Confessions of a Former Gamer

Cold steel in hand with one shot left. My secondary, not much better. I had just dropped down to the lower level and was looking to catch my breath.  This was apparently not going to happen. Coming at me was an opposing player, Energy Sword in hand.  I charged, and pulled the trigger a split second before impact. Frag count +1. Shot gun spent, I switch to my secondary.  Rifle empty.  Rounding the corner was another opponent. Rifle butt to the head. Frag count +2. Drop empty rifle and pick up latest victims sword (one slash left). A split second later, frag count +3. I pick up this victims shot-gun, turn around, and 2 shots later, frag count +4 and 5.  KILLING SPREE!!!  This all happened within a matter of 3 second, and I had single-handedly taken out all of the opposing team.  I jumped to my feet and looked around the room to see if anyone had just seen this display of awesomeness.  Empty basement.  I fist pumped the air a few times, sat back down, and continued the round.  Hi, I’m Matt and I’m 4 years Gamer sober.

If you understood any of that then you must be a former or current “Gamer.”  If you are not of the former variety, then you too can be cured.  I found the easiest way was to get married and have a kid.  If you have children and can still classify yourself as a gamer then you are doing something wrong. In my best Jedi voice, “Go home and rethink your life.”

Gamerness (I think I just created a new word) doesn’t just appear, it grows.  It all started for me way back in the days of the Sega Genesis and a game called ToeJam and Earl.  A buddy and I stayed up all night playing this game to find out that we had missed something on one of the first few levels.  We fell all the way down, but threw in the towel working our way back up.  This wasn’t the beginning of the addiction, but it was a signal of things to come.

In highschool, a group of us installed Doom II on the networked computers in our library.  We hid them so far down in the file structure that only a few of us knew exactly where to go to run it.  Ah, the days of Dos.  I believe half of the fun was knowing more than the, so-called, IT guys working for the school at the time.  They never found it, and the librarians didn’t care, so we had multiplayer battles over the network every morning before classes started.  This was the hook, the first person shooter.

As the technology increased, so did the amount we played.  It’s good to point out that it wasn’t just me in this alone.  You need people to play with to really get you hooked.  Today it is so much easier with internet game play, but for us we had to get together to play.  This actual sheds a little light on what could be a bigger issue for kids these days.  Where we still had the real in-person interaction, kids now can be completely antisocial and hooked on video games.  This is not a good thing for their developement and should be monitored. *Off my soapbox, back to the fun.

So the progression went something like this: Duke Nukem, Golden Eye, Quake, and then I went to college.  This is when the real explosion began.  I probably stayed up way to late more times than I can remember freshman year playing Half Life.  Half Life, and all of its mods(mainly CounterStrike), was my first real foray into online gaming.  You know it’s bad when, at 2am, you’re running down the hall to taunt one of your dormmates after a vicious frag.

Junior year I dabbled a little with Diablo 2, and the Sims. Quake 2 arena was out at this point I think, but it never really stuck.  Probably because my computer was dated by this point and it didn’t run very well.  Not sure of the cause for the drop off, but getting married in college led to very little video game playing.

Eventually I purchased a Playstation 2 and got hooked on Socom and Socom 2.  Then it all changed. We’re talking Colts going to Indianapolis type of change.  It was like switching from standard definition to HD, Folgers to Starbucks, and O’brien to Fallon.  Enter the Xbox and Halo 2.  There isn’t much better than tagging a smack talking 12 year-old with a plasma grenade and watching him run into a group of his other foul-mouthed friends. Frag count +6,7,8,9, and 10.  RUNNING RIOT!!!

Halo 2 was the only game I’d play for like a whole year.  If you’re wondering, ConcededNewt.  Sorry if I fragged you. Wait, no I’m not.  I sold the PS2 and Xbox to raise funds for a Wii when it came out.  Short story, had to stalk a UPS guy to get to a store before the delivery to purchase the hot item.  The Wii was the cure.  Kind of like Vanilla Coke curing a Mountain Dew addiction.

So, gamer sober for 4 years feels pretty good.  I got sucked into Farmville and Mafia Wars on Facebook, but only for a little while.  I hear that Oregon Trail is now on Facebook, I might have to try it out.  I just need to be careful because it’s another game all about the frag count.  You’re thinking, “huh, what frag count?” Hey, if you aren’t trying to give Jimmy dysentery and Sarah a broken arm, then you aren’t playing it right.  Travel Party count -1 and 2.

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