Okay, guys, I have something to admit. I don't know if I'm saying this in an attempt to receive some sort of support, or ridicule, or just to get this off my conscience. See, I don't play games anymore. I know that statement probably doesn't even compute for you. You're thinking, "What he means is he's probably down to only a couple of games of CounterStrike and, you know, like maybe two hours tops of Civ3 a night." But let me be very specific here. Apart from playing fifteen minutes of Population Tire (my high score is 341) yesterday, I haven't played anything. No GBA...no Cube...no PC...no stupid Java game on my phone.
Now I never claimed to be any sort of hardcore gamer. While most of you are worried about losing your hardcore gamer badge for reading walkthroughs, or not bringing your XBox live on your family vacation, I've never even owned one. I'm pretty sure Certis and Elysium just let me post here because I was a persistent forum-dweller, I'm long-winded, and I know how to find the spellcheck. As you've probably noticed, though, I haven't had much to say lately. I've never really had a whole lot to say, but that never prevented me from posting. I have always been more than happy to wax philosophical about The Industry and The State of a Console. My wife was thrilled when I started writing for GWJ because it gave me an outlet besides her for all of my indignant diatribes. Anyhow, I haven't really played any game since the open PlanetSide beta ended, and I'm seriously starting to believe I've lost the passion.
I'm at a loss for something to blame it on, which makes me all the more uncomfortable. Some may claim it's only natural to suffer some consequences after three straight weeks of long Diablo sessions followed by a week of PlanetSide addiction. I thought this may have been the problem, too, and sort of went into recharge mode for a while. I let a couple new releases go by without rushing to purchase them. I even avoided reading all your trash talk to each other about Rise of Nations for fear I would issue an inadvisable challenge in the heat of the moment and be forced to jump into a new game before I was ready. Typically these slumps only last a couple weeks before a new game slaps me awake or an old game beckons from my shelves. I used to call this my "cycle", but that term made Certis uncomfortable, so I had to reign in its use.
Others of you may point to my purchase of the most evil of machines, the Mac, as the event which triggered this stagnation. While it may be true that wandering through the Mac section of CompUSA can cause one to forget that games even exist for computers, I assure you, I have not become a Mac Gamer. I bought the Mac because it's shiny - simple as that. Those of you with a dusty Steel Battalion controller sitting in the corner like an unused Nordic Track know what I'm talking about. Now my wife pretty much just uses the PowerBook to window shop for imaginary vacations from the comfort of the couch.
Allow me to dispel the obvious assumption. I have no qualms about playing games on nice summer days. First of all, those of you who have travelled to or live on the East Coast in the past couple of months know that any excuse to be inside is a good one. I believe Maryland this year has experienced its second rainiest spring in recorded history. Not that sunny days would have stopped me from playing. I was at the height of my DOAC addiction a year ago. I can rationalize playing games during any type of weather or through any event ("They'll still send me a diploma if I don't go to graduation, right?").
So here I am, living my life sans games and gaming culture right now. Not only have I stopped playing games, but I've stopped reading about them. I've stopped looking at screenshots of them. I've stopped, and I know this may seem extreme, visiting evilavatar.com. So I don't know what I'm supposed to be excited about. Half of the time I don't even know what's coming out anymore. I actually get surprised when I walk around Best Buy.
The worst part about it all is that I don't know what has replaced gaming. My days feel pretty much the same as they always have. It's always about two hours too short...the same as ever. If I had suddenly devoted all my time to learning the ukulele, I'd at least understand why I'm not gaming. I barely watched television back when I did play game. I'm certainly not watching any more now. I'm not reading any more than usual. I'm just not playing games, and I don't know why. I have a theory, of course, as most crackpots do. I'm not positive, but I may have become a superhero. I don't know if it was a radioactive bug or gamma experiments, but somehow my genetic being has been altered. However, my superhero power isn't really very helpful. I seem to have the ability to do everything I used to be able to do, just a little bit slower. Everything from eating a meal, to sending an e-mail, to tying my shoes takes just a little bit longer than it used to. So now I've been forced to give up gaming in order to successfully complete all my other tasks in a day.
Okay, maybe not. All I know is I am apathetic toward games. I felt I owed you all, if not an actual apology, then at least an excuse. Is it really just me? You guys are all still playing games, right? I don't know if this is a plea for help, or if I'm on my way to being independently wealthy from not plonking down $50 every week on a new release. If you have any suggestions (besides that one about long walks and short piers) I'd love to hear them. I certainly miss hearing all of you whine over GameVoice just because I accidently did something I wasn't supposed to...repeatedly.