Not gaming?

For a myriad of reasons, I have not gamed in the last two days. Nor have I written here, obviously. I’ve started a new job which is quite draining (but more rewarding on an ‘ideals’ level) and I entered into a valley of the doldrums. Whenever I say that word I recall the first time I read The Phantom Tollbooth, and that gray, desperate ennui would be an apt way to describe what had occurred.

I could go into a longer treatise on why this occurred, but I’ve already purged that out of my system. Instead, I was reminded of one segment in particular that caught my attention during the last Brainy Gamer Gamer’s Confab: gaming is an expensive habit.

Part of the reason there is a chunk of missing data in my own gaming history is that I lived for a year without electricity in high school. To say that the surrounding years afforded no new videogames unless my parents pirated them would be quite apt. This is among the reasons I don’t personally believe in pirating games: it leaves me with a feeling of desperation and reminds me of worse times (further complicated by my father’s videogame addiction–yes, I believe in such). Thankfully, my family has since rebounded and is firmly on its feet, and I’m thankful that such was the worst I ever faced.

While we can talk ’til the cows come home about gaming being a recession-proof industry, I think we’re only looking at the industry itself. Most people I know who game may buy up to three games a year, not really wanting to keep up with all the latest releases. The other reason being that three games in a year can cost one anywhere from $150-200 easily. While we’re now presented with games that can be downloaded at much more manageable prices, this is by and large not that which with the public is aware. I’ve met many Wii owners who were not even aware that they had access to the WiiWare channel–confusing my talk of it with the Virtual Console.

Recession proof? I believe we’ve seen evidence in the contrary. However, while I may cringe oftentimes when I see discussion of how people are entitled to certain things from a game because of the money they spent, I understand from where they come–to an extent. On the other hand, sometimes I wonder if we let an inner spoiled brat start complaining at the drop of a hat.

Then I see organizations like Penny Arcade’s Child’s Play and the efforts by GenCon Indianapolis (even if their initial donations were spurned, but which led to some confusion), and I realize that there are those gamers out there that do realize what they have and what others do not. While I try to not be sappy as often as possible, with the American Thanksgiving coming around the bend, I think we gamers should be thankful we even have the money to purchase our systems, games, and the space in which we’re voicing our opinions.

P.S. In the near future I will probably be striving for only three posts a week until I get the hang of my new job/schedule.


About Denis Farr

Writer interested in intersectionality, games, comics, nerdy stuff in general, theater, and how it all mixes. Graduate of Wabash College, with studies in Theater, English, German, and Gender Studies.
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4 Responses to Not gaming?

  1. Dan Bruno says:

    “While we can talk ’til the cows come home about gaming being a recession-proof industry, I think we’re only looking at the industry itself.”I’m curious what you mean by this. If it’s true that the industry is recession-proof, doesn’t it follow that there’s an audience buying the games? What is the evidence to the contrary?As Leigh Alexander said on the latest Brainy Gamer podcast, the vast majority of people who play video games aren’t like us — they don’t read Kotaku, read gaming blogs, pore over Metacritic scores, want to play every new release, etc. But that’s not endemic to economic recession; that’s just how the industry is.As I understand it, the “recession-proof” argument has to do with video games being a cheaper alternative to other forms of entertainment. When pressed for cash, your average middle-class family might pick up Rock Band — to throw out a random example :-) — instead of, say, taking a vacation, or even going to the movies. It’s those kinds of sales that prop us up during hard times.

  2. Denis Farr says:

    @Dan Bruno: I’m wondering if gaming has reached that point of acceptance, mainly.I don’t believe, at this point, anything is recession-proof, which has a rather odd sound to it in itself. The gaming industry stands to still do very well comparatively, but not unscathed. Many other entertainment industries will fare worse (the record industry’s steady decline will see this further). Recession-resistant? Yes. Recession-proof? Eh. Perhaps I’m just picking apart the semantics too much.

  3. Brett Gann says:

    From what I understand, the bottle cap industry does very well during recessions: more families stay home and consume bottled products instead of going out, etc. Whether you call this “recession-proof” or not, I can imagine that there are a series of industries that achieve mild gains or, at least, milder losses during times of recession.Good luck with your new job and congratulations.

  4. Scott Juster says:

    I recommend Gamefly. If you go through lots of games, it is a great deal.I noticed I started thinking about non-game related entertainment in terms of video games. For example, when the new Bond movie came out, I thought to myself: “I should just save $10 + transportation and put it towards a game.” For me, 20% of a game is worth more than 100% of a movie. Maybe that’s what makes video games recession-resistant for me: I ascribe more value to them than other leisure activities.

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