Gamer’s Diary: You’re Getting Old My Guy!
I start to come to grips about my love for video games, getting older, dealing with my mortality, and possibly the fear of losing interest altogether
Editor’s Note: I initially wrote this article way back on May 29 but I never got around to finishing it due to other articles I wanted to get out at the time plus due to personal reasons I couldn’t finish this on time so assuming any of you read this, consider the timeframe it was written. Uh, take it for what you will. Thank you again for reading my content. It makes me smile people will take the time to read this stuff.
Today’s my birthday. I’m now officially a 34 year old Ghanaian-American man. And I still love video games.
I often make the joke that I don’t feel any older every time it’s my birthday despite the many gray hairs I’ve been growing, especially in places I didn’t think you’d ever see gray hair (good grief). I eventually stopped caring about a “birthday celebration” right around the time I turned 28. To me, there wasn’t anything special or unique about my age. It was just another evolution of my existence and nothing more. You get old, live your life, and you pass on. The end. Nothing remotely unique about it since that is essentially the human journey. I’ve pretty much accepted that as my definitive reality.
This year feels different.
This year I actually had to ponder my age and my future. While I’m grateful for reaching 34 years old, I also had to grapple with the fact that I will have to take another leap into my life. I also wondered if I do plan on playing games for the rest of my life. It’s weird because I haven’t had to deal with this feeling in over seven years. That was the last time I stopped playing games and literally had to face the reality that I was getting older and may not have that luxury to delve into my favorite hobby anymore.
It’s probably due to the fact that we are in the midst of a global pandemic and I had an unfortunate experience of dealing with my mortality for the first time in a real long time. I tested positive for the COVID-19 virus back in April and I spent the month holed up in my room dealing with nasty coughs, constant fatigue, and all manner of unpleasantness you can think of. Funny enough, the doctor said it’s a “mild case.” So I guess I should be grateful that it didn’t get worse. Still, it wasn’t a fun experience. I had to be isolated from my family and it was even worse when some of them treated me like a “patient” instead of a human being. All conversations were in regards to my sickness, how I needed to stay away, whether or not if I’m constantly spraying my room or washing my sheets, or how I’m not allowed to move around even just to simply grab a snack. It really sucked and I felt even more alone at the comfort of my own home.
Ironically enough, video games were what kept me positive during the whole experience.
Lucky for me, a game I’ve been waiting for since 2015 FINALLY released and it couldn’t have came out at a better time. Final Fantasy VII Remake kept me from feeling down due to just how good the game was and how much fun I was having despite being quarantined. I jumped at the chance of playing Cloud and his friends again since I played the original game back in 1997. Through its 40 hour campaign, I made sure to take nothing for granted and enjoy everything this game offered me. I was feeling very depressed and stressed out prior to getting the game in my mailbox and this was the necessary “pick-me-up”/distraction needed from the illness since playing video games was the only constant joy in my life since childhood. Heck, I was nervous about finishing the game since I completed every sidequest, got every weapon, maxed out most of my Materia and started thinking, “ah fiddlesticks. I actually have to finish this thing. What am I gonna do now? The Last of Us Part II, Ghost of Tsushima and Cyberpunk 2077 are still miles away from being released and who knows if I’ll play any of those games?!” Lucky for me, I’m still here. I feel better and more energized than I have been in a long time. Despite some mental struggles, I’m feeling okay now. I’m back to work now and just finished FF7 Remake and currently writing about that game’s ending.
And that whole experience reminded me why I love playing video games and how it may be difficult for me to ever retire from playing games again.
I started playing video games when I was about 3–4 years old. My big sister was a hardcore gamer and she had the original Nintendo Entertainment System (the Famicom for so-called “purists”). Over the years, I jumped to different consoles and played games on each one. From Nintendo and SEGA’s rivalry in the early 1990s, to the 3D polygon evolution of the Sony PlayStation One and Nintendo 64 in the mid to late 90s, to the explosive sound and graphic design evolution with the Sony PlayStation 2, Nintendo Gamecube, Microsoft Xbox, and the SEGA Dreamcast (RIP you misunderstood console you). Then we had the awkward, yet innovative jump to High Definition gaming and motion controls with the Seventh Generation Consoles of the Sony PlayStation 3, Microsoft Xbox 360, and the Nintendo Wii. I’ve seen them all and played them all.
