Latimer: I used to be a recreational gamer.
I wouldn’t say I was a real gamer, because I know what it is to be obsessed about stuff and I didn’t qualify for this one!
I do have a bit of a history with gaming though.
We used to have an Amstrad in our house, when I was young. I say we, but that’s a lie, my big brother owned it and it got passed down to us young’ens over time.
It was a clunky, beautiful beast.
Games came on cassettes and you had to wait for it to ‘load’ whereby the title image would appear on the screen, one painful, pixelated line at a time.
Games took a very, very, long time to load. I remember we had a game called ‘Run the Gauntlet’ that was a series of different races; boats, cars and a final cross-country level – that was impossible to pass!
I always wondered what came after that, as the computer AI’s whizzed past my character… I would sigh, thinking, ‘I’ll never know’. And I never did. The joy of being denied content because you have no talent for gaming – that was my lot!
I used to beg my parents to buy me a console.
A Sega Mega Drive?
A Dreamcast (what happened to them!?)?
A Playstation –
No – look how are you not getting this by now? Stop asking!
Sometimes we would rent consoles from the video shop (I wonder do people do that at all anymore?) – it was about 10 pounds (back before the euro!) a night, and you’d get a game. Usually the console was a Sega. And it would be the best night ever and I’d wake up early the next day to get all the enjoyment I could before the console was pried away from me, never to be touched by my crappy, but loving, gaming hands again.
My brother somehow managed to wrangle a Gameboy out of my parents one year.
That was brilliant… that’s when I met Kirby, in Kirby’s Dream Land. Oh what a game! The premise – you are Kirby, loveable vacuum-powered ball of joy, protecting his homeland from an evil dragon-creature.
This was one of the few I cleared and I still take it as a badge of pride. Ridley has this honour too I believe!
We did have games for the PC though. That’s where I met Lara Croft and I decided I wanted to be an archaeologist – ah, yeah, I was easily swayed!
When my sister got a real job, she bought herself a Playstation and that was my first look into having a games console on demand. She bought Kingdom Hearts and to this day I will say that it’s my favourite game to play.
Here’s the thing, the ending made me cry and the whole game made me love Disney again. Yup, that’s the power of Kingdom Hearts – I won’t have a bad word said about Sora and the boys (Donald Duck and Goofy)!
If I still had my young heart today, I would buy a console; a Playstation 3 or 4… or 5,000 – whatever it is now. But, truth is, being denied the content of a story because I couldn’t figure out the puzzle or beat the boss (which would be inevitable) would kill me. I remember telling Ridley once (as I was playing Kingdom Hearts 2) that I got a stabbing pain in my eye and had to lie down, because I couldn’t beat a boss (the one with the water guitar – ARGH!) – I got so frustrated I literately had to go lie down and sleep away the anger.
So I know that I couldn’t handle the stress.
That’s why today, I don’t play games. I’ve moved from recreational gamer, to avid games watcher. You see I love watching games trailers and game cutscenes.
That might seem weird, but computer games combine two of my loves, art and story-telling. Games are beautiful pieces of art and they’re getting smarter and bigger all the time – and this means the stories can get more complex and involved too. Games are like books; they draw you in.
Because I don’t play, I like watching people like Pewdiepie playing for me – because it’s fun to have the shock moments during the game and Pewds is fun!
The new games today are amazing feats of world-building.
Bioshock Infinite had this massively involved story set in this epic world. It was a stunning place – a city in the clouds.
My ultimate favourite game to watch though is the Uncharted series! Oh how brilliant are they! It’s basically modern-day Indiana Jones treasure hunting.
Uncharted 2 is a major reason for me wanting to go visit Nepal! I want to stand on a mountain surrounded by temples and prayer-wheels and flags… one day…one day!
I often wonder if there are other people out there who love to watch games as much as I do – other games watchers.
We should come up with a name for ourselves – unless it exists already, in which case… what are we? 🙂