I figured it out!
You see, I am passionate about not being super passionate about video games.
I think gaming is a fine leisure activity that can provide a warm, cozy source of stress relief and simple enjoyment. It can even be an cathartic outlet, a social catalyst, and enhance one’s mental faculties. Gaming is capable of greatness.
I like video games!
I tweeted this image earlier today, and got quite a wide range of responses:
The ones that fascinated me were the people getting defensive. Often, this was due to misinterpretation; I mean, honestly, the image I created isn’t saying “never tweet angrily,” or “games are completely unimportant,” etc. — the point, more so, is that considering your words is a valuable act, and often in the gaming hobby I notice people getting upset over stuff that… well, they just shouldn’t be upset about.
Other times, though, I was being met with people really, truly trying to evangelize me on how utterly significant video games are, and that getting angry about their issues is a truly noble cause. Actually, I am going to go ahead and single out one reply in particular, just to try and show how bizarre this was (to me?).
Keep in mind, I am a fairly average, non-notable guy overall. I am 30 years old. I have a job, a wife, a kid. I am taking a college course this summer to further my career. I am a Christian. I enjoy other hobbies, such as writing, and playing basketball. I have dreams, goals, and fears. I have anxieties. I have a lawn I have to mow. I shower every morning. I need glasses. There’s a roll of duct tape on my desk right now and I’m not 100% sure why. I just had a snack of cashews and granola mixed in a small bowl. I watch stuff on Netflix. I am a Star Wars fan. I frequently tweet about coffee and bad jokes.
Considering all of this, and my fully-vivid big-picture experience of Life, I said this phrase to a couple people in the mentions fallout of the above tweet: “It is difficult for me to imagine a gaming issue worth being angry over.” And that’s true: I just, to try and put it as simply as possible, have other stuff to worry about.
So then someone, this actually happened, someone started giving examples of gaming-related items that might make me upset. Like, his point is to try and give me an example of a gaming-related issue that I would get emotionally torn up over. Here is his attempt:
Now, okay, I’m trying to imagine this.
I’m trying to imagine a typical day, in my real life. I have a solid, productive day at work. I get home, and greet my wife, and my kid, and my kid smiles at me and gives me a hug and melts my heart. I catch up with how my wife’s day has gone, and it has been kinda frustrating, so I listen attentively and, although I cannot relate this day in particular, I can nonetheless empathize and have compassion. I try my best to help out with dinner preparation, but mostly just get in the way and try to wrangle the kid instead, since I suck at cooking in a huge way. Me and the kid go outside, and I find joy in her curiosity about the world around here, and am amused at how she stops to look at some dog poop. I have to prevent her from grabbing it, because she is so curious. We go back inside, eventually, and the wife has made her famous chili, and it is delightful, it is hot and hearty and tasty all around — but we are not eating alone, as soon two of our friends arrive, with their own daughter. They are expecting their second kid soon. We talk about that, but we also discuss happenings at church, and how his job is going as an English teacher, and what card game we are going to play after dinner, and who we should all hang out with soon. I offer my friend a beer.
Then I lean over, and with my brow furrowed in a genuine anger, I bellow, “Ugh, isn’t it awful how Mother 3 is not getting a proper Western release due to ‘concerns’ in some of the chapters?!” I make my anger clear: I bang my fist on the table. The children are startled. A glass falls over, spilling a beverage. My friends look horrified.
I don’t sound reasonable, I sound insane.
Try it sometime: The next time you’re in a public place, like a fast-food restaurant or a concert or a park or whatever, just approach a random stranger and ask them: “Aren’t YOU pissed off at how Polygon couldn’t get an expert FPS player for their Doom preview video?”
Let me know what kind of reaction you get.
And, the thing is, like, I get being annoyed about this stuff, and I’m not saying that all the gaming stuff is good and you should be glad for it, and awful stuff truly does happen in any subject that one can make a good case for — but, oh my gosh, these are video games. They are a leisure activity; or, at least, they should be, I would say.
Like, really? You’re saying I should be upset because I may never get to play one of them the same way they got to play it in Japan? How… how is that important? Why is that something worth getting emotionally invested in? When I wake up in the morning, why would video games be the thing I would be concerned about?
That’s… that’s really your example of something I should care about strongly? Of everything in the world?
And, as a couple people said, “But Eric, aren’t you kinda a hypocrite, by talking/tweeting/blogging about this?”
Well, sure! I kinda suck! You’re right, I should probably step back, huh? I am way too deep in gaming, and it would be wise to take steps back from it. No, really, I’m an awful person in general. I know I’m far from perfect — can you say the same?
Thus, my announcement: I am officially a hardcore casual gamer. I am hardcore about being casual. I am passionate about not being too passionate.
So if you see me actually getting angry about a translation/localization/whatever-the-hell else, please, reel me back in, and say, “dude, you’re being irrational. That issue literally doesn’t affect your life. Your priorities are truly messed up.”
Really, though, just know that every once in a while, this idea (you can be into video games too much) is something I’ll be vocal about. Consider finding something bigger and better to get emotionally involved with, if you haven’t already. Lord knows I’ve wasted enough time on it.