Tuesday, November 06, 2012

CLoTHES 2012: Gaming

Someone asked me today "what do you do for fun?" As I thought about it, I realized that if I had to choose the single defining hobby of my life at this point - that is, the activity that I would choose above all other activities - it would be gaming. Board games are my primary social activity right now. I've always enjoyed board games, and I think I really started to get into them about five or maybe six years ago, but it has only been in the past two years that it has become one of my primary hobbies. I now log every play in my BGG account, and I routinely check local online sellers for deals. I log about twenty plays a month, and I spend an average of 4-6 nights per month playing games. I have a gaming group of a few friends with whom I talk about upcoming games and strategies and with whom I coordinate my purchases to ensure the best cross-selection of titles. I have 60 games I would buy instantly if I had the money and a wish list of over 150 games I want to play, which itself includes at least 20-30 games I would buy without playing just because I know I would love them. As I have spent more time playing games, I have certainly refined my tastes and realized what kinds of games I really like. I really like the "eurogames" style of play: fairly simple rules, lots of strategy, (nearly) complete player control, and high replayability. I tend not to enjoy games with lots of fiddly pieces, a high luck factor (ie. dice), or with a mechanic that gets old quickly. I can talk knowledgeably and freely about designers and mechanics like I can directors and cinematic techniques. I have just finished participating in a beta test for a soon-to-be-released game. I am definitely a Board Game Geek.
I play video games mainly as a solo gaming activity, often for a few hours each week. I'm still primarily a retro gamer, though I have been enjoying more recent titles on Steam (and I'm looking forward to the WiiU). It's one of my primary activities to relax, since there's really no way to multitask when playing games. I would be defined as a much more casual gamer at this point, mainly because I typically don't play the kind of titles and log the hours of a so-called "hardcore gamer" does. My recent stretch has been playing through Rare's 3D platform games for the N64: Banjo-Kazooie, Donkey Kong 64, and Banjo-Tooie; Star Fox Adventures for the GameCube is likely next in the rotation. Video games are a great distraction for me - not a huge time consumer.
One development in my video gaming is being more intentional about my collecting. I have collected video games for almost two and a half decades, and I still have many of my original games going back to 1990 (including my original NES). I have gotten hooked on the Game Collecting subreddit, and I have Video Game Price Charting as a link on my phone for when I see games "in the wild", as we collectors say. I have also logged my account at My Video Game CollectionVG Collect, which includes my wishlist of almost 200 items. I don't think I ever plan (or even hope) to own them all, but it's the search that's fun in the meantime. I always hope to play more games, but I'm learning to buy them as I play them, unless they are available for an unbeatable deal. By the way, feel free to let me know if you have any erstwhile games sitting around somewhere that you'd be willing to let go sometime. And that's my evaluation of my current status as a gamer!

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