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Is there anything that could make you give up gaming?

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What will make you put down that controller?

My Twitter feed has been buzzing this week about three highly anticipated games and the more seedier aspects of them. Star Wars Battlefront II, Forza 7 and Middle-Earth: Shadow of War are all releasing soon. All three of them have been getting some negative attention due to loot boxes, the “reward” that’s becoming more and more common in any game with a multiplayer component. I’m totally for the idea of loot boxes when it comes to costumes and cosmetics because I really don’t give enough of a shit about those aspects. I’m fine with my Pharah looking just like a regular old Pharah in Overwatch, I don’t need her totally badass Thunderbird getup even though it reminds me of my years living in the Pacific Northwest.

But a lot of people are upset but how these three games are implementing the boxes, from Shadow’s supposed locking of the true ending behind either endless grinding or buying boxes to how Forza is choosing to dole out mods that help you. I’ve seen some say they’re not buying these titles because of this, but history shows that isn’t always the case. But as I read those complaints, I wondered “Is there anything that would get me to just stop gaming?”

I’ve touched on this before when I wrote about my experience with VR, but thankfully my fears of an all VR future appear to be decades away. For the foreseeable future, my favorite hobby is safe for me to enjoy. So what would get me to just give it all up? A spouse asking me to? Nah, I’d just get a new spouse. Losing my hands and eyes in a terrible Fro-yo accident? Pfft, I’d learn to play with my feet and ears. I thought about this as I played my 3DS in my room, the dining room, the living room and then on the bus to the movies and that’s when it hit me: I love my home consoles, but the end of portability would be the end of my gaming adventure.

I’ve endured enough mobile games to know they’ll never fully replace my dedicated gaming machines (though many are very good), but I also know I’m having the most fun when my gaming is on the go. Sure, there are some experiences that are best on a big screen, but over the past five years, I’ve spent more than 70% of my time on my 3DS and Vita. Even if I’m not taking it with me on the bus and train, I’m antsy and I love the freedom of being able to move around my house as I want. Perhaps that's ADHD or simply the end result of living in a world as full of distractions as this one – excuse me while I look up 500 random things on Wikipedia and then refuse to send the website even a dollar so it can keep its doors open – but I don’t like to be confined to just one spot on the couch for too long unless it is a really, REALLY enthralling game.

That’s me. Is there anything that could make you give up gaming?

Chris Carter

This is a tough one.

I mean...no. Unless my wife drew a line in the sand (which would pretty much never happen as we play Heroes of the Storm and countless other games together near daily), I would probably never give it up. I've seen a few suggestions from my peers about leaving gaming if they were blind, which is fair, but I think I would find a way to make it work.

So yeah, spouse ultimatum! But other than that, I'll probably be gaming until I'm dead.

Drew Stuart

This is a tough question. The short answer is, well, no. Nothing short of the apocalypse could pry my cold fingers away from my keyboard, my controller, and my motion controls. However, there is one thing that would make me quit gaming, and it has nothing to do with losing my eyesight, or fingers or any other physical debilitation. The only thing that could make me leave gaming is corporatization.

We all remember when Microsoft insisted that the Kinect was required for the Xbox One and that it would always be on. We remember how they said pre-owned games wouldn't work on their console, that connectivity was required Ludicrous claims, immensely stupid design decisions. I remember watching the press conference and being mortified at the prospect of such a restricted, corporatized video game landscape. It didn't pan out, and the Xbox One today has none of that stupid crap in it, but the idea that Microsoft wanted to screw over gamers that badly was terrifying. What if someone tries that again down the road? What if we eventually live in the 'Please drink a Verification Can' world?

If that ever happens to the gaming industry at large, I'm done. No more games - I'm building a cabin in the woods where I can live out a peaceful existence, far away from the all-seeing eye of the Kinect. 

Nick Valdez

If I got a life

Peter Glagowski

While I personally don't think anything will ever manage to pry me away from gaming, about the only thing I can think of would be online communities. People get hyper-passionate about the things they like and attempting to have a level-headed discussion often leads to riots and death threats.

That kind of toxicity might eventually put me off on the whole idea of gaming. Then again, I'm not sure what I would replace my hobby with as this same problem exists in the realm of cinephiles, sports fans and even casual watchers of news. The age of the internet has given everyone a voice, but most people have chosen to use that power negatively.

Rich Meister

As far as thought-provoking questions go, this is one of the toughest. I find it pretty hard to think of any situation that would make me want to give up gaming. Like Peter said, the internet can be a terrible place, but there's even the solution of gaming offline. Gaming is my one vice, my biggest hobby and just too fun for me to consider giving it up.

The only way I could ever consider giving up games for good was if some sort of injury made it impossible for me to play games. If I lost my eyesight or lost use of my limbs to a point that it wasn't possible to use a controller or keyboard.

The answer is kind of an easy one, but I just can't think of any practice by a developer or publisher so terrible that it would push me away from my love of gaming as a whole. Even if big developers pushed me away there is always an indie game I could lose myself in.

Jonathan Holmes

Like others said, my gut instinct was to say something like "Outside of someone putting a gun to my head or some other impossible life or death ultimatum, there is nothing that could get me to stop playing video games."

Then I remembered that every time I play a video game, I am in fact choosing that game over doing something else with those precious minutes, hours, or even days of my life. By gaming, I lose some of the unreplenishable time I have as a living being on this planet that I could have spent creating something that will last beyond my death, or spending time with loved ones who may disappear from my life at any time. 

So looking at it that way, we all face a life or death ultimatum with our time on a constant basis, and if you're reading this website, chances are that you choose video games on a pretty regular basis. 

