Saturday, December 6, 2008

Day 336 - "I've got a hunger twisting my stomach into knots..."

As I approach the last few weeks of being 'Paused,' (less than a month left as of 12:01 AM today!) I've begun to reflect on what this past year has meant to me.

There were things I knew I wanted to do this year: starting the blog, running the half marathon, traveling more, doing some serious reading, etc. And while I went through the list of my goals, I felt a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, along with the obvious accompanying benefits of exercising, reading, writing, performing, and seeing the world. In simpler terms, I spent time acquiring Experience Points (EXP), and I scored a +1 bonus to my Strength (STR), Defense (DEF), and Intelligence (INT).

Now... how do I raise my Luck???

But there were a few secondary benefits to my year off from games. Some things I didn't know would happen until, say, I found myself sitting on my couch at four in the morning staring at dusty controllers in my living room, mouthing the words to Glory Days, and weeping silently to myself*.

Here are some less embarrassing self-discoveries:

1) I can really put my mind to something, and get it done. Disney was trying to tell me this for years, but it took this event for me to really realize it. If I can give up my favorite hobby on the planet for an entire year, and replace that time with (arguably) more productive habits, then I'm fairly convinced I have the discipline to accomplish anything I'm remotely serious about. Goonies 2* script, here I come!

2) I'm much more excited about being single than I realized. A year ago I was going on all kinds of dates, some of them of the Crazy Blind variety, in a fairly dedicated attempt to put myself out there and meet someone. Now here we are a year later, and I started looking at all of the things A) I managed to get done with my time during my year off from games, and B) I'm looking forward to doing next year, when I'm obviously going to want to play games, but I'm still going to want to continue doing all the awesome things I started (or restarted) doing recently. And I realized I couldn't have done a lot of this if I wasn't single.

Now, I don't begrudge all of my friends who've paired up. But up until recently I was always a bit jealous of anyone I knew who was in a relationship. And now I know that I have a certain level of freedom that many of them don't. So does that mean I'm going to overlook potential mates should the opportunity arise? No, of course not. But let's just say I'm in a pretty sweet win-win position. Also - to all my secret admirers out there: if you're biding your time to make a move on me - you're probably going to want to wait until at least February...

3) I'm now very serious about having a career in the game industry. This one's a little less surprising to me, but I've never been as sure of it as I am now. I've always want to work in the game industry on some level, and truth be told, I've already held two jobs that fall under this category. But I wasn't ever really sure if it was just because I enjoy playing games so much that I was forcing something that really wasn't meant to be or not. I've loved cookies just as long as I've loved games, why not get a job in the cookie industry?

I was at video game career fair recently where I heard from a few small game company CEOs describe their ascent into their current positions. I took a minute to look around the room full of college students, gamers, and maybe a few people who just didn't know what they wanted, and I finally stopped and thought about myself for a second. I had an ipod on my lap with 5 different gaming podcasts on them, and list of all the games I want to play sitting in my wallet. I'm obsessed not only with games but gaming culture - reading every bit of news on the industry I can get my hands on. I know the names of, or at least can recognize, the heads of most major game companies, along with a bevy of major gaming journalists. Finally, I've revolved a year of my life around the challenge of simply not playing them. And despite not playing anything - video games remain a huge part of my life.

Clearly gaming is more than just a hobby to me. And I need to - rather, I'm going to turn this energy and passion into something substantial.


PS: As an added bonus to the year off, I got myself totally psyched to turn 30. I made this usually depressing milestone - considered to be the end of one's youth, the point in which I can go back to being a kid again!

Yeah, but I'd still rather be: Ghostbusting!

*This actually hasn't happened to me...yet.
*I may or may not decide to keep the mermaid.


Matt said...

OK, Matt, I'll wait till February. Perhaps longer now that you've provided me a glimpse of the new Ghostbusters video game.

lalala said...

hooray for you! what great revelations. keep the blog going in the new year!

Dave said...

Nice going. I've gone and done something of a reverse. For the last three years, I have pretty much forgone video games to pursue ended up being my latest passion: the sport of triathlon. Towards the end of 2007, I decided my one major goal of 2008 was to complete the Ironman USA in Lake Placid for 2008. After that, I was going to rekindle my passion for video games with a new console purchase. I ultimately picked up a 360 in October and have been enjoying the re-connect with my gaming friends. I'm now balancing my time between both Worlds, and it's been wonderful! In some ways, it's also resparked an old dormant idea of seeking profession in the gaming industry as well. I setup Visual C# Express with the XNA Dev kit to develop some of my own apps/games for the 360. I've a long ways to go as my current professional programming life is mostly in the security and identity realm.

BiscuitSpace said...

Salutations from totally out of nowhere; I meandered to your page via Joystiq, interested in your brave and introspective journey as you put down to controllers for a year. For some reason I picture you as David Carradine in Kung Fu, wandering around random towns trying to find yourself.

I too am on the verge of hitting 30; and have been obsessing over what that means to me as a gamer and as a man who has a family. I'm slowly finding that I can, indeed, have my cake and eat it too; life can be fulfilling on all fronts.

Anyways, that's a bunch of malarkey that you probably don't care about; I just wanted to say that your blog is very entertaining and close to home that I couldn't help but say something, anything.


Kirill said...

Wow! I found our blog via Joystiq and you have really inspired me. I am seriously considering quitting all video games for 2009, to see what I too can accomplish.

Thomas said...

What an inspirational blog. You have some great insights, and fantastic musical taste if I do say so myself.

I just wanted compliment your writing skill, and also the insight you have gained from your challenge is very interesting, I do not know if I could do what you've done, so well done. This blog has definitely been added to my daily RSS feed.