Break-ups suck. This is not likely to be especially startling news to anyone – especially given the generally mature audience Bitmob tends to attract. Nonetheless, the difficulty in losing somebody you love (whether through death or otherwise) is one of those universal obstacles in life that cannot be accurately depicted in words, but it is something everyone has dealt with and can relate to.
Recently my (now ex) girlfriend and I of two and a half years decided to go our separate ways – a mutual decision and one that was necessary but extremely difficult regardless. Going through a break up changes your perspective on just about anything – for a while you have to tread carefully because every passing moment drips with potential to remind you of him or her. Music that you once considered lifting now bears painful memories and movies about love suddenly make way more sense. My break up personally has affected me in a way I had never anticipated or even considered — I just don't enjoy videogames as much anymore.
The revelation occurred to me several days ago, and at face value I found it puzzling. Videogames, to many of us, represent an escape from reality and a means to get away from the things in life that we'd like to forget just for a short while. So when I woke up the day after the break-up, mind inexorably racing, my natural thought was that a day full of videogames would fit the bill nicely. I fired up my go-to game of the last six months, Team Fortress 2, and went to work.
It was fun, but it did nothing to make me feel better. My girlfriend was never a huge gamer, but she did enjoy the occasional videogame (she had a DS and a PS2, both of which she played regularly) and she always had an interest in what I was playing. When I started getting hooked on TF2, I showed her the excellent media Valve created to support the game and she ate it up. We watched the Meet the Team videos together several times, and even once had a fun conversation matching our mutual friends (and ourselves) to the roles of the TF2 crew (I always wound up as Engineer).
As one could imagine, it didn't take long for these memories to crop up whenever I jumped in a game. Of course, it makes perfect sense. As human beings we attach memories to just about everything we do, something that becomes painfully apparent after a break-up. So, as a solution to this problem I decided that maybe it'd be best if I dropped TF2 for a while and instead picked up a few videogames I had never played before. Christmas was a wonderful time to accomplish this, and I've recently gotten started on Mirror's Edge, Arkham Asylum, and Brutal Legend.
That didn't help. Befuddled, I decided to force myself to continue playing with the hope that things would click and my love affair with videogames would be reignited. It didn't happen, and I realized that the more I played the more isolated I felt. And that, I discovered, was exactly the problem. Hopeful, I tried playing multiplayer games for the interaction with others but that too did little to console me. I was left with the painful realization of the problem at its core: suddenly playing videogames makes me feel alone.
The phenomenom is particularly strange because other activities such as watching a movie by myself or going for a run are remedial. Why, then, are videogames betraying me when I need them most? While I can't unearth the psychological reasons, I'm decidedly resolved to continue the hobby which has kept me occupied for the better part of my life.
Certainly, I will take this opportunity to persue other hobbies and catch up on those that I've neglected (such as writing), but so long as I have two hands I'm going to continue playing videogames. As I am sure I will someday find that right girl for me, I'm equally certain that my adoration of videogames will return sooner than later.
A lot of people will tell you that life is full of highs and lows. My philosophy is that the secret to enjoying life is to enjoy not only the good times, but also to enjoy solving the problems life throws at you. I'd like to think this is another example — I guess you could say that's the Engineer in me.