Hey, guys. Today, I’m here to dispel a particularly annoying —and dangerous— notion. A notion that was at first merely laughable (although the joke was on us), and is now plain irritating, all the more so because of its flagrant fallacy. What in the hell am I waffling on about? The stereotype of all gamers being greasy, fat-ass neckbeards who spend 25+ hours a day immersed in lurid fantasy worlds.
You’ve seen it many times before. You need only close your eyes to conjure the image. An overweight, horribly unshaven, usually bespectacled 25 to 30-year-old white male sitting at an oversized computer screen, beady eyes decadently blinking, bovine jaws working lazily, with a family size bag of Doritos in one hand, and a gallon of special-edition Mountain Dew ready to chug down in the other. This rather unsightly creature relinquishes the grip on his prized foodstuffs (no doubt purchased by his hapless maternal unit) only to periodically make a click on his high-tech, 3-pound gaming mouse. If you concentrate hard enough on this foul image, you can actually smell the evil stench of unwashed ballsack, assorted food debris, and maybe even the mythological Pee-Pee Jar. Anyway, let’s stop. This is making me nauseous.
I’m sorry I had to get so graphic there, but I’m a writer. This is how we get our points across. Now, the above image is laughable at best, and bloody revolting at worst, right? Wrong. The worst is, have anyone who thinks they know jack diddley squat about gaming culture tell it, this is us. Yes, that festering ball of udder nastiness (see what I did there?) is us. All of us! Now, isn’t it funny how before the advent of video games, one of the major defining attributes of a “nerd” was being skinny? And not eating “manly” foods like steak and hamburgers? (which are honestly fattening as all get out, tbh) But I digress. As a gamer and self-admitted nerd, I take serious offense to the nonchalant perpetration of this absurdist caricature. It is total BS. And do you want to know why it is total BS? Well, I will tell you why it is total BS. “One Simple Trick Clears Up Mad Misconceptions. The Media Hates Him!!!”
This image is total BS for one reason that all gamers intimately know. It is a struggle surely inherited from the shadowed enthusiasts in the era of the rising glory of Nolan Bushnell, and passed on to the People Of The Legwarmers during the indelible popularity of the NES in the 80s, to be continued in the heady epoch of Blockbuster and dial-up Internet with the SNES, N64, and PS1. It only became the more heinous in the start of the new millennium, with its tempting offerings of the GameCube, PS2, and Xbox. Add the Wii line along with the DS family, and it was a wrap. How could we possibly not suffer from it today?
The problem I am talking about is that we go out to GameStops and Goodwills at the ends of the earth to obtain (“painstakingly scrape together”, to be more accurate) beautiful collections of video games and systems that fill our hearts with a special joy comparable only to the empowering embrace of our lovers, or perchance the pwning of a n00b. Yes, we stalwartly march on to all manner of stores, deterred by neither rain nor snow nor caffeine-crazed and murderous Black Friday shoppers, thinking only of what amusing trinkets we might discover. We buy hundreds of dollars worth of such treasures…and then we never play with them.
Yes, that’s right. We take pains to make sure that our favorite video games are in the house, and then we never play with them. Why? Four words. “We Don’t Have Time“.
Listen here! Do you realize that game collecting is not for the lazy, broke-ass, or weak-willed? In order to be a great hunter, you need three things: A heavy wallet, light feet, and a strong back. Oh, and a metric ton of patience. Anyway, it takes money to buy anything that’s going to even faintly smell like fun. Unless you’re one of those cheapskate gamers who don’t like to spend upwards of 10 dollars at a time. In which case, you don’t deserve to have fun, you penny-pinching skinflints! Hah, but I’m only joking (kinda) Point I’m trying to make is, even for those of us that like the occasional thrifting expedition, we still find ourselves in a nasty loop rivaled only by The Minus World. Let me break it down here in this loop…
1. We have made a satisfactory amount of money
2. We decide we want to buy a game or console
3. We buy it
4. We are sorely missing that money a day later
5. We do whatever it is we do to make up that money, so busily that we have no time to enjoy our new game/console
Am I making it clear? We can’t sit on our asses and be neckbeards, because in order to even have anything to play with, we need money! And once we spend that money, we have to work so much to make up the cost of said game/console (plus, you know, all the other, like, essential household expenses) that we have no time (hell, and often no energy!) to sit down and have a gaming session for five minutes, let alone hours at a stretch. No, this whole “all gamers are neckbeards” thing has got to go. As a matter of fact, just to drive the point home, I’m gonna make a confession. I am, of course, a gamer. But the last time I gamed was around September last year. Let me repeat that for clarity. I, TheLinguistGamer, have not gamed since September of 2016. It is currently April of 2017. And to be honest, I don’t even remember what I was playing. I think it may have been Majora’s Mask, but I can’t say for sure. That little titbit is just to illustrate the maddening struggle that all gamers find themselves caught in sooner or later.
It’s not that I don’t like gaming anymore, or even that there’s nothing new or good to play. On the contrary, as I’ve told you guys before, I was lucky enough to be able to purchase the entirety of Final Fantasy VIII, in English, in the original cases, for a mere 12 dollars. Which I pledged to not even open until I finished Final Fantasy VII, and I’m still not done with the first disc. And my uncle gave me his PlayStation 3 last year, so that’s a whole new fun system to collect for. I’ve got an N64 with CIB Shindou Edition SM64, for God’s sakes! How can you be bored with that? No, it’s not that. You know, I am sometimes moved almost to the point of tears, because right under my TV, I have my PS1 halfway set up, memory card plugged in and everything, FFVII sealed in a box only a few feet away, but I am forced to simply file past it in silent longing because the raspy, gravelly voice in my mind that is my work ethic laughs “You got work to do. You can’t play video games!” Yes, as much as it would help me de-stress a whole lot, if I were to have a two-hour gaming session right now, I would probably build back twice the stress when I was done, because the time could have been spent in the pursuit of making money (to buy a new console, perhaps!) or otherwise advancing my life.
I’m done rambling. I think you guys get the point. As for me, I’m not going to risk the stress of destressing. 😟🎮
P.S. Blockbuster was the ish.