Video Games are without a doubt my favourite hobby. If there’s a day that I don’t spend at least half an hour gaming, it’s a bad day. When I’m not actively playing games, I’m listening to podcasts about games. If I’m not listening to people talk about games then I’m reading about games. And if I’m not doing that? I’m likely watching video of people playing games.
In short, Video Games are my thing, and had they been as prominent in my life whilst I was making those all important life choices as a teenager, they’d certainly have factored into my decision-making. They didn’t and here I am..writing about how I wish they were.
Why I Play Games
There seems to be two common trains of thought when it comes to the age-old question of ‘Why Do You Play Video Games’. The idea that gamers enjoy it because it allows them to relax and chill out, to let off some steam after a heavy work day or retreat to a safe place if life gets you down. Or that games allow their players to experience new things, that they allow you to feel things they otherwise wouldn’t be able to feel in day-to-day life.
Ultimately I think I’m somewhere in the middle, perhaps skewing to the latter. If I’ve had a rough day at work, or my life is particularly stressful, I retreat from games. I’ll pick up a book, or watch a film to take me away from the troubles that are on my mind at that time.
For whatever reason, I find games to be prohibitive when stressed. I’m not focused on the task at hand, it can worsen my play which in turn will worsen my enjoyment of the game and as someone who wants to get the most out of video games I find that idea unpleasant. I don’t play games to relieve stress, I play them to open my eyes to new ideas. I play them to show me cool things, to wrap me up in their arms and weave me a good tale. Video Games are there to entertain me rather than comfort me.
Single or Multi
I’ve always considered myself a single player person. I enjoy narrative focused games over online competitive games. I play games to get lost in their world, to fall in love with characters and interesting new stories…for the most part.
I get anxious around new people, and the idea of playing online with a group of people I don’t already know scares the crap out of me. That’s changing a little though. Despite putting some serious time into The Witcher and many other narrative focused games in the last 18 months, the games that have dominated my free-time have been entirely focused on the online arena. Destiny, Rocket League and now Overwatch.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not joining up with random fireteams, putting on my headphones and talking on microphones just yet, but I have made the jump into online gaming. For the most part I mute the other players, but I’m no longer horrified of the idea of ruining someone else’s fun by not being great at Overwatch, or trying and failing to hit the perfect Ariel in Rocket League.
Single player games will always be my bread and butter, but Overwatch, Destiny and Rocket League have opened my eyes to a world of games that can be fun to play in a more competitive arena, and that maybe it’s okay if I’m not the best player on the team, as long as we’re having fun who really cares?
Desk v Couch
I love my gaming PC. I love the desk it’s sitting on (or will do when it’s finally drilled into the wall for support). I love my gaming mouse, I love my gaming surface. I love almost everything about playing games on PC, and thus it’s my favourite means of playing games.
Being a ‘PC Gamer’ is how I like to represent myself when I talk about games. I’m a PC gamer, I play console games but first and foremost, I’m a PC gamer. Immaturely, I like what that says about me.
I like that it means I’m open to plenty of different genres, that I’m not just looking for FPS or Sports games (because really, who plays Sports games on a PC?), that I want to play games with a little more precision than a controller allows. I like that it shows that I take my hobby and interest a little more seriously than the norm.
My one shame? I’m one of the few that abjectly hates tinkering with my PC .It’s not that I’m against it or anything, I just don’t find the experience all that enjoyable. The thought of fucking up a £200 CPU by applying too much thermal paste? No thanks. I try to leave that to the professionals. That being said, I did build my current PC and whilst it was a nerve-wracking experience, it was also very rewarding, not so much that I’m looking forward to doing it again mind. No, I’ll buy a pre-built system next time, even if it costs more.
Despite waxing lyrical about PC gaming as a whole, I’ve still got a lot of time for console gaming. My PS4 is where I go to play games that don’t require my full attention. Games that I play to waste some time; Overwatch and Rocket League for example. Without wanting to sound dismissive, I use my PS4 differently to how I use my PC.
It allows me and my partner to play games together, or at the very least share the experience of playing games, and that’s something that’s very important to me; the ability to share what I like with my friends and family.
I haven’t always been in love with video games, but as a 28-year-old man I think I’m fairly comfortable in saying that they’re going to be ‘my thing’ from here on out. Perhaps I won’t be playing on PC in 10 years, but whatever I’m playing on, and however we experience those games I’m sure I’ll be right there with you.
So there we have it. A quick tour of my relationship with games. If you’ve made it this far, well done.
Here’s a picture of a cat with brain freeze for your trouble.