Anyone who reads my articles knows that I like to ask questions about gaming topics that no one really talks about. Sure, they do border on the ridiculous, but they are still gaming-related, and not a day goes by that I don’t think about something like this (giving you, the reader, an insight into my madness). The time has come again for me to dive into the abyss that is my subconscious, and pull out another unholy abomination – as usual, in the form of a question…
How has the Internet affected your gaming?
Now I realize that this question may seem more relevant to all those born in the 1980s, when we started gaming before the Internet became popular…except it isn’t. We all use the Internet, and the Internet affects our gaming in one way, or several. We use it to watch or read reviews; we use it to find helpful tips; and we use it to communicate with other gamers, be it social media or online play.
I started gaming in the 1980s. Blowing on cartridges to get them to work, renting video games from actual brick-and-mortar stores, visiting the arcades, and DLC was non-existent. Seems like dark times, but cartridge-based games do have their charm, being able to rent a game allowed us to try it out without committing to a purchase, and I know of nothing that can recreate that arcade experience (aside from an actual arcade). DLC is a mixed bag for me; while it can be a good thing, I mostly see it as an excuse to nickel-and-dime the consumer, making them pay for things that should’ve been included in the first place.
Sorry, I got off track there…
For me, the popularity of the internet had a mild effect on me, but I started to love it when I realized what I could get from it. For example, I liked being able to go down to the library, and print up twenty pages of weapon and armor information for Secret of Mana, because it was a shitload cheaper than calling Counselor’s Corner and racking up my parents’ phone bill.
I got to play some great games that I missed out on, because of emulators. I know some purists hate the idea of using emulators, but I’m a cheap bastard, and this was my best chance at playing such awesome stuff, like Faxanadu, EarthBound and Contra: Hard Corps.
Everyone knows how big YouTube is now. I first started looking at YouTube for animations, because I was big into Newgrounds, at the time. Then, I saw my first AVGN video. He was reviewing the 32X, and I was hooked. His reviews were funny and informative, and I discovered ScrewAttack through his videos. When I started to lose interest, I discovered the Rageaholic, RazorFist. One great thing his videos did was make me want to play games I never would’ve considered before. I might’ve never given Deadly Premonition a fair shot if not for RazorFist…and I love Deadly Premonition!
Even though the internet has helped me embrace new aspects of gaming culture, there are some moments it was damaging to my social life and gaming experiences.
Firstly, I’ve completely dismissed playing certain games because of reviewers I trust, when I should’ve played the game first, and made my decision afterwards, especially if it looked interesting. This behaviour is not going away anytime soon, seeing as how it’s nearly impossible to rent games nowadays. The only way I see myself playing these games is when they’re on sale.
I also used to be a jerk on certain forums, mainly to keep up with the general behaviour of the forums in question. I did have some fun being a jerk, but it eventually turned sour when I realized the bar was constantly being set higher (or lower, in this case) on being a jerk. Luckily, as I was becoming more involved with ScrewAttack, it was easier for me to not give a shit about those sites.
Also, I’m not a big fan of online play. It’s always a hassle for me to find people I want to play with, and I never have the time to stay on long enough to make the experience feel worthwhile. I still do enjoy playing games with other people – just when they’re in the same room as me. Nothing comes close to that feeling of beating someone in Mario Kart, and rubbing it in their face, watching their facial expressions change. Then, they would beat my ass ten times in a row. But I`d deserve it.
To bring an end to this negative tirade, I wish to share something personal:
I’ve briefly mentioned in the past that I still suffer from depression. The last time it hit, it hit bad. I lost sleep, my appetite and my happiness. It took a lot of hard work (and medication) to bring me around, but it was wonderful when I felt happy again. I did a lot of research on the internet, figuring out what I could do to keep myself from getting that low ever again. One thing that has helped me stay happy was becoming more involved on Twitter.
Twitter is a wonderful social networking tool. I have gained many new friends because of it – some of which I’ve met in real life! As each year passes, I hope to meet more and more of these wonderful people, so we can discuss the same things we discuss on Twitter, face to face. Also epic quests.
So, to wrap up this article, the Internet is a wonderful social and resource tool. It has given me ups and downs, but it has also allowed me to share my ups and downs with other people…like right now, on this wonderful website. I know other people have probably had more intense ups and downs with the internet, because you were exposed to it at an early age. We weren’t even using this shit for school until I was in Grade 11, and nobody knew what the hell they were doing.
As usual, if you had a unique experience with the Internet, I want to hear about it. You can leave a comment, or hit me up on Twitter, @Hiatu5.
Until next time…take the bananas out of your ears!