I've been following Destructoid for some time, now. Before that, I hung out at HigherVoltage and the Neo-Geo.com forums, while getting my news from videogames.com, before it became GameSpot. I left when they tried to start charging, and never really went back.
I was big into the print magazines. I liked all of Dave Halverson's publications, (GameFan, Gamer's Republic, etc.) even as Dave himself seemed to write all the copy, without an editor keeping his unabashed fanboyism reigned in. He had an eye for art direction, and kept his mags rich in color, 2D artwork, and design assets. As a gamer who loves the lore and storytelling games provide, rather than the tech, his stuff was right up my alley. I had a subscription to Nintendo Power back in the NES years, and enjoyed Official Playstation magazine, as well as the PS demo disk club that was offered directly from Sony for a couple years. I still have demo disks with Metal Slug, Guilty Gear, and hidden music videos for Our Lady Peace, as well as early footage of the "upcoming" Resident Evil 2, before they scrapped Eliza and went back to the drawing board.
I also got my videogame news from 7-Eleven, Ray's Arcade, Parkway Bowl, and Yellow Brick Road. That is, I saw the latest and newest when they were arcade games first, conversions to the home consoles second. My friends and I spent hours exploring the nuances of Street Fighter 2 while downing Big Gulps; We gladly fed Co-op Total Carnage and Captain America and the Avengers tons of quarters; When Mortal Kombat 2 came out, I remember laughing so hard my cheeks hurt as we experimented with Fatalities on each other. My buddy one-quartered Dragon's Lair once a month. We trashed talked over NBA Jam. We dove into dungeons in Gauntlet. I'd watch attract screens when I had no money, which was often.
Even before that, my folks had Pong. The brown matched the faux-wood paneling of our living room. It bricked pretty quickly, sadly. I took down AT-ATs on Atari a couple years later, and played Journey: Escape like it mattered. (At a friend's house. Pong broke so quickly, my Dad didn't trust videogames again until two years into the NES's life.)
All that to say: I was raised on videogames, and they were raised with me. Today, I work IT at a large game studio. I play old, new, and everything in between. Sometimes, a scent in the air reminds me of a yearly iteration of The King of Fighters, and it feels good. Games, despite being a largely sedentary activity (I was never into DDR) remind me of life and youth and vitality.
So, today, when I was perusing the comments of a news story, and feeling the itch to join in the conversation again, I came across this very true post:
I was born in 1974. I am "Middle Aged".
Yesterday, Leonard Nimoy died at 83. I'm almost halfway there. My Dad died at 71, two years ago. This year, I started getting "concerning" spots of skin removed. I have two genius kids that wear me out, and work isn't getting any easier.
And I'm blessed. Blessed to have a family that loves me. Blessed to have a job I'm good at, in a place I enjoy, with people I like. I'm blessed to have seen what I've seen, gone where I've gone, and still be alive today to complain about not being able to do more. I'm spoiled, and being able to play is maybe the height of my privlege. Of my decadence.
I'm not condemning it. I welcome it. I wish we lived in a world where everyone could play. Where the console wars were the biggest bone of contention we had. A world where art thrives and hate ceases and people play together. Because I've seen that world, and it's a pretty nice place to be.
Not to say that I wish all differences would cease. No. I welcome them. As a child raised with what some would call "religion" even before games, I'm no stranger to differing opinions and conflicting ideas about how the world works or why it is here. My age and experience has tempered my temper about such things. I still believe what I believe, but I'm not scared when others don't. And one thing I've found to be true - those who game are some of the best folks to offer a challenge and thoughtful discussion about worldviews.
But this isn't even about that. It's about me, here, possibly past the halfway point in my time on this plane (Maybe more...), yet still looking forward to what I get to play after I'm done with this post. Still looking foward to the next Mortal Kombat, and hoping to share it with my friends from High School, who are also still playing. When MK9 came out, we connected with our pal who moved across the country, and practiced our movelists on each other again, laughing until our cheeks hurt. (And then PSN got hacked - Oh, the world we live in...)
This isn't to be morbid. It's to be celebratory. Games bridge generations and space. I imagine I'm one of the oldest folks here, but it doesn't matter. You may be faster and more skilled, but we can still enjoy enjoying the same things, as well as enjoying NOT enjoying the same things. Last week, we read a post about how games saved a young man's life. I was inclined to believe him. We get to do things in games we could never do (Or even want to do) in life, and even so, they inspire us to live better when we're not playing.
Which is maybe why it always comes as a shock to me that I'm as old as I am, even though I "know" how old I am. And while time does indeed march on, and none of us are getting younger, it's nice to know that this interactive art form I grew up continues being built on the shoulders of those who came before, and that when I have a conversation with a 20-something about the nuances of Resident Evil 2 or Metal Gear Solid, Mario or Zelda or Pitfall Harry, we can find common ground despite differing place, position or ideology. And that, too, I see as a blessing.