Are You Addicted to Gaming?

Now that I’m over here on Disqus—a popular site for, you guessed it, discussing things—I’m able to come across some interest topics and give my own 2 cents.

I stumbled across this post and thought I’d take the quiz (originally listed at this address) myself! Am I addicted to gaming? So, feel free to copy the 20 questions and fill in your own answers; I’m sure the OG wouldn’t mind, provided you added a link back.

Do you often re-live gaming experiences or think about future ones?

Not anymore, but I used to!

Do you hide or lie about your gaming?

Nope. I’m pretty honest about it, really.

Do you get very angry when someone or something interrupts a game?

Nah. I might’ve been pretty pissy in the past, as a kid, but not anymore.

Have you ever taken a break from gaming and binged uncontrollably upon your return?

Uncontrollably? I dunno, perhaps in the past.

When upset, do you soothe yourself with games or plans to game?

Yeah, sometimes, but hopefully that’s not a sign of addiction, rather, a coping mechanism.

Do you find yourself gaming in the early morning?

This sort of depends on one’s sleeping pattern, surely? I sometimes do, or more particularly, used to, especially during the night and day, but not so much now as I tend to do other things, like create blog entries for nobody to read!

Do you find ways to game when away from home?

Nope. I prefer PC and sadly I cannot take that with me wherever I go. I don’t game on my phone and have no portable gaming devices such as a PSP.

Do you set limits with gaming and then break them, playing hours longer than intended?

I used to, yes. I remember once trying to go on a long break from gaming. I think I lasted a month or something, gradually adding in one game every week, but old ones, in order to play less and appreciate them more.

Do you lose hours of sleep to gaming?

I certainly used to, a lot, as a kid especially, but not so much now.

Have you called in sick or late to work or skipped classes to game?

Nope. At least one time, I likely was late for college or school because of a game, or because I slept in, being so tired from staying up so late on games.

Have you sworn off a game, uninstalled it, and later returned to it?

Absolutely, but surely we’ve all done that? I did that with Runescape. I “quit” after the huge combat overhaul, then came back some years later. I’m not “into” it now, but once in a while I’ll log in to the German server and use it as something to do and a means of practice.

Do you feel guilt and shame around your gaming?

I used to, and I think if I did now, it’d be because of how I was, how addicted I’ve been to games like Terraria, Dungeon Defenders, Diablo II, Path of Exile, and of course Runescape.

Does gaming contribute to arguments in your relationships?

What relationship? Heh.. heh heh… heh… no, that hasn’t been an issue, thankfully. I like a woman who can appreciate a good game, anyway.

Has gaming taken the place of any hobbies or sports you used to enjoy?

I don’t think so. Sometimes I procrastinate by using a game, but don’t we all?

Do you forget appointments, responsibilities or deadlines in work or school when gaming?

Of course, who doesn’t?

Do you become irritated and defensive when people suggest you might be gaming too much?

Um, I probably did back in the day, but no, not now. If I’m gaming too much, I usually am aware of it because I sleep worse and forget responsibilities.

Have your hours spent gaming increased over time?

Well yes, obviously. Time does sort of go forward. If I no longer spent time gaming, I wouldn’t be a gamer, and I certainly wouldn’t be filling out this questionnaire! But seriously? Nope, they’ve drastically lessened, if anything. Gettin’ old, now.

Do you blow off social events to game?

I probably have in the past, such as not visiting my best mate because of Diablo II; that game was dangerous to one’s health.

Have you lost contact with friends and family since gaming?

Don’t think so. Gaming tends to be a way I can connect with people, rather than disconnect.

Do you have intense feelings (highs, lows, anger, fear) while gaming?

Intense? I may need clarification of what you class as intense. Off-hand, I’d say that 100% used to happen when I was younger, and perhaps later on, but nowadays, not so much.

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Console or Stick with the PC?

Note: some of the following is based on my opinion.

Oh PC, how I love you so, even if you are sometimes a pain in the arse. With the release of Bethesda’s Fallout 4 and the new, updated consoles from Sony and Microsoft, I’m prompted to make a change, but I’m having a hard time deciding!

