So, I'm back in England after finishing my two year teaching contract in Cambodia and this event has seen me become reflective about my gaming habits. I am now 32 and the older I get, the less games appeal to me- a sad but common story I'm sure. A few weeks ago whilst waiting to find a job and home for my wife and I, I sat in Shaldon, Devon with my trusty Wii and my library of retro NES, SNES and Megadrive games and thought about my gaming habits. It seemed that things had gone a little downhill for the once all-consuming pastime of mine. It wasn’t always like this though as computers and gaming came into my life early on. I often found myself lost in some world on my Amstrad CPC 464 or my friends NES. Whatever game came to hand would consume me and my best friend for days or even weeks.
As the industry grew and me along with it this all changed: new systems, new magazines, new games, new gamers and new zinesters. The tradition of owning one gaming system wasn’t enough and the stack of games in progress grew to unmanageable proportions. To differentiate myself from the influx of hardcore fanboys, especially the rabid Playstation and Xbox hardcore element, I sidelined in retro gaming, collecting rarer gems and building my collection of classic Amstrad, Megadrive, SNES, Playstation 1 and 2 and Gamecube games.
However somewhere along the line things changed. Time got shorter or the games got worse, but probably neither. Over the last couple of years my gaming list has consisted of Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars, Superbrothers: Swords and Sworcery, Dear Esther, Zelda: Skyward Sword, Journey, Donkey Kong Country Returns, Braid and Pandora’s Tower. The insatiable appetite of my teens and twenties has long since disappeared but once again I find myself engrossed contentedly in one title at a time. I’ve realised that I’ve come full circle, in a way. The passion for the wider gaming experience may have gone but it’s freed me to experience the games I do play in a much more rewarding way. Whilst living in Cambodia I had access to any game at next to no price (usually $1.50 per game) due to the country having no copyright laws, and so my access to games had never been easier but I was very selective with the games I played. Games like 'Journey' have an interesting multiplayer element and it is this that engaged me and encouraged me to try the online world again after the banality of 'Call of Duty'. Otherwise I am happy playing through a game on my own, immersed and engaged. Games are what you make of them and I am enjoying my time carefully working my way through one at a time.
What are your gaming habits like and have your tastes changed over the years? Let me know as I'd be interested to hear.