Editor's note: I'm constantly thinking about the issues that Matthew highlights here. With parenthood comes new responsibility: How does one keep up with the fast-moving culture of video games, then? By focusing my passion for the pastime into writing for Bitmob, I think I'm one step closer to the answer. -Rob
Last week, my wife and I welcomed another baby boy into this crazy world.
After the excitement died down and life returned to what I like to call "the new normal," I found myself in a similar frame of thought as when our last child was born: reflective, contemplative, and wondering what effect midnight feedings and soccer-practice runs would have on my hobby of choice — gaming.
I'd read somewhere that a lot of people — typically of the male persuasion — have a hard time giving up their independence as well as their already scant free time to diaper changes and impromptu baths.
It's rough when your little bubble of personal space is summarily popped by rug rats riding stick horses and packing rubber-band guns. With our last youngling, I eventually adjusted and actually learned to better appreciate my constant need to twiddle my thumbs in front of a television.
Naturally, when number three decided to part with the womb, I wondered when those overwhelming feelings of loss would show up and cause me to grasp at the slipping straws that were my playtime. One week later, it still hasn't hit me. And I don't think that it will.
I can't really summarize what video games mean to me; they strike me in both profound and simple ways. That will never change. Where I've found my path diverging is how I've come to appreciate them.
At first, I found myself lost in wonderment of the culture and the thrill of technological progress that surround games. Nowadays, I've laser-focused on my past experiences and how they affect me personally in addition to how I view the world at large.
That's my Freudian way of saying that I can't keep up with (or afford) the flavors of the week. Instead, I enjoy the handful of titles that tickle my fancy, and I follow gaming society more passively.
This shift didn't just happen with games, either — every form of media or entertainment also went through a similar filter. At some point, you reach an age where you worry less about learning all you can and instead seek out the things that appeal to you on either an emotional or intellectual level.
I'll always be curious about new developments in video games; but I don't feel a need to jump onto every bandwagon that comes along. My blog posts are always months behind everyone else as far as cultural relevancy is concerned; I have more to write about when I take my sweet time as opposed to dashing through each new release. I'll get to Mass Effect 2 in due time. For now, I'm happy with saving Ferelden in Dragon Age: Origins.
The need for entitlement in order to gain some sort of fleeting acceptance in a community of anonymous pontificators has seemingly faded away as well. Picture me swinging a cane while sitting in my rocking chair if you must — but quite frankly, I'm too old for that kind of shit.
A certain amount of ego-stroking is prevalent in social gaming sites, which is why I decompress on my own terms these days. Popularity is a carnal need for any human, but it's much more meaningful from thought-provoking conversation and opinions than via clicks, hits, thumbs ups, and arbitrary comments.
I don't have an army of Twitter followers and the traffic on my personal blog is as laughably sparse as that of any highway in my home state of South Dakota. But those who do stop at my desert oasis/lemonade stand are people whom I'd unflinchingly call friends — even if I've never met them in person.
It's funny that I'm writing all of this — they are the exact same thoughts that ran through my head two years ago. The difference is that I'm more confident in saying it this time around because I believe it.
It's not some diatribe that explicitly tells you what it's going to be like to be a gamer when you reach your thirties — it's an affirmation to all of us who've ever wondered if they're losing a part of themselves because they're spending more time pushing kids on a swing set and less time running over hookers to get their money back after a virtual dalliance. Change is inevitable, but change isn't necessarily bad.
Now if you'll excuse me, I need to hobble over to my porch — there's some vagrants that I need to chase off my lawn….
I'm not a real games journalist; I just play one on the Internet. If you like what you read here, feel free to visit my personal blog, The Question Block, or listen to more frequent ramblings via my Twitter @MHMason.
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