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Becoming a Casual Gamer

How did this happen to me?

I've played video games most of my life and looking back I definitely went through some stages. 

My earliest memory of gaming was when I was maybe five or six years old. My older brother bought an Atari. I think I was more fascinated with it because I idolized my brother and he was making the tv do things on command. I didn't understand the games he played so it was lost on me. 

My second phase came when my older brother bought the Sega Master System. That was fun. The graphics were a lot better than the Atari and I was old enough to understand the concepts of the games. Hang On and Gangster Town were the big games my brother would constantly play. But I remember loving this little known game called Action Fighter. I would play that game for hours on end. 

My younger brother soon got a Nintendo Entertainment System and we were floored. Again the graphical jump was apparent. This time we were introduced to the likes of Mario and Mega Man. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the arcade game, was a must because we loved it in the arcade. 

Soon after my brothers got a Sega Genesis together. I played a few games on this system like Toe Jam and Earl, X-Men, and Sonic but really I only played it for NHL 94. My older brother and I had epic games. 

The very first game console I bought on my own was the Super NES. I played tons of Secret of Mana and Super Mario World. I got introduced to Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat. Oddly enough I played the hell out of the Galaga mini game on Mortal Kombat 3. I also got decent with Killer Instinct. 

Around this time there were a slew of portables that I had collected. Tetris on the Gameboy was an "oh my god" moment when I first saw it in the mall. My family played the hell out of that. I had more fond times with the original gameboy over the gameboy color and the gameboy advance. But when the Nintendo DS came it was all Advanced Wars for me. I must have logged in thousands of hours of play on that game. 

I think there was a huge different phase around the time I had picked up a 3DO and an original Playstation. This gaming phase really ramped up as I was making more money. Games got increasingly cheaper and plentiful. Collecting games almost felt like buying trading cards. I wish this generation knew what it was like to collect games back then. The art on the covers, in the manuals and the promotional material was exciting. There was a lot of work and detail to bringing these games out and that I think helped bring excitement in playing these games. This more of my hardcore years. 

The original playstation also brought a whole wack load of games that were completely original. A lot of them you couldn't really categorize at that time. It was like the wild west phase of gaming. There were no rules and companies were free to experiment with new ideas. The fresh new original ideas had me invested. While sequels weren't just sequels, they were revamps of the original. 

I had a Nintendo 64, but wasn't overly excited to play it except for the game Blast Corps

The next generation of Playstation 2, Gamecube, Xbox and Dreamcast was great because it felt like the Playstation One days, but better graphics. It was a more refined version of the previous generation. New ideas were still popping up but sequels were starting to feel like cash grabs. 

Then I think my interest started to wane during the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 generation. I played a lot of games but there was something different. It was as if I had played it all before. Street Fighter 4 had come out and I played that religiously. Other than Street Fighter the other games seemed disposable. 

The current generation of systems came out and I found myself becoming even more casual. I didn't even pick up the new systems right away. I waited three years from the release to pick them up and it was mainly for Street Fighter 5. Don't get me wrong, there have been great games, but I think some of the magic is gone. I wonder as I get older when I stopped wanting to challenge myself with games. Sometimes I think I work all day. my mind is already scrambled—why do I want to challenge it even more by solving some unnecessary puzzle in a video game. Some of the games are way too long. I barely have time to play so how do I get invested with the characters or story in the game? I can't remember some of the stories of. I take week long breaks between gaming. 

I discovered that as I grow up that my priorities change but my interests are still there. Time management is one of the most key things I've never really mastered. I'm sure that has something to do with my casual gaming. At first I felt bad about being a casual gamer, but I really have nothing to prove to anyone so I've come to accept it. 

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Becoming a Casual Gamer
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