I purchased a Playstation 4 gaming console shortly after it was released, in late 2013. At the time, Barack Obama was still president, and I worked a newly appointed desk job that was mundane and repetitive but not without its joys. The console purchase had been like many of my other adult purchases: a desire to fulfill that which I didn’t have access to as a child. My family acquired gaming consoles as they went out of style and were replaced by newer models, and so my relationship with video games was always a generation behind that of my peers. With a “real” job and the means to spend money on unnecessary flourishes, I talked myself into getting in line with the current generation of gaming, once and for all.
The main function of the system was to provide a small respite from the monotony of working a nine-to-five job—at the time, something I felt like I was destined to do forever. It seems foolish in retrospect, but my comfort with my station in life told me I would need the brief and thrilling escape that entering a world of video games could provide, the way it did when I would spend boring summer days biking over to the house of whichever friend had the newest game or the newest console and leaving the world behind for a couple hours.
Gaming was a way for me to populate my mind with something other than the minutiae of living.
And this worked, largely. I would come home from my job, settle in for an hour with a book or take a walk to the park, and then immerse myself in video games for a little while. I was always a moderate gamer at best. I rarely wanted to play for more than two hours at a time, and it never pushed me to neglect other tasks. It was a way for me to populate my mind with something other than the minutiae of living. To exist in a space where my failure had no real consequences to anything or anyone real.