I’m pretty sure I’m having a mid-gaming-life crisis. I think. You see, I’ve recently taken a break from gaming and it has left me questioning just what sort of a gamer I really am.
Not only do I take no gaming bits and bobs with me when I go away these days – no handhelds, not even a magazine – but when I went on holiday a while back and discovered that the villa I was staying in had a PlayStation and a collection of games my reaction was a deep Gallic shrug. Fair enough you may think; with all that sun, wine, copious quantities of brioche and a swimming pool, who needs games? And I’d agree. Except that even late at night and on the one day when it poured with rain (perfect gaming opportunities), I couldn’t be bothered. Bear in mind that from the age of ten I have never gone more than a few hours without playing games or reading about them or lusting after them in shops.
You know the strangest thing? I don’t miss gaming. In fact, I didn’t even think about gaming once in the entire time I was away. Now, before you burn me at the stake for being a heretic, hear me out. I think I may have needed this little gaming hiatus. Recently I have been feeling more and more cynical. Every game seems to be the ‘same old, same old’, every press release has been greeted with a raised eyebrow and a “who cares”. Not exactly a healthy state of affairs for someone that makes his living whitening on about games.
I’ll confess it even took me a couple of days to play a game once I had returned home. Yet when I did, I felt something I haven’t felt in ages. I properly enjoyed myself. It was like I was playing every game for the first time. Cascading rainbows of colour leapt from the screen; crashes, cries and thunderous scores reverberated from my sound system. I had fallen in love again.
Yet how fickle a thing is the heart of a man. Within a week I’m back into the same weary trudge of scowling at new games – especially their “New! Greatest! Best Thing Since Nutella!” press releases – and regarding older games with barely concealed malice. What’s wrong with me?
Maybe I need a complete break to appreciate the highs of gaming. Maybe I need a holiday every month. While this appeals, it seems a little drastic. And I have the feeling that neither my employer nor my bank manager would approve.
Am I alone in my state of apathy? I can’t even bring myself to enjoy Forza Horizon at the moment – my go to game for ‘Feeling Like A Boss Again’. Yet, every now and then a game still comes along that I just can’t put down, playing avidly to the point of forgetting to eat and blink; but it’s happening less and less these days.
I hope it’s just a temporary thing. The thought of never rekindling my love affair with my digital companions bothers me for some reason. Gaming has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember – I’m a fully paid up member of the original gaming generation – so I simply can’t imagine not being a gamer. Then again, when the chance came to go without games for a while I willingly took it – and felt better than I have for a long time. Added to this, the brief ecstasy of reunion was as electrifying an experience as I have ever had in gaming.
Perhaps the old maxim is true; if you really love something, you’ve got to let it go.