And that came to an end in September 2013.
At the time, I had just picked up a job at King of Prussia, PA where I worked as a copywriter (and eventually editor) and my time was increasingly busy due to me working the night shift. I already learned of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One eventually coming out that year and I didn’t have much interest despite how good those games looked. I was too engulfed with my time as a writer and moving on to other things where I pretty much just became satisfied with the idea of not playing games anymore. At the time, the last AAA game I played was Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us. I finished the game towards the end of the year and had recently picked up Grand Theft Auto V but I wasn’t particularly interested in playing that game despite how good it was. I was just tired and lacked any real motivation. As time went on, it started to collect dust and eventually I decided to just sell the game back, use the funds to pay off a medical bill and kept it moving. I pretty much accepted the fact that I was getting old, had no desire to keep playing games, and officially put down the controller and said I’m good. No regrets.
Unfortunately (or fortunately depending how you view it) I had friends who would be damned if I said “enough was enough.”
I was off games for at least three years. I’ve been bugged by my friends letting me know about the new generation of games that I should check it out and for the most part I was cool but I wasn’t really interested. Ironically, it would be E3 2015 that my old gaming spirit would perk up again when the trailers for Final Fantasy VII Remake and Kingdom Hearts 3 appeared as well as the gameplay footage of Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End and man that was hype! I was like, “oh wow! They look cool. I might give those games a chance but I still need a big push for me to pick up the controller again.”
It would be a year later at E3 2016 when an old friend reappeared and motivated me to play video games once more.
God of War (2018) was rumored to appear at E3 2016 and I couldn’t believe that Kratos was once again back at it for some more “god-killing” hardcore action. After watching the trailer, I was sold. I got hooked by the impressive visuals and wanted to know more about the game’s story, combat, and how it plans on reinventing the franchise. I really wanted to see what this game had in stored and after Uncharted 4’s recent release at the time, I decided to come out of retirement and once again play video games for fun.
Since 2016 I’ve been back on the gaming tip again and I usually play games as a stress-reliever from the daily grind and fatigue of day-to-day life. Sometimes I just want to engross myself in Norse Mythology and become a powerful warrior just to get away from the world’s troubles. It’s something that I used to do when I was younger and I still end up doing now. It’s a hobby and a fun hobby! Games make life fun for me and I’m actually at peace when I play it even when I get frustrated when a game’s boss hands me the beatdown of my life.
And yet, despite all this, lately I’ve been asking myself if this is okay? Do I really need to play games as a stress reliever or pure entertainment? Will I do this for the rest of my life?
I’ve slowly started to accept the fact that I probably will never get bored of playing games. At least not now anyways.
I mean there’s always the possibility that I may eventually get bored and tired of games again and retire for good. As of now, I have yet to get that feeling again. I’ve seen plenty of game reviewers, critics, and media personnel who still play video games well into their late 40s and even early 50s. I always thought that was weird as a kid but I would love to be in a position where I could play games with my kids and have fun with it. I remember playing Tekken 7 with my niece and she was having fun beating me with any of the characters she plays and I often have a good chuckle out of it because it’s fun sharing that fun with a younger generation! Plus, she digs it when I tell her about my history with games and she’s intrigued by stuff she never witnessed first hand like the very first PlayStation or the nature of the Dreamcast or how the original Kingdom Hearts had a fairly simple story. Stuff like that got her interested in games and it’s fun talking to her about it. I feel I probably have that kind of relationship with my children some day.
I hope I never lose interest playing video games. I still go through runs where I try to play as many games as I possibly can and enjoy my time and experiences with them. The PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X are coming out and the Nintendo Switch is already making waves and I plan on purchasing that eventually. I saw trailers for an assortment of games for those consoles and I admit I’d lie if I wasn’t fascinated by those games so better believe I plan on spending time with them soon. I had my fun experiences playing games with my big sister, later on my younger siblings, and soon my friends and peers over the years. I enjoyed being part of a fun gaming community for better or worse. I love playing games with my niece and I do plan on continuing this journey when I eventually have children of my own.
Yup, I’m getting old but the gamer in me will continue to stay young at heart. Yeah, I still love video games and I’m cool with that.