November 29, 2015

Operation: Get Back Into Gaming (Report 1: Why I Love Gaming)

Okay, so ignoring the fact that this post is two days late, for which there's no excuse other than my incredible laziness, we shall skip introductions and get straight to the meaty conversation.

My journey with gaming started at the age of 3 with a cheap PlayStation knockoff console thingamajig which my mother got me for Christmas in 1998, the year we first moved into what would become our home for 13 years.

The console only contained NES games and SNES games if memory serves accurate. The first game I remember playing was Contra. There may be countless others before that, but it's the only game I can remember with any real clarity.

I got into PC gaming shortly thereafter with the first Age of Empires, a strategy game which I never finished and don't seem to be on my way to finishing any time soon. (This bad habit of never finishing strategy games persists; I've only ever finished two of the many strategy games I started.)

I never really got into shooter games until I turned 13, at which point I discovered Medal of Honor: Pacific Assault at a friend's house. I'd viewed shooter games as detrimental to one's mental health, until I saw that there was far more to the experience than just violently murdering people over and over.

Battlefield 1942 was next on the queue, supplied courtesy of my uncle. I'd been meaning to get the first Call of Duty, but as my attempts to explain it to him failed, he got me the first Battlefield. I knew it wasn't the same, but I didn't mind; the game was a ton of fun. I eventually got him to lend out Medal of Honor: Allied Assault as well, which can only be summed up in one word: Brutal.

My obsessive passion for shooter games continued into the Call of Duty series, with Modern Warfare 1 being my first real M-rated game. The second Modern Warfare was next, and then I got the Orange Box near the beginning of 2010.

Half-Life 2 was the first real game which went beyond mere fun and made a definite emotional connection with me. Since Half-Life 2, I've been playing games out of seeking a deep, heavily emotional connection with the world, characters and gameplay.

I mostly replayed Team Fortress 2 over and over again, whilst watching countless Let's Plays of mainstream video games. As I was unable to play these games due to religious intolerance, I resorted to watching them instead with the cheap excuse of "research" as an...excuse.

The disconnect from the gameplay made me seek an emotional connection with the game even more, concentrating my passion for gaming around the experience, and not a brutal, crushing challenge.

It's with this rather picky attitude with which I ended up distancing myself from gaming, due to my depression zapping the joy out of life in general and making me unable to do anything besides sit in front of the TV all day. (Or rather laptop, since that's the only TV I have.)

A year and a half later after leaving gaming behind, I can safely say that I'm on my way back, but some things still persist: I can't seem to switch off my perfectionism when it comes to games. Unless it deeply moves me, the chances that the game will end up getting played in it's entirety is slim.

This whole operation is based around dropping the severe pickiness and being able to find fun in the game, but also being able to identify which games will give me the emotional connection I seek, without being too picky if it doesn't happen immediately.

That's it for the first report. Tune in Friday for the second week's report, as I try to play more casual games as a way to base my gaming more around fun at first, before diving into more challenging games in the third week.

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