Like any other passion in life, it is a bizarre amalgamation of the best of times and the worst of times. Sounds quite trivial when involving something meant to be fun such as video games right? Earlier this year, I went through the longest drought of my life without once positioning my thumbs onto buttons in that oh so reflexive way due to some serious psychological shit temporarily consuming me but eventually internally reevaluated how important those lovable moving bytes of information were to me and reconnected with them in a way you would a longtime family pet returning home after being lost for a time.
It hearkens back to the old mafia joke. "Everytime you try to get out, they pull you back in." I have accepted that for better or for worse, they will be a part of my life forever in some form or fashion. Video games and I are practically married. As fucked up and past the point of corny as it sounds, Mario, Sonic, Claptrap, Cloud, & Pitfall Harry have been there for me as a form of entertainment long before and long after the Angelas, Robyns and Melissas of the world. That aspect can be joyous nostalgia or melancholy memoriam where gaming is concerned as I can remember the first time playing Yar's Revenge with my best friend who tragically passed away in 2006 back in '84 just as vividly as I can remember Borderlands 2 being played in the final day of a failed relationship that will haunt me eternally.
Gaming is what you make of it, just like anything in life. Choose to revel in the positive and try your hardest to never dwell on the negative. From the avid to the casual, a gamer will always find their own path in their quest for fulfillment through our wacky little medium. I like to travel throughout as many genres as I can chew on but can certainly understand why some prefer one type over the other.
Gaming can also be about opinion. There will be the elitists in every gaggle of geese who think their favorite should be the only game that exists, but pick a hobby, any hobby, and those people exist therein as well. I have my own opinions when it comes to things and I share mine in the form of reviews and social media but pride myself on how I will welcome different opinions and reading others reviews is still a refreshing and eye-opening experience for me.
Being a gamer can mean making new acquaintances via something as small as wearing a like-minded shirt inside of a mall while grabbing a bite somehow resulting in an hour long conversation and a new life-long pal to raise pixelated hell with. Being a gamer means having a fantastic time no matter the game being in a cart or disc, how many bits it has, or any of that jazz as I have had as much fun hunting for the elusive Pink Tail in Final Fantasy IV as I had getting 1000/1000 on Alan Wake. Why else would a 14 year old me play 250 rounds of Mortal Kombat with my buddies just to play a game of Pong? Simple. I loved Pong and hadn't played it in years. The most advanced fighter on home consoles at the time and we were collectively frothing to play with some beeps, bloops, and blips.
What does being a gamer mean to me? Tons of things.
Great memories. Sad memories. Life. Love. Loss. Laughter. Friendship. Enjoyment. Passion. Anger. Depression. Rebirth. Children. Mental exercises. Mental exhaustion. Writing. Talking. All of these but most importantly...
It means having a great time everytime you pick up a controller. Whether it is an escape, a time filler, a way to get through the wait at the DMV or Dr.'s office, a public World Record attempt, or just to get some good old fashioned kicks, EVERYTIME, make sure to have a wonderful time while doing it.
That is what being a gamer means to me.