Sorry, Next Gen, I can wait.

A bit of history from an accidental ps3 fangirl:

Video games are a major part of my life, and I have been gaming as long as I can remember. I think my first one was a red toy shaped like the front of a car containing a steering wheel, shifter and a small screen. After that it was ColecoVision; I loved a game called Smurf Paint’n’Play Workshop which foreshadowed my later obsession with The Sims. I wasn’t very good at the Atari, Nintendo and Super Nintendo games, but I was content to watch my friends and family play for hours. As a teenager I finally owned a console with the Sega Genesis, and started playing PC games. The most memorable included Myst and Sim City, the ones that jump-started my love of exploration and strategy in games.

When I was twenty, I bought my own computer for my apartment, and life-changing gaming began when my sister gave me The Sims. (It was released earlier that year.) The strategy I loved from previous Maxis titles was bundled with so much more. I got to create a character, decide her actions, build, decorate, and landscape her house; a sim had a job, a lover, a story. I started to see the appeal of living vicariously through an avatar, but I always wanted my characters (and myself) to stay in their own world. Friends told me I might like MMO-type games where people interacted through a common virtual world, but I couldn’t enjoy them. It seemed strange, impure; a world of NPCs was much safer. The Sims was so enhanced by expansions and mods that the addition of real people would have thrown off my creation. I couldn’t be god, the sole creator of my virtual world that way. The game eventually became a catalyst for my technical knowledge. Each expansion had more and more system requirements, so I learned how to replace hard drives and video cards. It was a new and much more expensive game, replacing, updating, troubleshooting, but my love of games made the experience worth each dollar and minute.

I tried many consoles and their games over the years, but stuck to PC games for the most part. I watched friends play Tomb Raider and Tony Hawk; I never played long enough to get past the learning curve, opting instead for Mario Party and console Sims titles. I remember people lining up for the release of the PS2, then Xbox, PSP, Wii. The latter was the first console I played extensively since the Genesis. I enjoyed the self-published Nintendo titles quite a bit, yet the stand out game was one I missed on PS2, Capcom’s Okami. I remembered seeing it reviewed, but thought it looked strange. A wolf that paints things? I realized I was becoming a console gamer about 60 hours later. The release of PS3 and Xbox 360 went pretty much unnoticed until 2009 when my DH and I got ourselves one as a wedding gift. I loved it, but stuck to Ratchet and LBP (so, platformers) after a frustrating attempt at Uncharted.

The next spring I was assigned an expansive paper on ethics in media and pop culture, so I turned to games as the basis of my topic. I wanted to explore the gender stereotypes that can permeate game culture. I attempted to explore the gap between male and female, casual and hardcore gamers. I thought myself in the divide, a nice happy medium, but eventually realized that I was guilty of boxing myself in. I played “girl games,” casual games, and I would not even try self-labeled “boy games,” using my lack of skill as an excuse. (The paper can be read on the Essays page – it’s long, I warn you now.) When finals ended, I decided to challenge my gaming abilities and my comfortable role as a “girl gamer”. Fallout 3 was my choice, a FPS/RPG with a massive following. After few hours of wandering, collecting guns and good karma, I was obsessed. The game opened new doors for me. I will now attempt almost any game, regardless of any previous skills in the genre.

I have played so many amazing games since the buggy beauty Fallout 3, and there are so many I have yet to try. I haven’t even attempted all games my bookshelf, and the ones on store shelves just keep getting cheaper. A second ps3 was added to our household just two years ago, and Mr. Gamer and I co-op games like Borderlands2, Saints Row 4, and no longer worry about hard-drive space. I’ve become a hardcore gamer, but a casual trophy-hunter; there are many more platinums to earn before I’m done with the ps3. I’m excited for the future of games and players, yet I don’t feel the need to get a ps4. I’ll wait until the patches are out, hard drives are bigger, used games are available, the online co-op servers have all been tested extensively. I’ve geeked out like my old days of Sims on this console. I was late to every party in  Sony and Nintendo’s history (I’m late to most parties literally as well). A price drop will likely happen before I am tempted to be part of the next-gen I just downloaded Bioshock Infinite DLC, I still haven’t finished Last of Us or started GTA V, I never did plat New Vegas; this gen just isn’t dead for me yet.

Here’s hoping they keep servers up a while…

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