. It's not that there's anything wrong with exploring other worlds that others have built for you through the beautiful trickery of words and sounds and pictures, but it doesn't take much to get to a point where you're more interested in synthetic worlds than the actual world itself. I guess what I'm saying is that I'm anti-escapism...

As I said in my hiatus-post, I can be directin' my energies anywhere -- I can fascinate myself with anything. Games can be an end in themselves, but should they be? There's so much idleness in our modern world, and I personally don't care for it. Video games don't have to be a contributor to this, but more often than not, they are. So I've been making it a point to direct alot of that time I was spending drowning in games into doing research for a comic book I'm writing, learning Japanese, and trying to get a band together, for instance. Not because video games aren't satisfying, but because there are SO MANY things I would much rather be remembered for than a fixation with games.

I'm certain that that balance is much easier to strike for alot of you than it has been for me -- and I probably wasn't doin' so bad as I've made myself out to be, but I really think that the perspective-shift is going to do wonders for me. Now when I play games I have an A- average in my classes, a few new muscles popping out in my chest and arms, a list of カタカナwritten in a notebook to my side, a folder full of writing experiments on my desktop, and a few more people trying to call me up. That doesn't mean I'll hop off of my Solo Wing just yet, but taking a step back definitely adds more depth and dimension to the sum-total of my life.

Conversely, if I didn't play games at all, that would be a detractor in depth as well. It's all about building the life you want to live and balancing out the blocks that hold it up. LIEK TETRAS!! :P
User avatar
wip3outguy7
Next-Gen
 
Posts: 2805
Joined: Tue Jan 13, 2009 12:03 am
Location: Austin

Re: Gaming as a life-long hobby - Thoughts from the 25+ crow

by wip3outguy7 Sun Mar 18, 2012 12:34 am

Great thread. I got about 3 pages in and I wanted to stick a quick post in here before I spend another hour reading through the rest of the insightful comments.

I'm 33 and I would say that my wife and I are having the "are you going to grow out of gaming" conversation regularly now. It may seem like an odd thing for her to ask me, given my history with this hobby.

I have grown to view aging gamers as I view car guys. Most 50+ car guys I know are far too busy with planning retirement, growing families and other issues that come with age to enjoy their automotive endeavors much. But they still have the cherry in the garage. I have a feeling I will be no different. Long after my reflexes go and when my eyes can't focus quickly enough to dodge bullets in a shmup, I will still have this shit around. It's just what I do. It's a part of my life.

It is difficult to explain this to my wife. She is of that camp who believes you just grow out of video games. I imagine it will make for some interesting discussions and arguments in the coming years.


In response to the stigmas surrounding gaming... Well, they are going away and they aren't going away. Video games in general are definitely more widely discussed and accepted. I firmly believe that the majority of the "gamers" today (I'm really growing to hate that title) aren't really what we would have considered "gamers" maybe 10 years ago. Publishers found what appeals to the masses and now all of the jocks and dudebros who never played video games before... are. Even then they stick with a few obvious choices and will probably never branch out from there.

In my experience, the negative stigmas that surround the generations and genres of games that I enjoy are still very solidly in place. You can talk Call of Duty all day with about 90% of my cube mates. As soon as you bring up something along the lines of Mega Man or an old JRPG, you're right back in the early 90s watching your conversation partner's face desolve into that of someone who has just witness a car wreck. Nothing has really changed there. I may run across the occasional "retro" geek, but their knowledge is a shallow pool of Mario and Zelda.

This has led to a guarded routine of not discussing gaming related subject matter with anyone other than the good folks on this forum (and a few others), or with close friends who share my passion and hobby. Coworkers know I'm the odd retro gaming guy in the office and that's about it. It's enough to grant me boxes of attic finds every now and again, but still keep me out of the corner.

Anyway, wow... that started off insightful and ended cynical. Sorry.
User avatar
J T
Next-Gen
 
Posts: 12420
Joined: Wed Mar 25, 2009 6:21 pm
Location: Seattle

Re: Gaming as a life-long hobby - Thoughts from the 25+ crow

by J T Tue Mar 20, 2012 12:22 pm

I realized recently that I've been playing games longer than some of those games' developers have even been alive. Weird.
My contributions to the Racketboy site:
Browser Games ... Free PC Games ... Mixtapes ... Doujin Games ... SotC Poetry
User avatar
Key-Glyph
Next-Gen
 
Posts: 1673
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2011 12:38 am

Re: Gaming as a life-long hobby - Thoughts from the 25+ crow

by Key-Glyph Tue Mar 20, 2012 10:08 pm

This thread has had me thinking about this old Game Boy Pocket commercial. Just thought I'd share.
Image
BogusMeatFactory wrote:If I could powder my copies of shenmue and snort them I would
Return to Games As Culture

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest