Grown Up Gamer

This post was originally posted on WeThePeople, a gamers community blog by Simplay.

So, it turns out I’m a grown up gamer.

The ‘grown up’ bit sure did come as a surprise, but looking back I now realize that maintaining the self-proclaimed title of ‘gamer’ for so long was anything but trivial.

Early Start

When I was a kid, everyone around me were gamers. Every 4th graders today rushes to buy the next Call of Duty or FIFA game (in my days it was Red Alert and Street Fighter) the on launch day, and everyone at school share gaming experiences. As I got older though, fewer and fewer of my friends kept playing, and by the time I got to high-school I personally knew only a handful of gamers.

Then came the wide-spread adoption of the internet, multiplayer and, later, MMOs. Yes, I met new people from around the world — made friends in the UK, Denmark and all around the country (my drug of choice was World of Warcraft). I shared immense experiences of personal and collective triumph, overcoming adversity in the most epic battles and quests.

Looking back, however, I wish I could have shared Azeroth lore with my family, share my achievements and accomplishments. I wish I could have shared gaming experiences with my real-life friends, help them embark on quests of their own, encourage them to persist after failure, and rejoice with them for conquering the seemingly insurmountable.

As gamers grown older they are usually pressured by their surroundings to spend less time gaming. Too few advocate for the importance of gaming in our lives, and in general spending time as an adult on video games considered a tabooed hobby. Yes, too much of anything is usually bad, but time spent by most adult gamers on video games is still far from the realm of addiction.

… Comes Great Responsibilities

To put it simply, maintaining the title of ‘gamer’ becomes harder as you grow older. First, free and available time for your hobbies in general, let alone gaming, diminishes as take on new “grown up” responsibilities. Free time becomes severely scarce as it’s shared with your spouse (for all the good reasons, of course), and when your first child is born — good luck squeezing in some game time dude.

Little moments of hapiness

Second, as you grow older your financial priorities shift. When you’re in charge of providing for your new-born and building a nest for your newly formed family, it becomes difficult spending hundreds of dollars on daddy’s hobby.

When my wife and I were considering expanding our little family and began saving for our own house, we made sure every dollar spent was justified. Soon after, spending a $1,000 on a new gaming PC simply felt irresponsible. Eventually, my old gaming machine became so obsolete it only ran newer games on the lowest graphic settings, and it made o sense keeping it around. Taking it out of the house, along with my gaming temple (table, monitor, speakers and my epic chair) did clear our some much needed space, but it was a difficult ritual nonetheless.

Grown Up Gamer

So, what does ‘gown up gamer’ truly mean? Some may declare it an oxymoron, claiming it can’t be maintained. Others may posit their habits are unaffected by the changes in their lives, but do they spend enough time with their significant others? For me, it’s a combination of compromise and tenacity. Understand compromises must be made to maintain a balanced life style, but fight tenaciously to keep spending time on what moves and excites you. And hey, once my kid is old enough to play video games, we’re gonna have epic father-son time.

We at Simplay believe games are an inspirational and delightful form of entertainment. Games offer full, immerse worlds, filled with journeys, adventures and troubles to solve. A good game intrigues you, encourages you to learn more on its world’s state of affairs, tread the path of its world’s history — and find out how things got to where they are. A good game moves you, as you establish a connection to its characters and stories — loss is meaningful, and victories are to be celebrated.

Celebrate your victories. As long as you love gaming, never give it up.

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