The fantasy of gaming: escaping the modern world

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Photo by Paige Bush

One of my favourite sentimental items is my Playstation 2. I received it over twelve years ago for Christmas, having never touched a video game before that and it ended up becoming one of my main comforts and beloved hobbies.

Whenever I look at it, it gives me a pleasant, warm feeling of nostalgia and even though it currently sounds like a space shuttle about to blast off whenever it’s turned on, it somehow still works just fine.

As someone who has always been drawn to fictional worlds in any shape or form, video games felt like a natural pathway into universes I was already so enamoured with.

Instead of merely being able to imagine various places and the characters within them, I could control what happened and I could be the hero.

Whether or not I was ever good at playing video games was never really a factor for me (spoiler alert: I wasn’t and I’m still not).

I just enjoyed the thrill of something being so fun and furiously challenging at times.

My infatuation with games waned and faded for a significant amount of time in my teens until just a few years ago when I stumbled onto my long lost pastime once again.

Dating my boyfriend was basically my reintroduction into the world of video games and it thrust me back into the simple pleasure that had grown so much since I had last visited it.

I look at games like I look at books or movies: with fondness.

The ones I like become passionately fuelled obsessions that end up being a very relaxing, anxiety-aiding tool. I get to escape to them and the events that unfold through each one.

I become attached to the characters and end up having to pace myself through each game so I don’t overindulge myself in one go and finish it too quickly.

Since I played them in the mid-2000’s, I’m happy that the worlds I once loved so much have evolved so heavily and drastically from when I last saw them.

Not having to wait a solid five minutes for a loading screen is a nice improvement.

As someone who is generally disinterested in online game playing, I take the most joy out of being able to singlehandedly kill a monster on my own or play my way through challenges by myself, other people be damned.

It also doesn’t matter to me at all whether I’m playing a game on an Xbox One, a Playstation 4 or a PC. I think they all have their own merits, as unpopular and potentially contentious of an opinion as that may be.

I think part of what I really relish about this incredibly “nerdy” activity that I’ve picked up again is the fact that it feels like it’s my thing. Like books, each story is what I make of it.

I unwind and get lost in whatever storyline I’m taking my character through, relish in the all too therapeutic art of masterfully slashing my way against a siege of enemies and I take personal pride in the little accomplishments that pop up on the screen in front of me.

Not everyone may take the same thrill out of video games as I do, or even understand why I like them, but that’s the amazingly wonderful thing about the hobbies we choose to embrace as individuals.

There’s something that will personally resonate with everyone and I’m thankful that I’ve come back to one that brings my mind so much peace and contentment, even if it’s just for a little while.


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