So why do we do we make that choice, and could anything ever get us to stop?

For me, the answer to the first question informs the second question. I play video games for two reasons: I like the way they can make me feel, and I like what they can teach me. If I'm anxious, tired, or rattled with unwanted, unproductive thoughts, video games can clear that up for me. Spending time with a puzzle game or a tough platformer that requires my full mental attention can take me out of my life for a bit and absorb me into a world where failure is OK. In fact, it's often expected. That's part of why 1001 Spikes is one of my favorite games of all time. It mirrors how painful and unfair life can be, while also making it all feel OK, and eventually, even survivable. 

I also love the game because of what it teaches me about level design and the person who designed it. 1001 Spikes doesn't sell itself as an "art game", but it is without a doubt a reflection of the personality and perspective of its creator. It's also brilliantly designed, as evidenced by this panel by video game lecture-man Jonathan Blow. To master the game is to dissect it, and to dissect it is to better understand video games in general. Sharing that understanding just might help developers in the future make better games, which I can then play and dissect, and so on. 

Or maybe no "so on," because there very well may come a time when using games to change how I feel, or playing them in order to learn things, may not feel like the best use of my time. In the future, it's possible that the kinds of games I love are too hard to find to be worth digging for. That's how a lot of fans of 1920s Blues feel about listening to music today. They don't bother trying to find new stuff. They don't feel anything from it, and they don't learn anything of value from experiencing it, so they just stick to the classics. 

Even then, I suppose I may someday tire of the classics as well. I can pretty much play all of Mega Man 2 in my head, music included, which diminishes the value of actually plugging it in and experiencing it again. That said, when I'm close to dying, I know I'll want to run through Air Man's stage at least one more time. It's one of my favorite things to do in the world, and having the game fresh in my head during my final moments will make all the fear and regret that are sure to come with my final days a little more tolerable. 

Charlotte Cutts

The prospect of giving up games is not shocking for me at all, since I've already done it once. During my final years of school and all of university, I became a bit too focused on academics and stopped doing things for the sheer fun of it. Aside from a handful of hours in Portal and, oddly enough, still listening to the TalkRadar podcast, I had little to do with the gaming community for around six years.

I got back into gaming because it's thought-provoking while remaining a fun distraction from day-to-day life. I would definitely cut games out completely if it stopped being fun and instead brought more stress into my life. It saddens me when I hear of abuse in the gaming community, and sometimes I wonder whether I'd be happier focusing on my other (laughably quaint) pastimes, such as baking and knitting. Then I remember that most of my fellow gaming enthusiasts are lovely and inclusive, and there will always be a few bad apples. Ultimately, I believe I'll be collecting, playing and talking about games for many years to come.


Pixie The Fairy

People have tried everything to get me to stop gaming. Nothing has worked. Nothing will. There are situations that have made me quit playing a particular game, but that wasn't because they were particularly bad so much as a deeply personal event or change needed to happen.

I remember the first time my parents tried to pry me off gaming. They were convinced it was an unhealthy obsession because it wasn't a "normal" thing to be into. I think it was just an issue because Dad paid for cable TV and wanted to watch G.L.O.W.

One of their attempts was to try and use science fiction, a more common and socially acceptable nerdy thing to like. They gave me a book called Star Trek: The Joy Machine by James Gunn.

In the book, which itself is based on a script pitched for the original show, a planet and its entire civilization have isolated themselves from galactic society because of a device that lets them know total pleasure. No one wanted to stop using it. Naturally, Captain Kirk finds himself ensnared in the thing, but it fails on Spock because perpetual win states would never be logical. He made the U.S.S. Kobayashi Maru simulation, after all. The goal of that thing was failure.

Anyway, upon completion of this book, I knew what my parents were going for and what they thought the book said about me. They thought I was isolated and obsessed with satisfaction. Unfortunately for them, now I wanted to use the TV for Nintendo games and Star Trek.

Now I have two streaming service subscriptions so I can have all the Star Trek TV shows I want and an unquenchable crush on Major Kira.

Salvador G-Rodiles

Back when I became a teenager, my parents told me that I should give up on certain hobbies, such as collecting toys. When CJ brought up this weeks question, it made me think of the time when my early friends got bored with cartoons and video games after they started high school. This made me sad since I enjoy the two mediums. At the same time, it made me wonder why I didn't go through the same phase.

To this day, I'm not sure if their change was due to expectations or if they got bored of the two hobbies. Sadly, I failed to find an answer since we went our separate ways during my high school days. As I fought hard to resist my parents' suggestions, I realized that I'll never let go of this activity. Unlike TV shows and films, the medium lets me interact with the things on the screen. Because of this feature, I doubt that I'll ever get tired of it. 

No matter what happens, I'll continue to enjoy video games until the day I die. Who knows, the afterlife might have computers and consoles, so there's a small chance that I could enjoy this hobby for all eternity.

*****

This is about what I expected. Video games, like shitty CBS television for my parents, are far too ingrained in our lives to just give up. Even now as I close this out, I think about what would happen if there was an end to portable gaming. Could I really go the rest of my life without playing The Legend of Zelda? It's a huge part of my life. But so was church at one point and I gave that up pretty damn quickly. I guess we'll just have to see; see what follows the Nintendo Switch. That's right, for this moment in time, I'm the guy already thinking about Nintendo's next console. Don't @ me.


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CJ Andriessen
CJ AndriessenAssociate Editor   gamer profile

Just what the internet needs, yet another white guy writing about video games. Full Disclosure: I backed Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night. more + disclosures


 



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