I am approaching 36 now. I grew up immersing myself in the world of video games. It was and still is a source of real joy for me. From my first Golden China console to my Playstation 4. I read about games, talk about them, and generally love them. So far, only two hobbies have been with me the majority of my life, gaming and writing and gaming was around when I was too young to write, so I have longer history with it. When I play games, the real world falls away. It is much more intense than any book, or movie. You operate and function within these worlds created by the developers, and you are actively effecting and participating in it, and now, as games become more hyper realistic, the effect is becoming more and more intense.
This is really an incredible thing if you sit back and think about it for a minute. There has never been a period in my life that I have not been enchanted with video games and their promise of further and deeper immersion. Gaming is much easier to see as escapism because you put yourself in a fictional person’s shoes and live in their world and tackle their challenges. You have agency in video games that you lack in other forms of media like movies and books where even if you can’t ultimately change the ending, there’s a lot of different ways to get there in video games. Like most people I have had phases come and go in my life.
Things I loved for years I lost interest in almost instantly. I used to be hard-core Otaku/Anime nerd, like obsessively so. Then one day I just lost interest. I used to be a Goth, then grew out of that. My tastes in music have changed, my taste in movies, etc. And yet, through it all, I have always been a gamer. Gaming has always been my joy, my passion, my escape, and my release and the one constant in my life. I see people the same age as me and all they talk about is kids, sports, building things on their house, finances, and other things that I have literally zero interest in. Don’t get me wrong I have no intention of over-doing gaming, or using it to avoid responsibility. And I do have an “adult list” of things that I do and attend to on a weekly basis.
But gaming is my “go to guy” when I want to switch off and relax. I have also noticed as I have gotten older, the hardest thing for me is finding a block of time to immerse myself in a game. With a family wife and child vying for my time. It is almost impossible to do anything anymore at home that requires solitude or quiet. My house is “busy” 24/7, and that lack of privacy and “me time” has seriously disrupted my ability to enjoy most any hobby that I used to enjoy. I still enjoy gaming, it’s just way, way harder to do it the way that I want. But after years of trying to get it right I think I have found a balance, I do however now and then yearn for my younger years were I could play games for hours on end and ignore/forget all my responsibilities.
I think a lot of us older gamers have run into that issue of maybe feeling too grown up for games, even if we didn’t necessarily stop playing. Perhaps it’s the stigma attached to video games. Even though it is the most popular entertainment medium out there currently, it still has that stigma of being something for kids. So maybe we slowly drift away because we end up thinking that in some form or fashion. And many of us come to the realization that a fun hobby is a fun hobby, regardless of how others view it. Just like any other hobby or passion, it’s something to have fun with and relax you and get you away from the stress of the rest of your life.
I also come to realize that you can be a responsible adult and contributing member of society who also loves to play video games. And each new game I experience is just as exciting as it was when my parents got me my first Golden China console for Christmas when I was 12. I am also extremely thankful to be alive through this period of history, specifically because of video games and what they represent to me. For me to go lose interest in the medium would be for me to lose a piece of who I am. My life does not revolve around gaming in a tangible way, I have an active social life and job with no basis in gaming. I’m just some guy that, at his very core, loves video games…