I’m currently using a PC I built myself, with Windows 8.1 operating system, an ASUS 760 OC graphics card, 8GB RAM, an i5 4690K processor on an ASUS Z97-K motherboard, various HDDs and a SATA III SSD, all housed in a Zalmon Z11 and powered by a Corsair 750TXV2.

I have an XBOX 360 still at my dad’s house, which I will eventually get back, but whether I’ll keep it or sell it is another matter, one that potentially depends on my purchase. I like that now-dated console; it plays some fantastic games, but the graphics don’t always hold up so well to today’s standards.

As mentioned, there’s Fallout 4, and although I’m bitter about the state of it, I still want it, because I love Fallout and RPGs in general. Another thing that’s important to me is that my best friend is on the XBOX One as well, and I know he wants me to get it.

The i5 4690K is a solid processor that likely won’t get old for quite some time, but my ASUS 760 OC is showing its age now with some newer games like Fallout 4. Although I don’t game on anything higher than 1080p (ASUS MX239H) so it’s not like I have some great need for something as absurd as a Titan X best left for high-end 4K gaming, although I admittedly stared at its Amazon page for a while. £829 for a graphics card? No thank you.

I am the sort of gamer who cares about fps, but I also about graphics. I’m not huge on graphics, but fps is a big thing for me; it nips at my OCD when I see invariable fps and anything at or lower than 30. I’m trying to get my head around 30fps because of the potential purchase of the XBOX One or PS4, but it stills gets to me.

As of right now, the XBOX One, on Amazon, is £276.99 without any games and with a 500GB HDD, which is plenty enough for me, I think. I consider it a very good price for such a new console. The price of a decent PC upgrade (probably an ASUS 970 OC) is £267.76. Sony’s Playstation 4 comes in at £261.99 with a 500GB HDD and also no games. The prices are all around the same area.

The current downside with buying the consoles at a good price, is that I would have to buy either one of them online (Amazon) which means if something goes wrong, I have the hassle of posting them back and trusting it all works out—I’d much rather dealing with expensive returns in the shops.

I can’t help but to think a version of the GTX 970 by nVidia would quickly become outdated, whereas the consoles would continue to, not necessarily be improved, but the games would be better-designed to take advantage of its hardware. At approximately £400, the 980 models don’t appeal to me a great deal. I like PhysX whe I can use it, and I’d feel disabled by the AMD cards as many good games seem to favor nVidia.

Fallout 4 has some nasty freezes (as seen here) on the XBOX One, particularly when traveling between certain locations, but these freezes are either non-existent or barely noticeable on the Playstation 4. Microsoft’s new console also has some nasty fps drops that can reach the low 20s. The PC version of Fallout 4, however, is definitely not without issues, such as crashes and similar fps drops.

The bonus of the PC, where Fallout 4 is concerned, is obviously the better performance and ability to raise the graphical settings. I’m not entirely sure what I can expect from an ASUS 760 OC on Fallout 4; I’m happy to sacrifice some settings to keep the 60fps going as often as possible.

If you’re wondering why I don’t just OC the heck out of my current hardware: I generally don’t OC my graphics cards or CPUs anymore as I don’t feel the need and I don’t want the extra heat.

The PC Master Race is probably squirming as I type these words because the very idea of going from PC to console is scrub-like behaviour, as the almighty kids would probably say. There are good points to each side of the fence, though.

As an adult with big-boy problems, I also have to consider the boring things I have to spend my money on, such as food and bills. I’m going to be moving soon which will likely suck a lot of money up.

As much as I’d like to dip into my savings and build something that would give any gamer bloke a woody, there are more important things to consider. If I get a console, it may last a lot longer than if I followed the graphics card lineup of the next few years, and that matters.

This decision is driving me crazy! What would you do?

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Swatting is All the Rage

What’s swatting? It’s when a pathetic piece of human waste uses someone’s personal details to call the police, as a prank, then make up horrendous crap, sometimes causing a SWAT team to be sent out to the person’s house, in all their brute, heavily armed force.

Just picture a young child happily playing a game like Call of Duty with his friends and streaming over Twitch when suddenly he hears banging on the door and angry shouting, shortly before a group of well-armed men charge into his bedroom and point loaded weapons at him; he got “swatted.”

