A winner is you!
To kick off GamesRadars Best Week Evar, I thought now would be a great time to really celebrate being a gamer. Well, I say gamer Im not a huge fan of the term gamer. Yeah, I play games. I love games: but it doesnt define me. If I go to the cinema, do I become a watcher? Plus, its a pretty general categorisation for a very broad, diverse bunch of people.
Anyway, Im rambling. Imagine me saying "Sorry" in my best Hugh Grant in Four Weddings voice. Without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, here are the top 7 best things about being a gamer. Whatever that means
7. Games work whatever the weather
I live in Great Britain. It rains here, a lot. Perhaps thats why we--as a nation--love games so much. Unlike more socially acceptable hobbies like jogging, playing sports, and performing impromptu flashmobs outside the local Budgens, gaming doesnt require any interaction with the outside world. Just a console / PC, a power supply, and a decent supply of snacks.
Snowing outside? Excellent, looks like I cant make it into work. Time to shoot some mouthy French teenagers in Battlefield 4. Raining is it? No way, buddy, its nice and sunny in Assassins Creed 4s Caribbean. You get the idea. Basically, games are ace wherever there is weather; which is pretty much the entire planet.
6. Games are awesome value
Doing stuff costs money. If youre going out to see a film, and youre having a meal or drinks with friends, it can cost anywhere between 20-50. Thats the price of a game, right there. And while more social interaction will ultimately mean youre less likely to die alone in your flat, and only be found when your terrier starts howling because hes finished feasting on your face, surely your money is better spent on vidya gamez.
Think about it. For the cost of a cheap night out, you can pick up a second-hand gem of a game that entertains you for weeks. For the cost of a posh night out, you can get a brand new game, all sealed and smelling of promise. In terms of s or $s per hour of entertainment, games are great value. Plus, unlike terriers, games won't eat your face if you go for a Burton.
5. You can meet some lovely people
Sure, there are a lot of assholes online. They clog up the Call of Duty servers, and whine about how you stole their kill, and about how theyre going to find you and do unspeakable things to your mother. But theyre a vocal minority, in my opinion. Ive actually met a bunch of really lovely, genuinely decent people online, who love to talk about and play games.
And its an experience that can really broaden your horizons. When you meet these real human beings online, you can strike up fascinating conversations and learn about stuff youd never otherwise be exposed to. You can grow as a person. Or, alternatively, you can call them a f***ing lousy **** s*****, and threaten to b** their ****** with a candle. Up to you.
4. Younger relatives think you're amazing
Every Christmas, passionate gamers will hear a variation on the following phrase: Hey little Johnny, this is your cousin Gavin. Hes got one of those new PlayStation things you keep asking for. Im sure hell let you play it if you ask nicely. As a hardcore player you are a God to younger family members, who spend all day playing Angry Birds on their parents iPhones, and long to experience a proper game. If only for a few sweet hours.
Soak it up. Enjoy it. Because when the younger members of the family go to bed, having filled their virtual bellies on Man-Slicer 4 (which you let them play for a laugh, because you thought itd scare them, but the stuff they did in that game actually made you do a little sick into your own mouth), its time to hear your seniors feigning an interest in your hobby, with cringe-worthy results. Have you played that new Grand Theft Car game? I heard Jeremy Vine talking about it last week on Radio 4. It sounds awful
3. Games make us belong to something
If you havent done so already, I urge you to read Daves article on the psychology of fanboys. In it, a proper psychologist explains why people act the way they do when it comes to games. One of the core learnings is that we play games to feel part of something. When we own an Xbox One, for example, we feel an affinity with other Xbox One players--theyre part of our club. And while fanboyism demonstrates the ugly side of that, as Xbox owners abuse PlayStation owners because theyre part of a different tribe, the actual feeling of belonging to a group of like-minded people is amazing.
For some, games are their sports team or their book club. Games, and specific communities, are where they feel comfortable; where they can be themselves. When our favourite games score or sell well, its like our team has won a game: its a victory that we all share in. Not only has our faith in a game been vindicated, but weve also got something new and awesome to play for the next few weeks.
2. We get the best tech, first
Games are often used to pioneer tech. The PS2, for example, was a cheap DVD player when that technology was just starting out. Ditto for PS3 and Blu-ray. While a game consoles primary purpose is to play games (insert ironic joke / bitter comment about how Xbox One is more concerned with adverts / data collection here), they often bring us incredible, innovative extras way ahead of the mass market. Xbox 360, for example, brought us HD long before most TV providers even considered it.
The best bit is that we continue to get the awesome swag, as our consoles evolve. Stuff like streaming services (Netflix, iPlayer etc), cloud storage, and custom soundtracks were all added to last-gen consoles long before they became mainstream. And because wed already paid for our consoles, they came at no extra cost (well, aside from subscriptions) too. YES!
1. Games are brilliant!
Well hand me the cape and call me Captain Obvious! The best thing about being a gamer is that games are fucking brilliant. And now, right here in 2014, is the best time to ever be into games. Weve just had a new generation launch, so the biggest AAA games look and play amazingly. Last-gen is getting cheaper, fast, so you can hoover up a catalogue of quality games for far less cash. Meanwhile, Steam offers a huge variety of old and new games on PC, tablets and handheld consoles let you play on the move, and through services like PS Plus and Games With Gold, you get free games without ever leaving the house.
Not only that, but weve also got an incredible indie movement turning up all kinds of smaller, more creative games with increasing frequency. There is something for everyone. No, wait--there is a HUGE variety of games for EVERYONE. Games--however you take them--are brilliant. Read that out-loud, while waving your arms in the air. DO IT!
Just ignore Knack, ok?
After writing that feature about how awesome being a gamer is, Im so pumped that I could punch a gazelle. I wont, though, because thats a messed up thing to do. I dont even know why I typed that. Oh yeah, its the outro slide, and Im filling space (thats why). Anyway, put your digits to keyboard (or touchpad) and leave me some comments below.