Finding time to engage with games with the same habitual servitude you nurtured as a bored, obnoxiously lazy teenager is somewhat mitigated by other discernible less interesting necessities as you get older. Such as work, social engagements or, you know, your children! The pursuit for a sustained period of quality gaming becomes not just a challenge but can for many prove to be inextricably harried by the retinue of interferences that come with being a responsible adult. Managing your finances, paying bills or working overtime certainly isn’t the engaging, fun adult alternative to your “TV game thing”, but a priority we endure to benefit our lives and family. As prevalent as you’d like it to be, at times computer games can sometimes feel like an extraneous waste of valuable resources as well as time.
I’ve previously alluded to the importance of gaming in my life on several, elongated occasions, highlighting the comfort I receive from engaging with them even for brief sporadic periods. But there was a time in my life when I thought I had outgrown this wearisome extremity of juvenility. That employment was somehow an end to such childish associations. “Silly rabbit, games are for kids.”
I was in my late teens, working a 9-5 job Monday to Friday, squandering every penny regularly with evenings down my local pub with friends drinking, playing pool and courting fair young maidens. By which I mean bombarding them with innate chat, vomiting flattery all of them with all the charm of a dozing blob fish, and in some cases just vomiting. The majority of our time was dedicated to having a good time and hopefully in the process attracting female company. Now someone of my introverted disposition found the latter very difficult to achieve without the stimulating assistance of the former, which as you can imagine has variable degrees of failure. Now my intentions were always noble. There was no salacious intent of my part to merely engage in sexual pursuits with women I barely knew to flaunt some arcane perception of masculinity. That my virility was somehow indicative of the number of women I’ve slept with. I was genuinely trying to find a partner that I could eventually settle down with. And I was vindicated in this pursuit when I met my current partner some 11 years ago now. But because so much of my time as well as finances were occupied by socializing, gaming became superfluous.
When I did find reasonable time to absorb myself back into games, I found that I just couldn’t engage with them with the same enthusiasm I used too. Rpg’s that I would have devoted entire weekends too, that ostensibly necessitated a prolonged engagement didn’t generate the same persuasive captivation that had once consumed my life. I figured this was just one of those things that happens, a necessary step in maturity that afflicts us all. And for a good year or so I didn’t really play anything. That is until I purchased a PS3.
I had accumulated a reasonable sum of money working overtime and spending less time, and by extension money on going out, favouring nights in watching movies with my girlfriend. Educating her on the glaring movie omissions in her life such as “Back To The Future” , “Jaws” and “Raiders Of The Lost Ark.” So I took the plunge into the rapids of the PS3 merely out of curiosity, which happened to be conveniently boxed with GTA IV, a series staple back when I was a kid.
It’s fair to say that I wasn’t entirely blown away by it. The sardonic humour was absent, replaced instead by an obnoxious cousin with all the charisma of an attention seeking mollusc. The satirical depiction of modern culture felt bereft of any significant charm. Liberty City itself was a bland, colourless vicinity that utilised 50 shades of Grey before it became synonymous with a more salacious connotations. And the overall vibe of the game just felt sterile and really rather cold. If it hadn’t been for the fact that I had spent so much on the PS3 I probably would have given up on games once again. Thankfully the saving grace of “Ratchet & Clank: Tools Of Destruction” saved me from premature resignation.
Though not my favourite in the series, it did provoke enough familiarity with the series I’d known to remind me why I used to love playing games so much; for the fun. That was it, the catalyst, the end of my abstinence. I was hooked again! It wasn’t long until my collection of PS3 games expanded. Whether it was sequels to firmly established franchises like “Devil May Cry” or “Resident Evil.” Unfamiliar games like “Uncharted”, “Elder Scrolls: Oblivion” or “Red Dead Redemption.” Everything felt fresh, exciting and fun. It was comparable to meeting up with a friend you haven’t seen since school and immediately bonding as if you hadn’t since them since Science class that morning.
Now my relationship with games is far more amicable. I’m neither absent nor consumed with sating a 10 hour marathon run on Skyrim. The Nintendo Switch certainly enables me to continue gaming in a far more efficient manner and the PS4 is as always the favoured nocturnal activity. As a result of both age and circumstances I’m still a gamer, able to talk (write) for hours about even the most trivial of gaming culture, but still productive enough outside of that culture to work exceedingly long hours and spend precious free time with my daughter and girlfriend.
Perhaps I have matured……a little.