I had no idea this was actually a thing; that those silly little trolls hiding behind their computer screens are actually weak enough to bring it to the real world in which children are at high risk of getting a bullet to the head, same goes for the families in general, and even animals such as dogs. What if a SWAT team decides a dog might be a threat because it’s defending its owner? Well, that’s a bullet to the little dog’s heart. Goodbye Dogmeat. Therapy for the traumatised family.

This has to stop—It’s absurd that it even got to this point.

Here is a YouTube video of Koopatroopa787 telling the public about his story of when 10 police officers came knocking on his door and ended up pointing several AR rifles at his family, including a little 10-year-old boy, his brother, all thanks to some malicious nobody behind a keyboard.

People need to know, for the safety of their families and themselves. Be very careful what you share with strangers online. Do you stream on Twitch? Make sure you’re safe about it. Be very wary with whom you share your address, your phone number, and even your IP. In-fact, if you’re a particularly big name, you may wish to follow in the steps of YouTube sensation, boogie2988, who also has some solid words to share on the matter.

On the bright side, one such swatter, Brandon Wilson, also known as Famed God (I know, could that sound any more pretentious?) aged 19, is facing 5 years in prison for swatting, and for making financial threats towards his victim’s banking and social security account, as well as saying that he would put the poor person’s father “in dept for life.” Brandon’s charges are known as follows:

  • Two counts of computer tampering.
  • One count of intimidation.
  • One count of identity theft.
  • One count of disorderly conduct.

Apparently, “3 other states are looking at this guy and may throw additional charges his way,” says Richard Masucci. Justice is wonderful, but it is a shame a mere 19-year-old lad, barely a man, is so messed up that he could do something so horrible.

TwT doesn’t even remotely have enough readers to massively help with the awareness of such a grave issue, but every little helps, right? Please share this post with your friends and family so that I’ll have at least done my part in raising awareness and hopefully deterring would-be “swatters.”

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Why I’m Excited for Fallout 4’s Upcoming Release

I’ve done such a silly amount of research into Fallout 4 and even Todd Howard and the male playable character, Brian Delaney. My head is full of so much info that I’m just itching to share. I’d read interviews, heard interviews, watched many videos—in-fact, I’d be surprised if there’s even any videos left for me to watch.

Luckily, having been in development since the release of its predecessor, Fallout 4 is set to release on November the 10th, and of course, this year. Do you feel that hype?

Here are some reasons (of the many) why I’m excited for the release of Fallout 4 on the PC, XBOX One, and the PS4:

No Skills, Only Perks

I’m looking forward to trying out this fantastic series without skills, although they do seem very much alive within the perks tab. There’s no more skill levels 1-100, but instead perk stars that are effectively 20 of the old familiar skill levels.

I honestly wasn’t keen on this approach to begin with, but I’ve now completely warmed up to the idea. I find the omission of skill levels and instead focusing on stars and perks adds to the immersion of the game, something Todd seems obsessed with—thank God, I mean Todd—because it takes away some of the numbers. There are plenty enough numbers in these RPGs. Besides, I don’t know about you, but I find it more attractive! Instead of a boring list with a 1-100 value, it’s cute little animations and a few stars.

No Level Cap

According to Todd, there’s not going to be a level cap. One would assume that this means the levels are infinite, but this suggests another issue: won’t you eventually end up grossly overpowered? I’m just a bit worried that having no level cap will break the game, but don’t get me wrong, I love leveling up as much as the next geek.

The idea is supposed to be that it takes a phenomenal amount of time to actually level up enough to gather all the perks at max level, which is apparently possible. Despite my concerns, I’m pretty exited for all this mad leveling.

Seeing Pre-War

Since the story starts before the bombs drop, I’m really looking forward to checking out the world, however small I expect it to be at first. While the virtual reality part of the previous game was a welcome insight, it’ll be interesting to see it outside of a virtual world and with richer detail—this stuff is real, folks; no denying it!

I shan’t be quoting and giving sources, because I’ve seen and read so many interviews that I simply cannot keep track of them all, however, Todd has said that he wanted people to become attached to the pre-war world so that they can really feel a loss when it’s, well, lost.

It’s clear that Todd and the rest of the crew really want the player to feel an emotional connection to the world, both pre- and post-war.

