It’s been a tough few weeks for me. After losing my job last week, I was having trouble focusing on what I should be doing next with my career. Obviously it’s all about finding my next job, but times are tight and I've been struggling to have things "work out". Luckily, Co-Optimus has been keeping me busy with work while I job hunt. Needless to say, I’ve been doing a bunch of gaming, which has also lead me to falling in love with a series that I had previously chosen to ignore.
With income being scarce, I’ve been keeping patient until the games I really want arrive in stores. Even then, I was always a very picky gamer and played what I liked to play. My video game library is very specific, and I only keep the very best games (IMO) on me and sell off the rest; I need to make room for those that exist in my “legendary” status of video games. The only games I’m really looking forward to coming out in the next 8 months are Minecraft and Bioshock Infinite. Those are the two that I really care about buying myself. Everything else is simply a distraction until then. That doesn’t mean I don’t like to try out new games, I just won’t buy them. And now being out of a job makes buying games, that are well worth it, all the more important. I might be low on cash, but I’ll still buy games that I've been waiting months, even years to play (I’m like a smoking addict for gaming in that sense). But that got me thinking about why I am so picky about owning/playing games.
I choose what I want to play and decide to forgo the rest, many of which are some decent titles, like Mass Effect 3 (Yes, I know the ending sucks). But if don’t play as many games as there are coming out, does that make me any less of a gamer? Does being a “gamer” mean to play as many games as possible, or to play them to their fullest? Do I have to buy a lot of games to be considered a "gamer"? It’s sort of the age-old debate of quality over quantity, really.
Sure, I might miss out on a title or two, or not experience those certain gaming moments that become instant lifelong memories or internet memes, but I don’t feel I’m any less of a gamer than anyone else. Whatever game I choose to own, I choose to make the most of it. Scouring the game for every achievement or unlockable item, that is my way of expressing my inner gamer. One thing's for sure: I get my money's worth out of my games.
My buddy Richie, who plays more games then I will ever own in my lifetime, gets me into some of the strangest titles that I probably would’ve never touched otherwise. My undying love for Left 4 Dead and Valve came from him. For that, I am ever grateful for his never ending obsessive compulsive game purchases. He will most likely play more games than I ever will in my lifetime, mainly because I choose to be picky. But this once again brought me back to my question: Is a "gamer" really identified as someone who just plays a shit ton of games, or someone who cherishes each game in every aspect it holds?
A sequel to a favorite game of his is coming up soon, Borderlands 2. He asked me if I was going to get it. I told him:
After getting lectured angrily why I should buy the game come November, I still told him I most likely wouldn’t buy it. Not because I was opposed to playing the game or had some sort deep hatred for Borderlands, I just didn’t find any reason as to why I shouldn’t just bypass the game completely. I never played Borderlands before now, so what motivation was there for me to buy the second? Next thing I know, Richie hands me a pre-owned copy of Borderlands and tells me to just play it with him one night and see what I think.
Borderlands 2 is not too far off, and since I did that news post about the Mechromancer a week or so ago and got a bit intrigued by her character, I decided to give Borderlands a go. After choosing my Siren character and making her look a bit like Azazel from X-men: Origins (because she’s sort of like a teleporter), I went on a small playthrough with him and worked on my character. Richie was obviously way ahead of me lvl wise in his own game, so I had to sort of play catch up with him, but at least I get to experience the game for what it was: simply awesome. I'm now kicking myself for not getting into the game sooner!
If Richie hadn’t have gone out of his way to convince me to play a game I chose to breeze over, I probably would have missed out on one hell of a game series that I'm now addicted to. I agree that my choosing to be picky can make me miss out on a game or two, but I don’t think that makes me any less of a gamer because I pick and choose which games are right for me. I do, however, think that experiencing as many games as possible will definitely land me some favorites that will lead to many more memories made.
So which makes a gamer a "gamer": playing for quality or quantity? I’d say a little bit of both. Being a gamer is what you choose to make of your experiences with them, whether or not you choose to own and play a lot of games, or just a few of them played dozens of times. But if you choose to only pick a few games to own and cherish, be open to trying out new games as well, because you might not know what you’d be missing. I might not be buying as many games for myself right now, but I am most certainly keeping up with them and not missing out; if not through my wallet, but through Richie’s.