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Cyberxion avatar 12:12 PM on 11.05.2009  (server time)
Diminished Love - A Cathartic Exercise

I have loved gaming for as long as I can remember. I've always been fascinated with it, and still am, though my love has faded somewhat in the last few years. I've recently spent a lot of time trying to figure out why I don't quite love the hobby as much as I once did.

I initially put it down to shifting priorities. A few years back my mom came down with a severe disability that kept her from being able to work, so I moved her in with me. She doesn't require any special care, but I'm financially responsible for her since she can't work. I rationalized my waning interest in videogames away by convincing myself that I just didn't have the time to play them. However, I don't quite think that my responsibility for my mother is to blame, because I end up finding myself spending a whole lot of time doing nothing much at all anyway. So why not fill that time with videogames, if nothing else?

I also put it down to the economy of time. There are only so many hours in a day, and there's so much that I want to do in what little free time I have available to me. Which is a good problem to have, I admit, but the problem is that it can be overwhelming to even just chose something to do in the first place. I've always had a problem with being indecisive, which means that I often end up not doing anything at all. And even when I finally do chose something to do with my time, I end up feeling like I'm missing out on something else, and so I don't enjoy what I've chosen to do as much as I should.

Another potential problem is that I tend to buy a lot of videogames. I know that doesn't sound like much of a problem, but remember my indecisive nature? It can cause problems when I finally sit down to play, because more often than not, I don't know where to begin. I'd love to be able to just chose a game and then sit down and play it, but more often than not I end up spending more time staring at my stack of games trying to figure out what to play than I do playing them.

Now none of these issues are insurmountable by any means. In fact just knowing that they exist makes it easier to get a handle on them. However I find myself resistant to doing anything about them. Why is that? Well I've considered every possibility, and I think that my resistance is really down to one gigantic factor.

Gamer culture.

See, when I was a kid, the worst of what gamer culture had to offer was half-hearted playground arguments about which console was better. However, nobody really cared all that much about it when all was said and done. Just playing videogames at all was ultimately more important than what console or computer we played them on. Oh, we talked a good game for sure, just like the fan-boys and forum trolls do today, but there wasn't a dyed-in-the-wool gamer that would pass on the chance to play, even if it meant playing on whatever system that he had slammed for being inferior during recess.

We didn't define ourselves by what console we owned, or the type of games that we played either. Sure, owning a console could be a status symbol of sorts, but you were cool because you had a console, and not because of which console you had. There were no Nintendrones or XBots, we were just kids with enough sense to avoid letting our harmless playground squabbling get in the way of our shared interest in videogames.

Now the issue isn't so much that anything has fundamentally changed between that harmless playground grandstanding of yesteryear and the crazy fan-boy antics of today. On the surface, it's still the same silly, meaningless nonsense that it was then, and it's still driven by our inborn need as human beings to justify ourselves through our possessions. Rather, the issue is that the internet has taken what was once a reasonably civil face-to-face interaction limited to a few people, and has made it something that can involve hundreds of people, most of whom hide behind the anonymity of the internet and act like douche-bags to one another.

Now I'm not complaining about fan-boy behavior in and of itself. However, as an enthusiast of the hobby, it's not uncommon to want to share that enthusiasm with other people. The problem is that when nearly everyone is arguing about pointless nonsense and being generally negative for no good reason, it can sap that enthusiasm completely. One has to wonder whether or not there's anything to be enthusiastic about after all, being that the very folks who count themselves amongst fans of the hobby can't seem to find anything about it to enjoy a good deal of the time.

This isn't even the worst of it. Gamers can be elitist, needlessly cynical, self-entitled, soul-sucking parasites at times. And while it's true that most of the negative traits associated with gamers can be traced back to fan-boy proclivities and the factors that motivate them, it can still be incredibly annoying even if you understand what's driving it. Sometimes you just want to let yourself be excited about something, without some nameless, faceless twat sucking all the life out of the room.

As for why it's annoying, I think it's mainly because it's all completely avoidable. If we were capable of meaningful insight, we'd take note of what's motivating us to be such insufferable, anti-social jerks, and we'd stop arguing completely subjective matters with one another. We'd subscribe the Destructoid mantra, and JSTFUAPG. We share a common interest in the hobby, folks, if not common tastes, and yet that rarely seems to factor in unless we're seeking out credibility in the eyes of our fellow gamers.

So hey, call me a pussy if you must. Tell me that I'm being too sensitive. I don't care. As a once and long time fan of the hobby, I needed to examine why I can't seem to enjoy it as much as I once did. The conclusion might seem like a bunch of over-sensitive whining to you folks, but I honestly think that itís been cathartic. I think that understanding what has been keeping me from enjoying gaming as much as I once did will rekindle my enthusiasm. Iím fact Iím itching to get off of work so that I can get home and play, and that feels pretty good.

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