Dog Meat Makes a Welcome Return

I’m so pleased they brought good old Dog Meat back, but I suppose it was inevitable. I’m hoping that Dog Meat, or whatever you choose to name him (or her?), will be invulnerable, at least to a point, because it would be a shame for all that doggie hype to go to the crapper as result of one tiny death.

The dog adds something innocent to the game, I think; perhaps a reminder of how the world once was.

The Pip-Boy Gets a New Lick of Paint

Does that Pip-Boy look sexy or what? I love what Bethesda have done with this gigantic toy. The immersive way in which the Pip-Boy “screen” moves around, the sound effects, being able to actually see the tapes being inserted into the Pip-Boy’s drive, the mini games, the amusing animations, and so much more! What’s not to love?

As Todd said, in Bethesda’s games, we are often in menus staring at numbers and items for long periods of time, so they wanted to make that entertaining! Their idea is to make even the boring tasks fun; genius.

Todd is keenly aware that we’ll be doing certain things many times over, but he’s more so aware that these repeated tasks have to be enjoyable to repeat, otherwise the game simply becomes a chore.

The Voiced Protagonist

The more controversial topic of Fallout 4 is that the game will actually have a voiced protagonist, both male and female, which is a first in the series. A lot of people have kicked up a stink about this change, but I’m looking forward to it.

“Let’s go, pal.” – Brian, the genuine, humble man behind the male protagonist said on a podcast interview that he put everything into his role; he gave it his all.

I’m hearing a lot about how Courtenay Taylor—the woman behind the female protagnoist—also did a fantastic job. I’ll be primarily playing as the male protagonist, but, at some point, I will absolutely be playing as a female to let loose my inner femininity; don’t you know it, girlfriend!

I think a lot of people thought a voiced protagonist would take something away from the game, but if anything, I expect it has added a heck of a lot to it. The two actors apparently each recorded over 13,000 lines; that’s a lot! It took Brian and Courtenay 2 years to get all their lines recorded. Whew. Remind me never to be a voice actor!

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Humble Bundle Incorporates Questionable Business Practice

I’m a bit annoyed with Humble Bundle’s latest endeavor. They’re charging $12 on a monthly subscription for completely random games. They state on their website “a highly curated bundle of our favorite games at one fixed price. Includes everything from recent hits to hidden gems to timeless classics – every month.”

Note the last two categories, which they state are “hidden gems” and “timeless classics”; scrub away the persuasive language and this clearly translates to “ancient games and budget indie games most people probably won’t know or care about.”

They state the games are “suitable” for Windows and “sometimes more!” so, pray tell, what good is that for people without Windows, those who prefer to game on Linux, or even people who, for whatever reason, use Mac for games? Incidentally, what good are Linux or Mac games to Windows users who, for the most part, aren’t going to bother with other operating systems?

What happens if I already have the games? This is a likely issue when you follow a service like Humble Bundle which frequently recycle the same games—after all, there’s only so many games out there that actually grab people’s attention.

I consider this a middle finger up at gamers. It’s clearly driven by greed and it’s a disgusting practice that I thought was non-existent in Humble Bundle. Oh, but it’s OK because some money goes to charities!

5%.

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Shower with Your Dad Simulator 2015 – WTF, Valve?

I’m disgusted and pissed off. Why am I disgusted? Because the premise is of playing as a child who showers with his dad. There’s full nudity. Oh sure, they argue it’s just 8-bit, but some years ago it was still considered inappropriate to have messed up content like this. Imagry is imagry, regardless of pixel density.

I’m digusted in Valve, that they have let this so-called “game” get through into Steam. I strongly feel that people need to speak up here, because if these sort of messed up softwares are going to start appearing on Steam, we have a very serious problem.

I’m not even going to supply a link or show pictures because it’s simply not appropriate. If you would like to find out for yourself, it’s easy enough, as it’s all over YouTube.

This was very clearly an attention-seeking endeavor by the ‘developer’—I can’t even say that seriously when they make trash like this—and the sad thing is it’ll work. At the very least, I hope it gets noticed to the point of being removed from Steam.

It’s the sort of game I’d expect to reside in some sort of dark, dank, and dirty place online, not on Steam with over 125 million active users and obviously most of them will be children, some of which will be rather young children.

