This post has not been edited by the GamesBeat staff. Opinions by GamesBeat community writers do not necessarily reflect those of the staff.
Hurrah, an excuse to write about my favourite subject.
My name is Raymond Williams. I’m 32 years-old and live in Glasgow, Scotland (which is in England, lol etc). I work in an office as person who clicks mouse a lot. I’ve had an Xbox 360 for a few years now, and last year I bought a PS3. My favourite game is Half-Life 2, with Uncharted 2 a close second.
Nowadays I don’t game that much, maybe two or three hours a week, with the occasional weekend binge. Currently I’m playing through GTA IV again (for reasons that’ll be explained in a future post) and have resumed Far Cry 2 (a game that amazes and frustrates me in equal measure). It may be obvious that I’m not exactly on the cutting edge of gaming.
I gamed when I was younger, on the Commodore 64 (favourite game: Octapolis) and the SNES (Super Mario World). Gaming got sidelined when I went to college and uni. I inherited a Nintendo 64 and occasionally dabbled with GoldenEye and Mario Kart 64, but most of my free time was spent watching films and drinking. When I ended up with a full-time job and a girlfriend, gaming disappeared completely. A few years later the full-time employment was gone (not coincidentally, so was the girlfriend). Intense hobbies often grow from an unbalanced life; I had a lot of free time on my hands and little to fill it with. Exercise? Pfft.
I went to visit a friend who had an Xbox. My only previous experience with this machine was a brief shot of Halo 2 in an electronics shop. The controller was huge and unwieldly, and for some absurd reason had two thumbsticks (that'll never catch on). But this Xbox experience, this was different. I played Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and Black. The controller felt much smaller (it was) and easier to handle. I was hooked. I bought an Xbox weeks later.
Thus began a period of my life where I spent a lot of time in bed. I drank quite a lot back then, and Xboxing was a good way to pass time while sweating out a hangover (though playing Burnout wasn’t great for the nausea). I amassed a collection of some 70 games, finishing half of them at most. As CJ, I cruised the countryside of San Andreas in stolen trucks and bikes. As Sam Fisher I hung from pipes and incapacitated henchmen
I was quietly content with my lovely little box of wonders. Then I visited the same friend who hooked me on the Xbox. He'd levelled up; in his living room sat a shiny new Xbox 360. It was white and pretty and slick, green lights danced when it was switched on. I watched him put a game in and waited for him to attach the controller cables. Wireless controllers? We played Gears of War. I spent as much time examining the detail on the walls and buildings as I did fragging Locust. Then on to Saint’s Row. I stood atop a hill and watched the city stretch out around me. The fog of gaming was gone. My mind was blown.
I left his house in a fog of my own. I wanted one of these wonderful 360 things, but without permanent work I couldn’t justify the cost. Then weeks later I again went back my digital drug dealer’s house. The Orange Box was waiting. Caution was thrown to the wind; weeks later I had a 360 of my own.
My gaming obsession continued. I was exposed to online multiplayer (something I had little experience of). I got hooked on Modern Warfare 1 and 2, racking up days of play from the stale confines of my bedroom. Games piled up, getting a few hours in the spotlight before going back in their cases. I was now in full-time employment, but I still spent most nights gaming. I developed a disturbing routine: I’d often get home from work at 5pm on a Friday, fire up the 360 and take to bed, barely leaving it until Monday morning.
A woman invaded my life. I began to spend more and more time at her house (despite her not owning a games console). One day I moved my old Xbox in and demanded she play Halo 2 with me. Somehow we’re still together.
Then I moved in. The 360 followed. My gaming gradually decreased to the occasional shot of NBA 2K9 on a Saturday morning. We bought a house together and I got myself a Man Cave. The 360 lives there, for the most part gathering dust. Our new addition to the family – a PS3 – took pride of place in the living room. Uncharted 2 blew me away, Killzone 3 was great fun. Then I went through a period where games weren’t much fun. They seemed more a waste of time than anything an adult could justify spending much time on. I was playing because I felt like I should, but the fun had petered out.
As the Game Group began its death throes I rushed in to use my remaining credit. I left with GTA IV and Heavy Rain. With great joy I (as Niko, not on the way home) spun a car into a group of innocent pedestrians and firebombed some women chatting on a street corner. I laughed as Heavy Rain made me brush my teeth. I shook my head in amused disbelief that a game exists in which you have to gently place plates on a table so as not to annoy your wife. My love for games came roaring back.
Which leads me back to the present. I expect my gaming routine of a few hours of play a week to continue. I have a wedding to organise, a backlog of TV to catch up on, a beer belly to reduce; gaming has to take a back seat. I’ll chip away at my backlog of games a bit at a time, like a prisoner digging an escape tunnel with a spoon. I’m behind the times and will probably stay that way for the foreseeable future. So if you’re messing around on your Xbox 720s and PS4s, controlling games with a flare of your nostrils, and you wonder who the guy is posting about the Mass Effect 3 ending, that’ll be me.
Nice to meet you.