We start of sitting down on the floor with a wired controller in hand from sunrise to a sundown. Immersed in a dark room where the only light currently being emitted is coming from your TV. Our fingers are strong and we never get tired. Are eyes are fixated on one thing and one thing only. We finally make our way to our bed and get some sleep, just to wake up the next morning and do it all over again. We are all happy collecting experiences that will last our whole lives. And then we grow up.
We are bombarded with responsibilities, relationships, our respective jobs and careers, college, loans, debts, taxes, life insurance, car payments, house payments, phone bill, and daily expenses just to keep us alive and soldiering on. Now you don't have time, and most importantly, money to invest in your gaming habits. Why not? Why do we have to succumb to social norms that once we grow up, gaming can no longer be a part of our regimen when it has provided nothing but good to us. It taught us good ethical morals, good mindsets to incorporate in our daily life, and a release for the stress of everyday life. The media has tried and tested us gamers by reporting statistics and news reports showing how gaming influences, or is the main cause, of violent behavior. We have been shunned by many that think the same just because they've seen a news article or know a person who just won't quit an addiction to his console of choice. We get such a bad reputation for enjoying a specific medium of art that is not well received by the masses.
To them I say: "You are all a bunch of hypocrites".
Individuals that read books, play sports, watch movies, and communicate with their friends in their spare time are considered "normal" because they don't engage in the "mindless waste of time" that is video games. A story told in a book can be just as engaging and even more so in a game. I've been a tennis player all my life and on those rainy days when the courts are soaked, i turn to my Hot Shots Tennis game for comfort and, believe it or not, a way of studying different techniques to incorporate into my real world scenarios. A game itself is a movie and just as engaging. It may last longer, of course, but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy it just the same. Lastly, the gaming community has such a gargantuan level of communication between one another that saying we are anti-social is quite frankly, a slap to the face. If it wasn't for Kotaku, i would have never met some of my closest friends who i talk with every day whether it be a private chatroom we have or on the phone. Of course, we play games together on many occasions and have such a blast. I actually had the pleasure of meeting a very active member and a dear friend of mine not too long ago in Chicago and we went to a restaurant and just geeked out over our love for games as any regular businessman would talk with his colleagues about the current fluctuations in the stock market. So why are we so taboo in society? Why are we so shunned for our love of a specific art? Why won't anyone understand why we enjoy trekking along with a boy in a green tunic as he saves a girl he loves, all the while learning important life lessons, but people are okay with watching raunchy "comedic" movies that have no intellectual stimulation whatsoever?
But alas, we are grown men and women now. We must deal the card life handed us and soldier on because as gamers, we are taught never to quit and also to look forward to the next obstacle.
This is rather a difficult task with the aforementioned money and time restraints. Is there something we can do to save our love for gaming? I've devised a plan for gamers that have a PC or a PS3. My apologies to the Xbox 360 community. I do not own a 360 and wouldn't be well-versed in giving my opinion on services I am not familiar with.
For the PC gamer: Save as much money as you see fit into a pile called "Steam Summer Sale". This tactic is quite simple and very effective. Each year Steam holds a summer sale that puts extremely popular games on sale for a very low price. Since you have saved up a substantial amount of money, you can now buy whatever suits your interests and play them all the way until the next summer sale. While it is a long time between summer sales, this method allows you to complete the games you have purchased and make way for the new ones. It also teaches you to stay within your budget and not indulge on other products since you already have your hands full with your current playthroughs. Two or three hours a night before bed for 365 days will be more than enough time to finish all the games in your library and keep you anticipating the next bundle of games you will get with Steam next year.
For the PlayStation gamer: The introduction of PlayStation Plus has shined a new light on how gaming subscriptions should be handled. Everyone in this scenario wins. Sony wins with profit. You win with highly discounted games as well as free ones. The developer wins because a light was shined on their game to many customers given credence to the credibility of the developers worth. For the PlayStation gamer, new games are released for your collection every month. Allow yourself to play the free games every month and only limit yourself to ONE game that is discounted if you feel you really want to play that game. The downside with this subscriptions is the monthly payment and the lack of games you MIGHT actually want to play. The game selection is totally up to Sony but given the selection they have graced us in the past, we have never been let down by them. This method will provide a cheap alternative to discovering new game styles and might even give a good structure for someone who is an impulsive buyer by just limiting themselves to only one purchase every month.
These two models have their pros and their cons but it ultimately serves the same goal. To keep us as gamers enjoying what we love. I have learned to reject what many say. They might never understand why we have our emotional and deep attachment to our franchises and series but i know i will never understand the fascination that some people have over Justin Beiber...and that's okay. We are a legion and while we might argue and fight over who is superior, we will always have one thing in common: we love games.
We are gamers. We will never give up. Together we will always come together to find a way to better ourselves and spread our love for the piece of art that has shaped us into the men and women we are today.