Today is March 31, 2020. I picked up my keyboard and started writing for the first time in January, and published my first work on January 25, 2020. This is a retelling of that article, a look back at my first step into writing, a discussion on quarantine’s impact on me as a gamer, and a dive into how much video games can mean to people. This is an ode to the past gaming generation and a smile towards the next. It’s my love letter to video games.
I said a few months back that we were in the final stretch of the current gaming generation. That hasn’t changed. The clock seems to be moving faster. Back then, I wasn’t locked in my house all day. Maybe some days I was, but it was by choice. COVID-19 wasn’t as scary.
In the time since, I have finished a few games, played a bunch more, and spent a lot of time writing. I was bartending most nights before. Wake up, workout, play, write, and go to work. It was a simple routine, but it was mine, and I liked it. I’ve also been social distancing for a lot of days.
Video Games Don’t Have One Definition
When I started writing, I was using games as a selfish passion. I looked for opportunities to stimulate my mind. Well-written narratives, impactful gameplay, memorable experiences; these were buzzwords that I knew in a one-dimensional format.
Wanting to appreciate the medium, I sought some of the best things video games had to offer. I found them but missed the actual beauty of the art. Games, like music and dance, are creations meant to bring people together. They’re crafted to inspire and to be enjoyed, but in the end, the goal is to spark conversations. I was enjoying games, but my eyes remained shut. Alone with a mirror, I didn’t see the world around me or the contributions of others. Blissfully, I was isolated.
This Generation Was No Joke
There have been so many great games this generation. I’ve slain gods with Kratos in God of War, robbed trains in Red Dead Redemption 2, saved a city on the brink of total annihilation in Sunset Overdrive, and a lot more. At one time or another, I was a photographer, an activist for the liberation of androids, a soldier, a witcher, and a professor. Quite the resume, I know.
They’re all fictional. I’m fully aware of this. That said, the reality of these digital tales isn’t non-existent. Their realities spread far beyond the borders of my television screen. They escape the right angles of my bedroom walls and the locks of my front door. It took a quarantine and some diligent work for me to realize this.
I’ve been writing with The Nerd Stash for about a week. My first article with the outlet was about MLB The Show 20. I addressed its impact on the video game industry in 2020, what it meant for players, sports fans, and in actuality, what it meant to me.
My second was about Jackbox Games. Without spending too much time, Jackbox Games is doing a great deal to support its fans and gamers during these difficult times. They know COVID-19 has been tough. The developer is giving titles away for free and showing parents how to use their games in ways to help their young students at home.
People Helping People Through Video Games
For the first time, I was opening my eyes to what gaming could be and has been. Actual faces and hands are making these toys that I play with. Those faces and hands are people, and they’re going through the same days and weeks that I am. However, they aren’t just riding out the storm. Many are fostering a community, giving hope in a time where hope is scarce.
San Diego Studios and MLB The Show recently held a tournament pitting actual MLB players against one another. Each game was online, streamed for anyone to watch. Cincinnati Reds pitcher Amir Garrett came out on top as the winner. I saw it all over Twitter. Such a small event made a huge buzz because it was baseball when there wasn’t baseball.
People were brought together while isolated. In a time of uncertainty, fans of the sport could experience the resemblance of normality, even though the real fields are currently empty. It may have only lasted for a few hours, but those few hundred minutes were meaningful beyond measure.
Jackbox Games is reaching out to parents turned homeschool teachers, giving people their products for free, and connecting friends forced to be apart. These aren’t small gestures. They are massive.
I’ve Learned A Lot During These Hard Times
Researching these stories and writing about them, well, they’ve given me perspective. I’ve loved the time I’ve spent behind the analog sticks, and I wouldn’t trade my memories. That said, I think they’re changing a bit on their own.
I’ve joined gaming Facebook groups. I’ve become friends with old classmates that I rarely spoke too. I comment in Twitch stream chat rooms. I wouldn’t have done these things five years ago. Not a year ago, not even six months ago. I’m talking about games every single day, to my brother, to Facebook group members, and you.
I don’t know what I thought writing about video games would be like. I never thought I’d start writing at all. Is it just top-ten lists? Or reviews? I don’t think it is. I’ve found it to be a canvas. A way to share art focused on another art—a way to understand video games in a way I never have. With fresh eyes, a way to finally pay my dues in my community.
The world is in a tough spot right not. There’s no sugar coating that. Even so, video games are providing relief, and they’re helping us through these fear-filled days. Providing charitable donations, hosting online events, and just existing has created light in the dark. The contributions of the gaming community, developers, and gamers alike have opened my eyes.
These past few years have given birth to masterpieces—some grander than others, but countless sublime examples of art. There were stories to discover, and stories to tell others. More than exhibits, they’ve been pillars supporting the community I love. I have cherished my time with them. Those memories are dear to me, and they’re enabling me to create new ones every day.
I came into my own this past generation, especially as of late. I discovered new games, new friends, and my niches. I found a way to understand and share my passion with others. It’s been a grandiose time. The next generation is coming. Its exact arrival is uncertain right now, but it’ll be here, and I’ll have a ticket purchased.
I hope all of you are reading this are finding comfort through video games, and are getting along as well as you can. I’ll see you in the next generation.