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Andrew Kauz avatar 1:21 PM on 08.03.2009
Mother Nature and the Impending Death of the Gaming Spirit


Though we’ve all taken wildly varying paths, each one of us has somehow arrived here to become a part of the Destructoid community. For the vast majority of us, it was a love of gaming, people, and writing that caused us to latch onto this particular site. Some of us are relative newcomers, and some of us have been here for years upon years. Some of us are struggling through high school, and some of us have been in the workforce for a decade or more. Despite all of our different backgrounds, we’ve all arrived at this place.

But what if it were all different? What if, somewhere along the way, we took that other fork in the road, or were simply placed on a different path altogether? How might our lives have been different? Would we, today, be here at all, or would Destructoid be nothing more than a nonsensical word used by “gamers:” some alien subculture.

This is the tale of how everything could have been different.

As a select few of you might already know, I spent the last week on holiday from my job, visiting family in Park City, Utah. As the home of the Sundance Film Festival, the Utah Olympic Park, and more amazing ski resorts than you can count, it’s certainly a kick ass place to spend a vacation, even in the summer. It’s the sort of place where, if you’re spending your time inside, yer doin’ it wrong.

Thus, I spent about a total of 8 hours from my four-day vacation indoors. The rest of the time, I soaked up every minute of outdoor beauty that I possibly could, as Albuquerque, New Mexico isn’t exactly an outdoor paradise. So, I relaxed on one of my aunt and uncle’s three decks, looking at this amazing view. I hiked thrice, enjoying the incredible sights on the many trails that are no more than an hour’s drive from Park City itself. In essence, I spent every moment away from those things I generally enjoy: a couch, and big-ass TV, and a controller in my hands.



In fact, near the end of my vacation, I realized that I hadn’t really thought about videogames once during my time in Park City. Sure, I was on vacation, so perhaps that wasn’t so surprising. Yet my PSP remained in the off position in my man purse…erm…messenger bag, and I had a staggering realization: I didn’t even want to play it. Even given a free hour with nothing to do at all, I had no desire to play a videogame. Looking toward the future, when I arrived home, would I want to pick up a controller? Something in my mind told me that the answer was no.

On the plane ride home, with my iPod as my only entertainment and my PSP resting in the overhead compartment, I wondered what this vacation had done to me. Who was I? Had those four days of sunshine, mountain lakes, and kick-ass decks somehow changed me forever into a nature-loving, electronics-hating shell of what I used to be?

Indeed, for the first few days that I was home, I attempted some Battlefield 1943 only to last for just a round or two before turning it off. I gave BlazBlue a shot, finding myself only mildly interested. I started up some R-Type thanks to Magnalon, but after dying about 1000 times, dood, I put down the controller. I just didn’t want to play. I honestly thought that my love of gaming was dead.

Of course, I’m still posting here, and this isn’t my “Farewell Destructoid” post. With some time, four people, and a hell of a lot of Wii Sports Resort, I quickly settled back into my old habits of gaming. I finished off the story mode of BlazBlue, kicked a bit of ass in Battlefield 1943, and still died about 1000 times in R-Type. But I was having fun. Quickly, the memories of sitting on those kick-ass decks and hiking to mountain lakes began to feel like someone else’s life, as if I hadn’t actually been the person living those experiences.


Sad Panda

Though my love of gaming quickly returned, my short vacation left me with a lot of “what if?” questions. Clearly, a person’s location in the world can directly influence his or her likelihood of picking up gaming as a hobby. If I had grown up in Park City rather than Albuquerque, might I have never even purchased a single game console? How much might have been different?

Without making myself sound like some sort of amateur indie film director, it’s interesting to consider the paths that led us all here, and how the smallest differences might have led us to different places. For me, gaming has nearly been a lifelong hobby, though the occasional extended hiatus has certainly occurred. I started young. But what if I hadn’t? What if, instead, I simply hiked, wakeboarded, and snowboarded all the time while growing up?

Yeah, I realize that those are a lot of “what if” questions that will never have answers. But here’s my question to you: have you ever considered the path that led you to gaming, or to Destructoid? Have you considered what could have taken you off of that path? And what forces today might have the power to change everything for you? For me, Mother Nature had her shot, but the score remains Kauza – 1, Mother Nature – 0.


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