Livin’ a Teenage Dream

Have you ever been in a relationship? Of course you have! In that case, you know they change over time, it’s an unavoidable fact of life. Sometimes they get stronger, sometimes weaker. In this case, a certain long term relationship of mine has done some of both.

I’ve been playing video games on a near daily basis since I was four-years-old. And I know, I was just talking about relationships, what do video games have to do with anything? Well, relationships are really only the way things interact, so they aren’t exclusive to romance, or even people. Sorry to disappoint if you were looking for some mushy tale of love. But the truth is that the relationship between my fingers and the keys on my laptop is no less real than the relationships I have with my closest friends, even if they’re obviously not equally important to me.

Growing up, you hear a ton of widely varying opinions on video games and their effects. On one end of the spectrum you hear that they rot the minds of America’s youth or that their violent nature caused one of the most infamous school shootings in American history. On the other, that they provide an oft-needed escape from the taxing humdrum of life and that the only violence they inspire is in those that are already predisposed to it. Naturally, I’ve always favored the latter perspective. 

This never stopped me from taking a long, hard look at myself whenever I was told I’m wasting my life playing them. It took me years to realize that when you’re doing something that makes you truly happy it can never be a waste of time. After all, the idea of potentially being happy is what inspires all the decisions we make in life. Why would I ever forgo happiness now in lieu of doing stuff that doesn’t make me happy in the hopes that I’ll eventually be happy as a result? That’d be crazy, right?

And yet, despite my feelings, I haven’t always maintained the closest relationship with video games. We’ve drifted apart a little bit since the beginning of my college years. In the past week, I’ve played maybe an hour or two in total. This is largely attributed to a packed schedule, but even when I find the time to sit down and play, it isn’t quite what it used to be. Of course I still enjoy playing them, but nine-year-old me, who was bummed about having to go to Disney World because he wouldn’t be able to play for a week, would be appalled!

However, there’s a bright side to all of this. In place of the borderline obsession I had something new came about. 

I discovered video game journalism in my freshman year of high school when I stumbled across a website called Giant Bomb. At first, consuming news was no more than a fun supplement to being a “gamer.” However, by the time I declared journalism as my primary major, I knew reporting on the medium was something I aspired to do. Listening to the news section of the Giant Bombcast gave me an intense desire to be in that room discussing the inner workings of the business and craft. It filled me with the knowledge that I crave this personality driven work.  

This knowledge only reaffirms my confidence that all the time I’ve invested in video games has been well spent.