On Being a Gamer
March 27, 2012
I don't know if I'm in the minority any more, but I have to confess that I am 40 years old, and I'm a gamer. And I'm a lousy one at that. I've logged hundreds of hours on my Xbox 360, and I still get my rear end kicked when I try to play any level above beginning. When I play multiplayer, I'm getting killed within the first 10 seconds of playing by players halfway around the world who weren't even alive when Friends was on the air.
But I love it. And please don't pass judgement on me. Obviously, I'm gainfully employed (I work at the library), and I also have a couple of other jobs just to keep up in these challenging economic times. A game called Skyrim has been the bane of my social life recently, and it's been a great way to spend the time. It was given to me as a gift, and whatever was spent on it was well worth the cost. It has also caused a lot of frustration in my house, which is complemented by wife and two step-daughters, one a teenager and the other a pre-teen. So, I have to do whatever I can to keep the manliness alive, and if killing computer generated dragons with a broadsword satisfies me, so be it. It's better than sitting through "America's Top Model Chef Idol" or whatever.
I used to fear though that I was in a minority until I discovered websites such as Geezer Gamers, which caters to gamers older than 30 and 2old2play. These have great forums and advice for those of us who enjoy gaming, but still want a cigar and glass of wine after dinner with our in-laws after yelling at the kids to get off the cell phone and Facebook and go to bed.
For reading, if you want to get into the psyche of a gamer...of any age...try Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter. It's an interesting book, and if you currently a gamer, you will relate to some chapters. The book I really enjoyed even more however is Zombie Spaceship Wasteland (I actually read this one on my eReader after checking it out through the MCPL system). It's written by comedian Patton Oswalt. While not so much about video games, it's a great book for young men like myself who grew up in the 70s and 80s and the fantasy pulp culture of suburban life.
So if you are a fan of video games where you shoot anything that moves, games you can play with the kids, or even the more cerebral epics like Skyrim or L.A. Noire, have fun and don't be ashamed of your hobby. Just don't ask me to play those games with the 20-sided dice. Those frighten me.