Life, The Universe, And Gaming — In Which Srsbsns Takes A Back Seat [Column]
It is commonplace these days for every opinion column that has to do with gaming to go about cryfacing about this, that or the other aspect of gaming that is alleged to be inherently problematic and therefore worth cryfacing about.
This is me taking a stand against srsbsns columns. Let there be lulz, I say!
In my attempt to go about doing so, I’d like to talk about the one thing that never ceases to disappoint, when I look at gaming today. The one aspect of gaming that, regardless of how I’m feeling on that particular day, or what sort of game I’m playing, never fails to bring a happiness that is unrivalled amongst other forms of media, as well as other passions that one may have, in life.
Dare I call it akin to that feeling when you’ve just spent a day with a loved one, and possibly got lucky after.
Okay maybe that’s going too far, but you get the point.
Put simply, there is this euphoric feeling in gaming that every gamer has felt, at some point or another.
No, not the physical simulation engine that Rockstar touts, although that engine has brought much happiness as well, in such games as Grand Theft Auto IV and Red Dead Redemption. But no.
What I speak of is that happy feeling that comes with the realisation and acknowledgement of the fact that you are a gamer and the games you play make you happy.
Wow, now I realise why people prefer cryfacing. I sound like a fucking hippy. Work with me on this though, there’s a point to be made, somewhere…
Picture if you will, a really painful day of excruciating frustration and egregious labour, perhaps of the physical kind if it makes it easier for the imagination. And then you come home to relax and there’s even more stressfully abhorrent frustration to be found. Perhaps you’re a parent, or the president. But then you walk into your bubble of comfort, your room or your lounge or your Man-cave, and you switch on your gaming platform of choice, sit back, block out the world, and just play your favourite game.
In a word, you escape…
Isn’t that a lovely feeling? Even just imagining it, the escapism that gaming brings, the immersion that comes with playing the games you love simply warms you up in all the right places.
The Lonely Island and Akon have a song called I Just Had Sex. There should be a gaming version of that song entitled I Just Played Games.
Not mutually exclusive, of course…
Too often these days, we columnists and pretty much anyone who thinks they have a valid opinion of anything gaming related — in a simpler phrase: people with internet — love to spout off about some or the other grand flaw or issue with gaming today, be it the lack of innovation or the hype machine always lying to us and singing great delusions of grandeur. We always find something to hate, or indeed some other facet that is related to our gaming, such as the work that we do — or don’t, in most cases — that limits our game time.
That actually reminds me of a recent time when I felt said euphoric feeling. You all have read my previous column about working hard and gaming harder, so you know that this past university semester was a perilous one for me, and indeed I had just come off an extended period of hard work, and I realised I had the chance to play some Portal 2 and ignore my other callings. I grasped at that with both hands.
The next day, I had finished Portal 2. Two really long gaming sessions was enough. And the feeling that engulfed me was incredible, transcending anything that another form of media might attempt to create in a person.
I felt like a gamer.
I was proud to be a gamer, right then and there.
I told everyone I knew, that they should try out ‘Portlol 2′. Most people didn’t even care for its existence, but don’t worry, the pending zombie apocalypse will sort them out, I assure you. That didn’t stop me from screaming its name off every rooftop along with how the game made me feel.
Whatever frustrations and angst that university had instilled in me, whatever stress and worry, all abolished. Gone. Completely disintegrated in the face of the euphoria before me. I felt renewed and refreshed.
More than that, I felt truly content, rewarded for my gaming indulgence, as though some insatiable desire within me had finally been satiated. Some great craving, finally appeased.
It’s truly great games like that, that incite such a feeling in us all. That make us truly proud to be gamers.
In games. In gaming. In what we play and who we are when we play them.
That’s a subjective term though, more especially for me. Indeed, I found just as much fulfilment, pride and joy in playing everyone’s favourite ‘RPG we love to hate’, Dragon Age 2, as I did playing Portal 2.
It’s a strange sort of moment when you find yourself with no real reason to be smiling, after playing through a few levels of a game, yet you are. A truly amazing experience that I had to sit back and actually take note of, the last few times it has occurred.
I guess I’m too trained for hating on gaming now, that I don’t stop and smell the fresh roses, in all their bloom, often enough.
We all should do that.
Stop bickering and moaning, saddle off our high horses, and just, take it all in…
I’m sure every single person reading this right now, even the spam bots, has some great memory, some happy moment in their life where they were playing a game they truly adored, and they fully recognised the fact that it brought out such happiness in their hearts.
Surely every person has one of those moments to share. Comments section. Go!
If you don’t? Perhaps it’s time to leave the jaded cynic behind, in that last level, and move on to a happier you, one that uses less quick saves.
Gaming can provide such joy if you just let it…
I, myself play Dota. It’s an addiction, one that I probably will never kick. Dota 2, please prove me wrong?
A friend once quipped that “it’s not really Dota if it isn’t negatively affecting your life” and I’m inclined to agree with that. But when I consider all of those happy moments, all of those lulz moments, all of the friends I have made over my time playing Dota.
Hell, I wouldn’t be writing this column right now if I didn’t go Beyond Godlike in a Dota game as Nerubian Assassin against Dean’s Vengeful Spirit…
A lot of people tend to criticise my more positive outlook on gaming. After all, I can derive joy from the strangest of games, though in fairness not all. The Halo series still does nothing for me.
But that’s the thing about gamers, isn’t it. We all have our different tastes, our different fancies, our different styles of game that allure us and make us happy.
I loved Portal 2 because it made me laugh. I loved Portal 2 because it made me think. I loved Portal 2 because it immersed me in a world convincingly. I loved Portal 2 because it sang to me once I had completed it.
Almost exactly those reasons are why I adore the BioShock series, as well as various other games.
Why be serious and criticise, when you can be chilled and enjoy?
Gaming has such a luminescent side to it, shining bright in the purported darkness. I look forward to the next time that I feel the euphoria that I felt when I played such games as Portal 2 and Dragon Age 2 and BioShock 2 and Mass Effect 2 and… Wait, I’m out of, oh! Gears of War 2… Okay now I’m out.
Srsbsns, we never seem to get enough of you, but for the moment can you please fuck off and let us enjoy our gaming?