Disgusting.

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Fallout 4 is Soon to Arrive!

Set to release on November the 10th, this year, Fallout 4 is quite probably going to blow the minds of many gamers. I’ve just finished watching yet another video of a presentation by Todd Howard, Bethesda’s director, designer, and producer.

Firstly, I realise many are let down by the graphics; fair enough, they’re not as fancy as a lot of other games due out this year and next, or even perhaps those of which we’ve already seen, but, the graphics are still good, at times being rather excellent, at least in my opinion. More importantly, the gameplay looks to hugely over-shadow any let-down of graphics.

Fallout 4 will apparently have mod support akin to Skyrim; tied to this is the ability to have an alternative save game for the modded version of the game, so as a result, if something goes awry, your main save file won’t be useless. It sounds as though the game will technically be able to take assets from other games, but it would be illegal; if anything, this shows just how customisable and deep the game will potentially be. IGN quotes Howard stating that generally, “if someone is using assets from another game” they have to say “no, you can’t do that,” which is understandable, legally.

Regarding the graphics of Fallout 4, keep in mind that mods will likely allow for improved graphics. Skyrim doesn’t exactly look all that fantastic, at least now, but give it a few mods and it can look substantially better. I imagine in-game settings may allow for some pretty tweaks for those with a beefy rig. My biggest concern for the game is performance, followed by bugs. I do not want to play a game that has horrible optimisation—essentially, bad performance, so this use of graphics gives me some hope that they haven’t thrown every new technology at the game, resulting in snail-like FPS.

I’m excited for the new Pip-Boy—the in-game version, not the real-life, “second-screen experience” version they’re releasing with the Collector’s Edition of Fallout 4—which really adds to immersion. Even just adding a clearly visible hand onto the Pip-Boy and making the Pip-Boy more animated results in a less traditional menu feel and more of a screen within the game world feel.

The building addition to Fallout 4 looks to be a blast. I love the premise of building up a town in which NPCs live, from just rubble and junk found within the wasteland. Todd states that, “we’re allowing your character, while playing, to rebuild,” which I think is a pretty sexy concept, made even more intriguing by the visuals and fluidity of the experience shown at E3. I would like to see a cleaner looking town built up from scrap—not something that looks too recycled, like Megaton from Fallout 3, but something that looks closer to what it did before things went boom.

There’s a few mentions of “dynamic” during Todd’s presentation. Repetition—a typical tactic of a speech, which tells us that Bethesda, or Todd himself, wants to make it clear that the game will be more dynamic than its predecessors; it’s important. The use of the word dynamic, the emphasis of doing things in real-time, the focus on the Pip-Boy’s more natural, animated feel really leads me to believe Bethesda has put ample attention to the feel of the game, and the ability to feel immersed into the experience—Bethesda wants you to feel connected to the game’s world and quite probably the characters, which may lead into a potentially more in-depth storyline.

I’ll keep watching as we near the release date, and especially thereafter. I’ll be looking for bugs, performance issues, and general gameplay concerns, but in particular, I’m just quite excited to see what Bethesda have conjured up!

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Am I Too Old to Play Games?

I’m currently twenty-eight years old, almost twenty-nine, and I enjoy gaming as I have done since I was a kid. Occasionally, the Internet tells me I’m too old for gaming, that I shouldn’t be doing this, should be doing that, and recommends that I, “get a life.” Is this fair? I don’t think so; at least that’s the opinion which I voice. Deep down, like I often do, I doubt myself. So here I am, asking the question: am I too old to play games?

I think in order to attempt an answer to this question, I also have to enter into the debate of whether games are potentially a positive influence on us, helping us in various ways that actaully can make quite the difference.

But I'm so wound up!

When you’re stressed or outright angry, should you go out to the pub to get bladdered and start a fight with that local Scottish guy who keeps telling you how boney things are? Ach nae—you’re better off whipping out some hardcore games, sitting your arse in-front of a computer or TV, taking hold of that controller, and frantically smashing those buttons until you’ve had your fill. I think this works in my favor, because games are, for me, a stress-reliever, amongst other things.

What if I have no friends?

