Am I still a “gamer”?

I’ve been sat here for hours thinking about what I want to write. About why I want to write. How can I write about gaming when I haven’t been gaming? Am I still up to date? Do I even like gaming anymore?

Life takes all manner of turns. It’s easy to let things fall by the wayside as something more important in the moment comes along or a looming fear hangs over your every thought. You forget things, your priorities move about and life goes on.

For me, gaming has been that forgotten aspect of my life recently. I’ve barely played a few hours of anything in weeks and, to be honest, I’ve not really missed it. Gaming has been such a central part of my life as long as I can remember and it’s truly unsettling to think on it and unpack why it’s happened.

I surround myself with gaming memorabilia, fill much of my social media feed with gaming channels and news and still follow everything closely, but I’m not doing the most important thing and actually playing the games! What does that make me? Am I still a “gamer”? What does that term even mean?

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In fact, I’m still adding to my collection even though I’m not playing anything. Soon, precious Doomguy helmet… Soon…

The truth is it’s far too easy to fondly look back on split-screen all-nighters on Halo and locking yourself away for 12 hours solid during school break to beat Dead Space 2 on Hardcore mode, only to compare that to your life today as if “that’s how it still should be”. Life changes, we change, our priorities change and sometimes it’s just hard to let go.

But it’s not even really about “letting go”. Nothing’s over, nothing’s gone – it’s just different now. In the last 30 years The Legend of Zelda has evolved from a blocky adventure on the NES to a console-selling artisan work of storytelling and inspiring visuals on the Switch. The ten-year-old me in 2006 obsessed with building a life in Animal Crossing wouldn’t have batted an eye at The Division, yet today the thought of picking up an Animal Crossing game makes the plagued, terrorised streets of Tom Clancy’s dystopian take on New York look rather tempting.

Despite all this change, the thought of booting up a Resident Evil game excites me as much today as if my first time were only yesterday, and therein lies the message – your life has moved on and many aspects of it have changed but YOU are still the same person behind it all.

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Actual footage of me fending off my responsibilities to complete a 50th run of RE4.

If you’re struggling with this dilemma as much as I am today, then remember this: the priorities today that are pulling you away from gaming might just be the ones you ignored in the “golden days”. If not, then perhaps these new experiences can make up for ones you passed on when you were younger.

If you’re wondering where your gaming interests went, they’re still with you or you wouldn’t be wrestling with these thoughts.

Enjoy the moment, enjoy the person you are now and make the most of your newfound priorities. Video games are going nowhere and nobody is going to stop you and ask for your gamer badge the day you decide to come back.

…and in the unlikely event that they do? Put your tryhard pants on, channel that inner ten-year-old, and show them that you’re still a beast in a BRs 1v1 on The Pit.

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