The life of a gamer has taken on many different roles as well as stereotypes over the years. It seems that society tends to label gamers as fat, lazy, unemployed and living in their parents basement just to name a few words to describe gamers. For a lot of gamers, that couldn’t be any further from the truth. Gaming to a lot of people is more than just that. It’s a hobby, to some it’s even life. Here I take a look at just how gaming has affected the life of a gamer as well as a tell all look at myself.
Angie is a 33 year old gamer. She’s been gaming since she was eight and her first console was Atari. Her fondest memory was staying up late playing video games with her dad. “Whether it was Mario or Sonic we had fun trying to beat them,” Angie said. Angie hasn’t just limited herself to consoles, she also plays games on the PC. “My favorite games are World of Warcraft (WOW), The Sims Online and Second Life,” Angie said. Angie has been playing SL for 10 years now as Justice Mirabeu.
As far as what gaming has done to have a positive impact on her life, she gave a lot of thought before she gave her answer. “I don’t see gaming really having a positive impact like it did anything super good. Granted I spend time with my mother on SL as we don’t seem to have a lot to say in first life but we have good mother and daughter time in game,” Angie said. Family wasn’t the only people Angie mentioned however, like most people who game, friends were made over the years playing games. “I’ve met some people who became good friends from gaming on WOW and SL, some of which I’ve met in real life,” Angie said. Angie is engaged in first life and she lives three and a half hours away from her fiancé. She spoke of the advantages of gaming. “Gaming gives us a chance to be close and spend quality time together being that far away. It’s tough being in a long distance relationship but gaming makes it a little be easier, plus I get to teach him how to play SL,” Angie said.
Switching gears Angie then told me about the negative aspects that gaming has had in her life and there seemed to be more cons than pros. “Even though my gaming was mostly done during the night or on the weekends, it made a lot of people think all I did was sit on my butt all day every day and play SL and WOW.” She paused for a couple of minutes and then continued. “It beats going to the club all the time and drinking and smoking which is a lot of what people wanted to do. Gaming kept me out of trouble,” Angie said. After that she opened up more about her fiancé and the negative part of being a gamer. “As nice as it is to game especially with my fiancé, sometimes things get out of hand.
I still game don’t get me wrong but I’m not into it like I was and I play more SL than I do games on the console,” Angie said. When asked her to elaborate why that was, again she paused and had this to say. “Sometimes I get bombarded with wanting to play. Don’t get me wrong it’s not just him. A lot of people think just because I got a new console or a new game, or I’m on SL that means they’re going to get to play all the time or that I’m going to let them borrow it or use my computer. A lot of the time I don’t feel like my stuff is really mine and I just want to sell it or put it away for good!” She added, “it’s also a struggle just to have any time to myself with or without being on my PC. If I even go to get a drink, somebody gets on my computer and I basically have to fight just to get it back.” Gaming gets taken more seriously than it should in my life!
Which brings it to me. I’m 33 and have been gaming since I was seven. My first console was Nintendo.I’ve been in SL for two years now. I don’t get on daily so I’m still learning new things all the time.
My fondest memories come from both childhood as well as being an adult. As a child I remember my parents both yanking the controller, sometimes out of the Nintendo because they thought it would help you jump. If you think about it, that might have been the foundation of motion controls. I also remember my dad thinking he was playing the original Mario Bros. game but he didn’t press start. He never touched a controller ever again. I also remember my mom playing The Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle game for the Nintendo. We rented it for a few days and I may have got to play it 5 times. My mom ended up having dreams about it. As an adult, my fondest memory is playing LEGO Star Wars and New Super Mario Bros. Wii with my kids. We had so much fun and I wouldn’t trade that for the world.
I suffer from depression, panic attacks and bipolar disorder. I go to the doctor when I’m supposed to and I take my pills when I can afford them. There’s plenty of times where none of that works. I only get to talk to my counselor once every other month. In addition to all of that, suicide runs in my family and yes I’ve attempted it a handful of times. I can honestly say that the PS3 and PS4 and PC gaming has saved my life numerous of times. I turn it on and start playing and I get lost into the game. I forget whatever it is that’s bothering me and by the time I’m done, I’m better. If I’m mad at the world or at certain people, a first person shooter or Watch Dogs usually does the trick. If I get into an intense battle in Madden or NBA 2K14 then that’s even better. Some people cope by drinking, others by smoking, my coping mechanism, my addiction so to speak is video games! It’s not just life, it saved my life. That’s how it has affected me in a positive way.
Now I’d be a liar if I didn’t say that it hasn’t caused negativity in my life as well. As much as it’s saved my life in the past, in a lot of ways it’s destroyed my life. It’s a big reason why I’m divorced and only get to see my kids maybe three times a year if I’m lucky. When I was younger, 19, 20 and so on, whenever that game I just “had” to have came out or I wanted to play a game on the computer, I would go out and buy it, whether we had the money or not, whether my daughters needed diapers or not, I went out and bought games. Then I’d try to hide the game and the fact that I bought the game. It was always a lie. Oh I found it, somebody let me borrow it. It was always something. Many of times I had a job and I quit because I wanted to stay at home and play video games.
It got so bad that I’d park the car in the garage, wouldn’t answer the door or the phone and I’d play until my ex-wife came home. You might be asking where the kids were. I’d drop them off at her mom’s house or at a babysitter’s house. When it was time for my ex-wife to come home, I’d put everything away get in the car and drive around in the country and come home like I just put in a full days of work. That’s just if I pretended to work the same shift. If I had a second shift job or flat out lie about having one in the first place. I’d drive around in the country seeing how far the road goes for however long my “shift” was. All so I could come home and play games. Sometimes I’d say I had the day off and would keep my kids. I’d be so wrapped up in the game that they would destroy the house, clothes everywhere, coloring and writing on the walls, and sometimes barely fed. I ignored my own kids and my ex-wife for years. It got to the point that be it video games or the computer, we only communicated through Myspace or Facebook.
I had a real problem. I was a bad parent and husband because of it, and that’s just ONE aspect to my end of why we’re divorced. We had an unfortunate house fire back in 2005. The ex and I got into a fight because I bought something I shouldn’t have. She took the kids to her mom’s house. Well the furnace was old and the wires were frayed and the house caught on fire. I almost didn’t make it. I was accused by a handful of people of starting the fire on purpose. The detective I understood but others that’s just crazy.
A former relative said to me that they knew I didn’t do it and they can prove it. I would’ve gotten all the stuff I deemed important (games, wrestling stuff, childhood stuff) out of the house, I would’ve hid it somewhere and then little by little as time went by, things would magically appear. To this day, and it’s sad to admit this, that person is right because that’s exactly what I would’ve done. Surprisingly the PS2 and all of the games survived the fire but it was “decided” that the PS2 should be thrown out. So as you see, gaming for better or worse has played a huge part in my life. Admittedly more than it ever should for me or anybody.