Come on, let’s face it, you’re sat at home playing World of Warcraft because there’s a big, scary world out there, with real, animated people who can physically interact with you. No? Well, I wager some of you—OK, let’s be frank—a lot of you, myself included, perhaps don’t have the best social lives, be it because we’re socially inept or simply too busy, … playing games. Whatever the reason is, there’s no denying that games offer us an alternative way in which to socialize, and so this is a point in my favor.

I played Gran Tourismo so now I can drive in real life!

Luckily, there’s a real license to acquire before one can legally drive. Behind the facetious subheading, what I’m really saying is that there is much to learn from games. I did actaully learn a lot about cars from Gran Tourismo. My dad, having a history as a mechanic, knows a lot about cars, and as such, was only too happy to tell me when I was speaking nonsense, but, surprisingly often, Gran Tourismo did a lot right. OK, you might argue that if I wanted to learn about cars, I needed only to go to college and learn such knowledge from Prof. Fancypants; well, good sir or madam, if I might interject! Isn’t playing a game a metric crap-ton more fun when it comes to learning, not to mention, as a result, more successful at teaching us things? Here’s some paraphrasing of what Wiki has to say about Gamification:

Gamification has been studied and applied in several domains, with some of the main purposes being to engage, teach, entertain, measure, and to improve the perceived ease of use of information systems.

Come on! That says it all, right? I’m sure if you dig deeper, you’ll find lots of positive studies that show how helpful it can be to play and learn, but don’t just take my word for it, or the word from the people with fancy qualifications, but instead try it for yourself!

As has been mentioned elsewhere on Taut with Thought, I’m interested in languages, specifically, English and German, but I’ve tip-toed into Dutch and French. I’m by no means a polyglot, but gamification helped me a lot with my German.

There’s a website called Duolingo that I would strongly recommend to anybody learning another language. Duolingo won’t do it all for you, but what it offers is truly useful—I think perhaps the most useful thing from Duolingo, is the community, some of whom offer sound, informative advice. I’ve also had some gamification from actaully playing regular games, like MMORPGs, but in German! The entire client all set in German, playing on German servers. Since I can’t go to Germany, that’s almost as close as I’ll get to immersing myself into the language.

My point, ladies and gentlemen, is that gamification often works, which I believe gives a solid point in my favor.

Thanks to gaming, I learned what morality means!

Admittedly, it’s probably not a great idea to base your entire moral compass on games like Grand Theft Auto, in which you eventually discover that you can get laid for the grand price of zilch, if you simply whack the hooker once you’ve done the nasty.

Wait! Put down the bat, inhale, and step away from that there dame. I’m saying Grand Theft Auto is the bad kind of thing from which to learn! Dammit, go back to your games— you’ve got more to learn about morality, son.

The thing is, and this is just a theory that just now cropped up deep within my brain, but what if games don’t teach us morality, so much as give us the opportunity to find our own morality? Perhaps you are a psychopath who enjoys boning then maiming your local prozzie; hey, that’s cool, because you discovered that from within a wonderful, vibrant game world.

I am of course mostly joking, but I think there remains a point here, somewhere, but I’m somewhat on the fence—what do you think?

Age is just a number, though.

Now that I’ve established some positive things to take from gaming, it’s time to add into the factor of age.

As we all too often see, there are a great many games that contain adult themes, such as sex, disturbing scenes, frightening imagry, and other such messed-up kit that you most definitely shouldn’t show a young child. With this in mind, doesn’t that then mean that a lot of games have been intentionally made more adult-friendly?

While a young child shouldn’t really play Grand Theft Auto, an adult sure as hell can! What about those freaky movies y’all watch on your little flick-box? What about the saucy material you read about late at night, alone, in the dark?—your sticky book made visible only by the moonlight glimming through the window pane. Come on, whether you’re in your 20s or 90s, it shouldn’t make a difference.

I just don't have the time!

Yet, you have the time to watch TV, read books, and to go out for the sole reason of getting bladdered—are you just making excuses for yourself? Games aren’t some shady, top secret you have to hide in a dark corner of your dank cellar amongst your shackled family and the used bog roll you just can’t help but to buy from eBay; that’s a thing, right?

To conclude:

Gaming may have started off as a gimmick for the incredibly bored youth of the 1970s, but that doesn’t mean we’re still living in such times.

