Last week I had a coworker come up to me and tell me that he saw the midnight showing of the new Spider-Man movie. What’s crazy about that is we both start work at 6 AM and the movie didn’t get out until 2:30. Younger and crazier than myself for sure. By that time I was in bed for almost 5 hours. What I started thinking about, other than how old I’m getting, is that with age I no longer understand the culture of first.
The culture of first is I use to describe the people who have to be the first ones to do anything. The first to see the latest movie. The first to comment on a popular website. The first to finish a video game. I used to be well engrained to this culture. I went to midnight showings. I wanted to be the first to play a video game. I wanted to be the first one to open that box of cookies. Now, I just don’t care and I don’t understand why I used to.
In the past I’ve written about how I have a hard time saying goodbye to a game. I’ll play it almost to the end and then stop. I don’t want the relationship I’ve built with the game to end. I rarely play games more than once unless they become an all-time favorite. So rushing through games isn’t something I’m interested in doing. Why speed through a game and not feel like I got my money’s worth? If the game has a vast multiplayer mode then I can understand the idea of blazing through the single player. You still have hours and hours of content at your fingertips if you choose to go that route. But if I spend $60 on a game and beat it in a day, that single serving isn’t all that satisfying to me. Especially if I’ve been looking forward to the game’s release for a long time.
It’s also quite difficult for me to find the time to get through a game in one or two sittings anyway. Like many gamers, I just don’t have time or enough televisions in my house to keep my wife satisfied when I want to play a game for that long. We all lead busy lives and sometimes those lives get in the way of what we really want to do. My backlog of games would be a much shorter list if life stopped getting in the way. But at the same time, I have realized that I purposely haven’t played some of those games at the time of release. Why?
Even though I may no longer subscribe to the idea of being the first one to do something, I do like to be one of the few doing something. If everybody is playing Batman: Arkham City at the time of release, I’m going to wait a little while and play it when no one else is. This might be because of the site. If everyone is playing the same game at the same time it just isn’t that interesting to me. Sure, it would be nice to be apart of the conversation but when everyone is playing Gears of War 3, I want to be playing something totally different. That is why I went back and bought some DS games this past weekend. Nobody is playing Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin. Nobody is playing Professor Layton and the Curious Village. Instead of being first, I want to be alone. That might be worse than wanting to be first. I don’t know.
It’s also the reason why I’m so interested in The Last Story which comes out next month. It will be the last major US release of a Wii game. I’m sure there will be a few people talking about it when it comes out but not the massive amount of humanity that buys Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. Or it could be because of my love for old Final Fantasy and the fact that Hironobu Sakaguchi’s studio Mistwalker developed it and Nobuo Uematsu composed the soundtrack.
Some of my tastes and idiosyncrasies might be a little different than the average gamer but I never wanted to be the average gamer. I don’t need to be the first and I don’t need to be the one discovering a game that no one has heard of. I just like being apart from what everyone else is doing at the moment. Oh god, does that make me a gaming hipster?
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