Camen Design

c share + remix

Giving Up Gaming

I have almost no control over my life, in some way I am mentally handicapped in that I cannot get a firm grasp of the more important things going on around me. I am lost in my own world in which I dictate everything that happens.

I am staring now at the epic pile of games I own and trying to piece together the philosophical puzzle of what these mean to me.

There are many aspects that bind you to the games you own: Fond memories, nostalgia, games that need completing still, games that haven’t been played yet, games you feel guilty for not having played enough and those games you keep around for historical importance or potential value.

The games I own are deeply, deeply important to me. A well curated collection of beautiful, binding experiences, turning points in gaming history and technological wonders of their day.

The worlds in these games are places to me. Places that I want to go and visit on occasions, places that I remember strongly and places I associate with certain feelings. Games are like holidays in the countryside. Being somewhere of no importance, but escaping from the usual pattern. Some are peaceful and calming places like Spyro the Dragon, calm skies and luscious environment that let you sit still and soak in the atmosphere. Others are busy places with many people to talk to, like Shenmue.

Screenshot of Spyro the Dragon

But now, I am feeling estranged from these places because the context in which I play these games—something I hadn’t thought was important before—is no longer there. When I was growing up as one of four brothers, playing games was a form of competition or collaboration and when on holiday I always bought along games too. Many of my fond memories of playing games are in fond places in the world that I remember through the games, and the games I remember through those places.

And now, everything just feels the same. Since moving home at the start of the year, my life has been in a chaos I cannot master. I am disorganised beyond belief and important things that should be done are piling up. Looking at my room, I have so much stuff in the wrong place it gives me an anxiety attack trying to think of where to start. This is one deep rabbit-hole of despair. But more so than just that, I am completely isolated. I have no friends here and nobody to socialise with. I spend my time indoors all the time, working on the computer, or wasting time by not working on the computer.

With so much being disorganised, various objects look on at me as things that need attention, staring at me and asking ‘why haven’t I been done yet?’. The pile of games looks like a tower of guilt—to complete this lot 100% would take months, and yet there are more pressing issues—and without any friends, without people to discuss my experiences, to share in the joy of these games, to share an understanding of the fine art that they can be means the process of completing them is empty and a chore; to tick something off of the list so it can be safely ignored.

Giving this up would be like giving up my childhood, or forgetting my life up to this point. It hurts to think of a me without my games. Without these, would I be free of some anxiety, or would I just become worse, obsessing over my laptop even more and the piles of work I have created within? I can only move my OCD from one place to another, so to speak.

But then I do need help. I have no friends, no social life at all—I just work and work and work. Everything is some form of work, even relaxing. My website, my various projects. I find things to obsess over and to worry about. I complete nothing.

Gaming is important in the same way literature is important. With literature you take things away from books that change you as a person, you gain knowledge. Even without the book, that information still forms a part of your intellect. Gaming undoubtedly shapes us, but it’s hard to take those experiences elsewhere. They are the experiences we share with other like-minded individuals. We play, because there’s a buzz around the latest thing. I remember going into school the day after Gran Turismo came out, the classroom was buzzing with kids talking about how great the game was and what cars we all had. But now, I find what should be a great experience—playing the great games we have now—a mostly empty experience. Wii Sports Resort is not the same alone as it is multiplayer, but more so alone as it is having friends who also play it.

How relevant will it be for me to still be playing games from the 90’s in twenty, thirty, forty years time? (If it’s even possible) They could be valuable, sure, but I’m not fussed about worth; each game is a self-contained experience that cannot be replicated elsewhere on any other hardware, with any other graphics. These are amazing places that cannot be visited any other way.

What I’m trying to say, is, should I give this all away?