A lot of the comments I get about my age and gaming come from kids, funnily enough; I put this squarely down to the fact that they—kids in general—have an idea that adults are all boring and serious, to which I profess: “Hell no!”

I honestly think that, logically, there shouldn’t be anything wrong with adults who enjoy playing games. I just see gaming as yet another form of entertainment, just like watching the TV, listening to music, or setting orphanages on fire.

If you’re an old fart like me and you still enjoy the odd gaming session here and there, I say go for it; ignore the kids and stuffy adults who tell you otherwise.

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A Gamer’s Nostalgia

I can’t decide if I’m taken away by nostalgia, or have just aged to the point at which I see things for what they are, as opposed to the clouded view I had as a child. That said, perhaps I also have a clouded view as an adult, due to how things were when I was a kid?

I’ve played a lot of games, over many consoles and PC setups, ranging from one of the Atari consoles, to a modern gaming PC. I still enjoy some games I play today, however, nothing will compare to some of the gaming experiences I’ve had in the past.

The first time I played Silent Hill on the PlayStation and found myself haunted by nightmares of those super-creepy creatures to which you’re introduced early on in the game—in my defense, I was far too young for such a freaky, gory game!

Silent Hill Bild
A typically gloomy look of Silent Hill that still makes me cringe.

The Metal Gear Solid franchise, when it was, as I would consider, its prime. Playing those Metal Gear Solid games was a lot of fun for me, mixed with the odd mental breakdown here and there, as I tried to get past all the VR missions and snag every dog tag; never again!

I think Metal Gear Solid appeals to a lot of males that secretly dream of being someone as badass as Solid Snake. Hideo Kojima did an absolutely fantastic job captivating people’s hearts and imaginations with this series, and I certainly hope the upcoming game, Metal Gear Solid 5 – The Phantom Pain, will live up to the name, and set itself apart from the many ‘AAA’ games that have been disappointing us with a torrent of bugs, performance issues, and subjectively lack-luster gameplay.

The RPGs, like Jade Cocoon 1 and 2; Final Fantasy 6, all the way up to X-2, which still stands at the latest Final Fantasy game I’ve played; Star Ocean – Till the End of Time, the game on which I had my first experience of what we now tend to refer to as ‘achievements’; and so many more games!

Playing Final Fantasy 8 actually inspired me to write a novel, rather hilariously called, “The Isle of Fantisle.” I was a kid, my English skills were terrible, and all I had with which to tell such a silly story, was an old typewriter and a small amount of ink which I couldn’t replace. I got seven A4 pages in before calling it quits, and to be frank, it was appalling but laughably so! Here’s an exerpt:

Where am i? Huh whats that? As i try to focus my eyes i see a dark figure holding some sort of stick like a javilen. I turn around to get my barings and to see where i am but when i look back the misterious figure dissapears. “Hello?” I asked with a frightened pitch to my voice as i haddn’t spoke since the shipwreck. No answer.

I think it’s safe to say I wouldn’t have won any awards for that, but hey, those were times long before I ever had the Internet, or even much Internet access! I think I was somewhere between 13 and 15 years old.

Playing Gran Tourismo 3 and 4. To this day, I still remember how exhilarating it was to race for 2 hours straight, and how unbelievably satisfying the end was, when you were awarded a car, some cash, and the right to shout, “I did it!”

One of the many cars you can race to your heart's content.
One of the many cars you can race in Gran Tourismo 4 to your heart’s content.

It was through playing and going on about Gran Tourismo that prompted my dad to plonk me in the driver seat of his very-real Vauxhall Astra van so I could experience what it would be like in real life. Funnily enough, I still don’t drive.

The demos! Never have I ever experienced the excitement and torture of playing a demo, than the days of old, when I would spam the first Siphon Filter, or the first Colin McRae Rally game. Nowadays, you don’t see a great deal of demos, or perhaps I’m looking in all the wrong places.

I have so many fond memories of gaming as a kid. Sure, I have since gathered more gaming memories, but nothing stands up to those first experiences and the increased inclination towards actually using my imagination; perhaps that’s what it’s about? Maybe gaming hasn’t changed all that much, besides the new technologies, and maybe we’ve simply ‘been there, done that’ so much that it’s just very difficult to find something new.

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