Not a Real Gamer

I’ve had quite a few conversations and read a bunch of articles that contain a statement along the lines of “you’re not a real gamer unless you’ve played certain classic/AAA/well-loved games”. Games like the Final Fantasy series, revolutionary shooters such as Doom or perhaps the iconic puzzler, Tetris. I know it’s just a figure of speech but I feel like rolling my eyes every time it becomes apparent that I haven’t played a popular game that someone else loved.

When I was growing up I wasn’t allowed to play games. We didn’t even have a TV in the house until I was seven years old. I spent most of my free time reading, which was great, I loved it. My first experience of gaming was on a family visit to friends of my the family who had two sons. One was a little older than me and he owned a Commodore 64. As I quietly stepped into his room and peered over his shoulder I realised he was typing commands into the computer and that the responses showing up on screen were relative to what he had just written. I recognised the characters’ names almost immediately; he was playing the text adventure, The Famous Five: Five on a Treasure Island. I’d read and loved all of The Famous Five books, they walked all over The Secret Seven, not least because of the fact that one of them was a dog.

A jolly good read!

Gaming instantly fascinated me. Over the next few years I would play games through friends, at their houses. Playing snippets of whatever games they owned. A level or two at most before having to go back home. I remember begging my mother for a Master System on many many occasions. I’d scour the second-hand ads and convince myself that I could save up enough of my pocket money to buy one. I had no chance, I was rarely allowed sweets so found it rather tough giving up my Saturday sugar rush.

Finally, when I was maybe ten years old, my mother relented and got us a Commodore 64 – the boy who had let me play The Famous Five game’s old one. By now my friends had all moved on to the Megadrive or the SNES but I didn’t care. The C64 came with a truckload of games and that was more than good enough for me.ย  It meant I could play games every single day, for 20 minutes… if they weren’t violent…

Despite having around 50 different titles I didn’t try many of them. I didn’t have enough time to waste. Games would have to hold my attention from the outset and when one did, I’d stick with it. Bubble Bobble was one of the first games I got hooked on. I just wanted to complete it. I had never completed a game before and just wanted to try it. Of course, with 20 minutes playtime a day, this was never going to happen, but I kept trying anyway, getting slightly further each time. When the C64 died, it was a sad day. But not as sad as it would have been if I hadn’t started to take notice of something just as fun as gaming – boys! This would be my distraction from my gaming-deprived life until I left home, got a job and started to be able to afford my own consoles.

Despite suddenly having as much freedom as I wanted to play whatever I liked I still never became very adventurous when trying games. I still to this day tend to stick to games I enjoy, playing them til I’m satisfied that I’ve finished with them. I find it hard to get drawn into a game early on and will give up on it far too quickly. I guess I still feel like I haven’t got time. Instead of giving blockbusters like Red Dead or Uncharted 2 more than a fleeting glance, I’ll play through one of the Mass Effects for the seventh time or clock up another few hours on Modern Warfare 2.

Captain 'Epic moustache of awesome' approves, though.

My list of games I have never played and most likely will never play is probably much longer than yours. And sometimes it makes me a little sad that I’ll never find out what happened to John Marsten’s family first-hand or see the Final Fantasy VII story unfold for myself. I can’t join in nostalgic conversations about getting a Megadrive for Christmas, the shock of finding out Samus was a chick or the frustration of a princess being in another castle. But of course, it’s to be expected, I’m not a real gamer. Phew! I’m rather glad I’ve gotten that off my chest. I feel like I need to unwind now, so if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go jump on Halo Reach for the next six hours. Laters, nubs.







3 responses to “Not a Real Gamer”

  1. Mike avatar

    I know the feeling. People seem to think it’s weird that I hate Street Fighter games. I just can’t get into them.

    It’s a shame you didn’t get to play games as early as you would have liked to. I remember getting a Mega Drive for the first time and the first night we had our PlayStation One. Good times. Better times.

    Also games > boys/girls, every time. ๐Ÿ˜›

  2. The Rook avatar
    The Rook

    I had that “alloted” gaming time when I was growing up too but thankfully it was never enforced. It’s strange when you find out some people haven’t played a game you take for granted. I have never played more than a couple of levels of a Sonic game and that was more of the Dreamcast 3D game.

    I can say that I am not a reader though, having started but not finished a number of books, not alot, but some. I am a gamer and judging by the fact that I can pinch myself *>ow<* I must be a real gamer. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Ninja avatar

    I don’t worry about being classed as a real gamer; it took me years to get into GTA after a woeful first few attempts at GTAIII that had my brother, my KID brother, laugh at me. I eventually sort of mastered it! <3 Vice City! ๐Ÿ˜€ Sort of like Mike, I can't get into SF or any other fighter. I am superb at button mashing in them ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I can't imagine a life of being banned from gaming though. *shudders* And the beauty of gaming today is a lot of retro titles are available if you want them. Go on Laura!

Leave a Reply