I have done quite a lot of things as a kid to live my life. Writing short stories, singing in a band, painting my classroom with illustrations from the text book (thanks to my father’s genes) and other stuff related to school and life. Luckily I was raised as a 90s kid, so my eye for games was totally different. As a kid in India, I was taught by my elders that video games are bad for life, simply because you lose focus on real things, you over exert on your eyes and you tend to become forgetful. I would really doubt as a 26 year old man that these symptoms actually have a base in video gaming.
My earliest recollections of video gaming were sitting in front of a DOS computer at my father’s work desk in an advertising agency and playing countless hours of Prince of Persia or Paratrooper. My father would directly pick me up from my school, I’d hold his hand and walk into his office like I owned the darned place, and the very menu screen of the video game would bring joy to my eyes. These days you’ve got kids complaining about graphics and gameplay and stuff, those days games used to be based on a repetitive command. Cut that smile Vaas Montenegro!
I remember my parents never had any problems with gaming, because I was great with my Encarta too (Only 90s kids would know what Encarta is). And there came a year, 1997, and I was officially introduced to a drug called EA Sports FIFA 97 and Ashes 97. Those two sport games actually showed me why I must regularly spend my pocket money at the local cyber café (a 90s dad could hardly afford a computer at home) instead of playing on the SEGA cartridges. When people tell me that I have not grown up, I bad the biggest smile at the back of my mind, and barely managed to refrain from chuckling. The Verdict: I have grown alongside the biggest boom that technology has ever seen – Video Gaming.
It was only a few months back that my relatives from home called me up, asking me about how I’m managing with stuff here. The truth has to be told, and I told them that even though my regular industry isn’t that courteous in paying, the gaming scene is pretty much sorted, I’m getting to play and review some great games. They were astonished; they do not believe that one can call ‘that’ as a way of life or even a profession. For the next 30 minutes I tried to tell them how I played one of the greatest games of my life The Last Of Us, and they were like, son you’re losing grip.
I’ve always found a way out because of gaming, but thanks to illGaming and all the readers who share opinion with me, I’ve really found my faith and hope on this industry. Games are not a way of escaping or recreation for me anymore. Games define who I am. And favourite titles define the person that I am in skin and blood. I am like any ordinary citizen of my rational and empirical country, where gaming is still not considered as a serious art and entertainment form. This country needs more civil servants and doctors than it can afford. I do have my regular job and my 6-7 hours at home, the time when I game. I try not to take calls then and I try to enjoy my games against whatever boulders may arise.
Some people have taken to calling me stupid, some as ‘mental’, while others have completely given up any hopes of seeing my family in the next couple of years. This is not a sad tale that is fated to inspire you in the end. The facts are as straight as any struggling gamer’s life can be. I’ve lost both my parents with zero reaction time, and I do not need to hear from strange people what life has to offer me. I have so much love and respect for my parents that I can hold my mouth shut even if they want to argue with me on such matters. I wouldn’t say our parents would be exactly proud of our gaming streak, because there are flawed gamers within the society too. But if they see my love for video games, the way I live my life in Tamriel, fight super soldiers and help a child overcome an apocalyptic world, they’d love me too. I wouldn’t technically say that I was born to game, no one is born for a particular thing, but I think I was born to experience stuff like everyone else. And video games help me experience them, not day by day, but minute by minute. You fight the wars, you solve riddles that can change your future and you lead a generation, like they show in my favourite Playstation ad, Michael.
John Marston of Red Dead Redemption and Joel of The Last Of Us have made me cry in the end because through them I remember my father, I do not know how. I’ve already spoken of how that lady in Journey reminds me of my mother. These are ways in which video games have let me live my life, the way it was before. If one cannot see the depth of humanity and experiences in a 16 hour gameplay, it’s too bad for him or her I guess, because life is beautiful and he/she has certainly missed it.
If you have a passion for video games do not settle down in life as a rich fat banker. Love your people, visit your hometown, and then when you are all by yourself, gain more experiences from life by gaming. The only issue for gamers in a country like India is perhaps the money bit, but if you look into the kind of detailing, passion and hard work that goes into making a game, you’ll realize you are but supporting an art form. Games will teach you to be patient, they will be there for you when there will be no one and games will certainly make you laugh and cry, even though you know the storyline.
Games will teach you how you can contribute to humanity, and in how many ways and maybe in how many spawns. Until then, love or hate me for being such a gamer.