What’s so special about video games?

Hello, welcome to my blog! If you don’t know me, I’m Sam or you can call me CheeeseToastie if you’d prefer. Since it’s my first post, I thought I’d introduce myself a little and explain what I’m going to do with this blog.

Once upon a time about 3 or 4 months ago, I was law postgrad on track to attempting to become a high-flying solicitor. True, the chances of that happening were probably very, very low, considering the state of the current job market in the UK and the fact that I did a Master’s degree in human rights law, which probably meant I was more on track to making very little money for the rest of my life. Still though, I was a stressed out fresh-faced law postgrad who had just started the professional legal course, which would take me one step closer to gaining the coveted title of ‘lawyer’! I had already forced myself through years of education at top universities, internships, extra-curricular activities and all the things you were supposed to do to make your CV look pretty. I learned a lot of things in the process, for instance that studying law doesn’t require you to be some kind of linguisitic genius who can destroy the souls of their audience merely with their words like the lawyers you see on Boston Legal. You just need to be somewhat intelligent, a speed reading demon, masochistic and be able to talk out of your ass.

Yet the closer I came to attaining that goal, the more I realised I just couldn’t do it anymore. Obviously though, knowing what you don’t want to do for a living doesn’t feed or clothe you, so what could I do? I realised I had to do something I was truly passionate about, otherwise what was the point? What would the point be in ditching a stable career path you weren’t interested in for another one you weren’t interested in? I thought long and hard about, played a lot of video games, thought about it some more and then it hit me.

There are few hobbies that I had when I was 7 that I still carry over into this day and age, which is probably a good thing. Playing with Power Ranger action figures now would be a little creepy I think. Playing video games happened to be one of them. From the N64 and my trusty Game Boy to PC gaming and then the XBox 360 and the PS3 among other consoles in between, I had for almost as long as I could remember been passionate about gaming. Not just gaming, but nerdy things generally. When I was a teenager, other girls talked about guys and went to parties, while I plastered my room with Star Wars posters, bought myself Jedi robes online, spent my pocket money on Batman ‘adult collectibles’ and spent almost every weekend in the comic book store. We’re talking about the days before ‘geek chic’ was actually a thing and being a nerd was something you didn’t choose to be – it was something you had to be despite everything.

My point here is that I realised I had to write and more specifically I had to write about video games. Why video games? Why should anyone care about video games? It’s just a game right? If you’re here because you love video games, that’s great and hopefully you’ll keep reading what I write and teach me some things about games in the process too. If you don’t, I hope you’ll still stick around, because I truly believe that many of the people who hate video games on principle just haven’t truly given them a chance yet. Sure you might still hate it after you try it, but maybe you’ll develop a passion for them like I have.

For me, gaming is an experience. It’s more than passively watching a movie, it’s something you’re emotionally and mentally involved it. You’re the storyteller in every game, whether it’s making major decisions, choosing your own weaponry to suit your playstyle or even just deciding whether to go left or right. It’s your own personal journey or one you share with other people, but still one that you build for yourself. The people on the screen are not just pixels, they become your friends, allies, enemies and people to protect. Games are what you make them and every character I create is a projection of myself or an aspect of myself into a universe of boundless possibilities. That’s what video games are to me, but of course the beauty is that you might play them for an entirely different reason. To escape perhaps or maybe to dominate other players. It also depends on the game of course. My experience playing the Mass Effect Trilogy was very different from my experience playing World of Warcraft for instance, but they both had significant impacts on my life. Even with bad games, your life has been enriched in some way after playing them, even if only to remind you how awesome Half Life 2 truly was. Then occasionally you come across a truly great game that literally changes your outlook on life and those are the moments you wait for.

So that’s why I decided to quit a possibly lucrative career to go into video games journalism full time. Crazy maybe, but I have no doubt I’m making the right choice.

After that incredibly long-winded discussion into the value of gaming, I should probably get back to the actual point of this post. I’m writing this because I want to share my thoughts and hopefully start some conversations with fellow gamers and potential gamers about games and games-related issues and hopefully learn some things in the process.

So I leave you with this question, why do you play video games? And if you don’t, why not?

Until next time!

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3 responses to “What’s so special about video games?

  1. Pingback: Indie Series: Does Thirty Flights of Loving live up to the hype? | CheeeseToastieandVideoGames

  2. Great post. More posts like this, please! I enjoy reading about exact what people love about video games, since I find bloggers are particularly adept at putting said feelings into writing.

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