I was born, am, and likely always will be cheap. It's in my nature. In the same way that people like to say that their job is in their blood, or the way that they tie their shoes, or the ritual they follow as they get ready for bed in just the right (DON'T INTERRUPT ME!) way, I am cheap.
I never felt a single pang of guilt or remorse about my cheapness until I started diving deeper into the world of video games and their development. Like any other industry, you scrape at the surface a bit and underneath--not even too far down--there are people there. People with lives and families who produce games because it's the path that they've chosen; the way they put bread on their tables. I used to be, and still am to an extent, a follower of CheapAssGamer.com. If you haven't been to this site you should take a gander: it's a collection of some of the cheapest people you'll ever meet (not that you would have been led astray by the title) and they get together for the single purpose of getting the best deal on videogames that they possibly can.
Until a few months ago, when I fell hard for Dtoid and began to follow videogames as a scene including development, production and the oozing gallons of drama inbetween, I was one of these Cheapies, and damn proud of it. Then one day I had a revelation: I paid full price for Mass Effect 2.
The first Mass Effect was a steal that I picked up from Gamestop (BOO / HISS) for a meager $10. It was a no-brainer, given the reviews and the chance to play around in a sci-fi world as rich as ME's, so I grabbed my copy for the low, low price of stale, tasteless panini from a Starbucks. Mass Effect turned out to be the kind of rich and story-driven game that I had always hoped was waiting in the wings of someone's thoughts on how videogames should be developed.
I loved everything about it (maybe not Mako) and as the credits rolled, was eagerly anticipating a sequel. The weeks leading up to ME2 were painful for me. Everywhere, without fail, was a little hint of ME2. They even played a commercial during halftime of the Super Bowl! Everytime I saw a new piece of ME2 deliciousness, it tweaked me a bit inside. The beauty, the wonder, the alien sex! I decided I must have this game and couldn't wait for it to drop to my usual preapproved level of cheap.
My conscience, though, streaked through and through with traditional Germanic ideals of utility and frugality, required more convincing. I began to argue with myself over why exactly I needed this game, specifically, when I have over 30 in my current backlog (along with the sin of cheapness, I also regularly commit the sin of collectorism). I ran myself through argument after argument about Value:Time ratios ("Look how much cheaper it is than going to see a movie!" I said to myself) and the advantage of having a new copy so I wouldn't have to pay for the damned Cerberus Network DLC. But in the end, I settled on a much different argument that still satisfies me, and hopefully will do so for the rest of my game-purchasing life: I'm paying to keep an experience that I love alive and well.
I wish I could say that I believed that one day a Utopia would emerge where people would sit around and create games solely for the goodness and enjoyment of the endeavor, copying them for others to share a sense of child-like wonder at this world that they have so lovingly crafted. I'll be honest: I'm a little skeptical. Until then, you need to vote with the almighty dollar and make your voice heard to developers and publishers about what makes you tick. We're blessed and cursed to live in a time that engenders fast, cheap, universal communication in a way we've never seen before, and would be silly to let that go to waste.
Let them know what we want, and do it with your wallet, or we're doomed to live out the rest of our days playing [INSERT MOVIE-BASED GAME HERE THAT SUCKED] forever. I don't plan on doing this, and so I spend. If you don't do it for me, please think of the economy.
For those of you who might actually know me from PAX (and I've been trying my best to IRC though occasionally I'm a bit of a lurker) just wanted to offer some explanation.
There are two Joshes. I don't know if that's actually the correct way to shoehorn that thought into a sentence, but there you are.
As I was saying, there are two Joshes and one of them (I'll let you guess which one) gets a lot more time out of the asylum than the other.
Basically, my day job is a Monday-through-Thursday death march type-thing in which I go to companies who are hurting for whatever reason and try to make things better. Often, and sadly, this means firing people lately. Also, for those of you who didn't get the Office Space reference at the beginning of this post, shame on you! Get thee to a Netflix(ery)!
So if you don't see me online very much during the week, there's your explanation: I'm probably somewhere in rural Iowa (is there another kind?) closing down some poor tenth generation family farm so that ConAgra can come in and plant genetically-modified corn that yields a hefty profit and makes your balls glow green and shrink.
If you ever do see me online though, be sure to say hi! I always take my DS on the road to keep in touch with my deep and abiding respect for the Gamer's Spirit, and am trying to make more time to at least log into IRC each night to try and say hi to folks.
In theory this is supposed to be my greeting to all you beautiful Dtoiders out there on the interwebs. Instead, it has been hijacked, and with good reason. Don't get all persnickety now, I'll make a proper intro post at some point, but I need a brief detour first.
You see, I just went to PAX.
At the insistence of my good college buddy, Tactix, I packed my bags last week and began my pilgrimage to the gaming Mecca itself for what I thought would be a lovely weekend of relaxation and gaming. It would turn out to be much, much more.
That first night, wandering the mind-blowing rows of cabinets at GameWorks as I met (and hugged!) cool person after cool person I came to a realization: I had found the friends I had been looking for all of my life. I was suddenly sitting smack in the middle of a group of people that I felt immediately and completely comfortable with (think family without all of that icky sappy stuff getting in the way).
Spending time with everybody at the show (and mostly not at the show) I learned that here I'd found an amazing collection of individuals that have passion--real passion--about the very same things that I do.
If you think you might have met me but you're like, "WTF! Who the hell is this Joshhest?", let me know. I'll be the first to admit that I can be a little shy at times and prefer hanging outside of the spotlight and drinking in some sweet, sweet Dtoid vibes.
I'm sure that this awe-inspiring feeling of joyful, granola togetherness has been captured many times in better words than mine, but I wanted to take the moment to say thanks to everyone at Destructoid.