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Smug manEditor's note: Throughout high school, students are encouraged to make a career out of their interests. At first, it seems like perfectly reasonable advice. But Tony disagrees. Via mucus-filled anecdotes, he explains why turning your passion into a paycheck can be dangerous. -Omar

But that isn't what really bothers me. In fact, I'm not even too troubled by the fact that he insists on wiping the mucus six inches from my leg. What really bothers me is the distraction he represents. This ill-mannered businessman has drawn my attention from Bejeweled Blitz 2, The Freelancer's Podcast nibbling at my ears, and the crossword I have tucked underneath my leg.

Something happened as I looked up at his disgusting forefinger and simultaneously imagined how much money it would take for me to lick it.

I asked myself: Am I disconnected?


And no, I'm not talking about my finger-licking whim. Instead, I'm troubled by my own anger. A normal person would have become upset by the snot, while I was left frustrated that this guy took me out of my gaming mind set. I love games, but something has changed in the last year or two since I took the next step with my gaming experiences:


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1. I take games more seriously than ever while critiquing, studying, and gossiping about them.

2. I've become part of the gaming press, which has given me the excuse to take my knowledge and opinions to an even more severe level of analysis.

These two facts have not only allowed me to delve deeper into the world I love, but have caused me to lose the innocence I once had. My new-found knowledge has improved and exposed my writing, both of which I'm thankful for. My opinions have graced the pages of many websites and allowed for me to interact with an audience that is honest and genuinely cares.

My recognition of the importance of gaming has led to a question inspired by this nose-picking suit: Have I (we) been taking games too seriously?

South ParkContrasting the gamer I used to be with the one I am reveals issues I hadn't thought about before. I'm more informed and I've learned more about this industry than I ever thought I would. But with that comes the undeniable feeling that at times, games have become something I must do daily, rather than something I did whenever I got around to it.

Gaming has always been about forgetting my daily problems and embracing a form of meditation in my own home. It used to be a pleasure. At the moment, I'm feeling burnt out with the 10 to 15 podcasts rotating on my iPhone. I'm constantly refreshing Bitmob, Kombo, Kotaku, and Twitter in my browser. I feel the need to disconnect on a level in order to recapture the little bit of my former self.

Have our hardcore attitudes and obsessive behavior cultivated a snobbishness within us? Has it taken some of the enjoyment out of our gaming experiences? The task of reviewing, commenting, or talking about a game in detail creates disillusionment. I've noticed writers and gamers alike highlighting trivial issues in order to sustain reviews. "It could have used one more compartment for ammo." I agree, duly noted. But does it need to take up two paragraphs of an article or a 20 minute conversation in a podcast? No, it was a great game. If you need to bring up something that minute, the game deserves a 10 as far as I'm concerned. We are not perfect. Movies are not perfect. Games are not perfect. We need to stop acting as if they should be.

In light of this, I'm going to shut down this computer, turn my off my iPhone, and look out the window for a bit. Next, I'll summon the courage to ask this man to politely stop wiping his sea green-colored snot next to my leg. Like us, he's not fooling anybody.

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