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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.

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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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About Andrew Kauzone of us since 5:10 PM on 04.30.2009

In loving memory: PAX 2009 (thanks ZombiePlatypus! And WalkYourPath, of course)

I'm Kauza, which is pronounced like cause-uh. My real name's Andrew Kauz, if you'd rather go for that.

I like talking to Dtoid people, so please add me on your favorite social networking site:
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/kauza
Gchat: santakauz[at]gmail.com.

Basics: I'm 25, and I write things.

Eternal thanks go out to Y0j1mb0 for the amazing header image you see above. So, thanks, sir!

Look at some of the things I've written.

Things on the Front Page:

Mass Effect, Metal Gear, Moon Unit, and more: An interview with Jennifer Hale
The Future: Demanding more from the voices of videogames
Love/Hate: A plea to play as a female Shepard
A warning: Regrets from a former life and experiences yet unlived
Top ten games for people who hate Thanksgiving
The wrong thing: Being evil should be more like sex
Staying dry in a sea of spoilers is a matter of building a boat
Lessons on taking games just seriously enough
Come, take your pilgrimage to gaming's one true mecca
Here's to you, random-JRPG-dialogue-writer-man
The forgotten: Crushing disappointment at the hands of Crash 'n the Boys
The people who have the power to change the world
Improving game communities: Enough with the negativity
The draw of exploration: Antarctica to Oblivion, Shackleton to Shadow Complex
I suck at games: BlazBlue and a slapdash attempt at fisticuffs
I, the Author: My Everest
Untapped Potential: The Gamer's Education
Other Worlds than These: Our World, Only Different

A series sort of thing about status effects
Toxic Megacolon and other fresh status effects
Curse you, status effects, stop confusing my heart
Status effects are poisons that turn my silent heart to stone
Also check out the related forum thread.

The Fall of the Titans (wherein I talk about dead or dying gaming companies)

The fall of the titans part 3: What once was shall be again
The fall of the titans: Sega died so that we might dream of the future
The fall of the titans: Why do the giants of gaming die?

Stories from the Past (a series about my experiences playing certain games):

Stories from the Past: Tobal 2, Tomba! 2, and console double-vision
Stories from the Past: Diablo and the Dark Ride
Stories from the Past: What the f*ck, mom?
Stories from the Past: Xexyz and the battle aboard Turtlestar Lobsterica
Stories from the Past: The One-Balled Man-Bear
Stories from the Past: The Battle of Olympus
Stories from the Past: Suikoden 2

Storytelling (a series about, well, storytelling):

Storytelling: The Problem of Genres
Storytelling: Mass Effect, Vonnegut, and the Fourth Rule
Storytelling: Doing Nothing in "The Darkness"
Storytelling: The Power of a Single Line (Yeah, it was my first post.)

Other stuff that is good:

Lessons on taking games just seriously enough
A consuming power: The demon and the borderlands
Can games transcend good and evil?
Nothing is sacred: We won't let you go alone, but we have made a tragic decision
How Destructoid single-handedly changed my mother’s opinion of gaming
Why Tecmo Super Bowl is the greatest sports game of all time
Seven reasons that I will end you in creative ways if you don't play Folklore
Mother Nature and the Impending Death of the Gaming Spirit
Times Games Forgot: The Dark Ages
The Sins and Successes of In-game Collectibles
The Lock is Broken
When Music Surpasses the Game
Truckasaurus Rex and the Humor of Games
I Want to Cry (storytelling related, but not part of the series)

I have others as well that you can check out on my blog. You'll enjoy them or your money back.

Since it seems like the cool thing to do, here a list of my favorite games that is coming straight out of my ass and onto your computer screen, and in no particular order.

Fallout 3
Uncharted 2
Suikoden 2
Mass Effect / ME2
Metal Gear Solid followed by any number you can think of
Tales of Somethingendinginia (OK, and the Abyss)
Battlefield: Bad Company
Xbox LIVE:kauza
PSN ID:santakauz
Mii code:kauza


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