Console Gaming (Why I Decided to Quit)

Today, while driving back home from work, I happened upon a little bit of a EUREKA! moment. Typically, I do all my thinking in my 35 minute drive home from work, it’s some personal time and I get to really hash out ideas, thoughts, and other random shit. Most people do it in the shower, or while pooping, but I’m an outside-the-box kind of guy and refuse to conform to social norms. (I’m such a fucking hipster, it’s rad.)

Anyhow, I don’t remember what actually sparked the thought in my mind, but the main idea was that I am was paying $60 a month for a service that I didn’t really use. I’m a Microsoft gamer, never really was a Sony gamer (though my first console was a PS1), and I’ve been paying $60 a year for over 7 fucking years. Now, I can honestly say that the expense was made justifiable because I would socialize with buddies who had moved away, or just play with others without having to pack my gear up and go somewhere. So, I’ll say that the first 5 or so years were worth the expense.

But the last few years, my gaming time has been dwindling. Due to having two kids, being married, working, and just generally becoming more of an adult than I ever thought possible just a few short years ago. This doesn’t make me any less of a gamer, but I started having some thoughts about why I was still paying for this service. Needless to say, I just shoved those thoughts back into the tiny crevice of my brain that they originated from and vowed to never approach the subject again. So, largely, I didn’t. I kept on, playing by myself most nights, or doing some LFG posting on Reddit to solve my lack of friends online/playing the game I was currently playing. (LFG Destiny raids are NOT worth the trouble.)

And, while I still had fun, it never was the same amount of fun I’d had before. It wasn’t nearly as relaxing, so much as (almost) a damn chore. Some times I just didn’t feel like it, and so I didn’t. I’d rather watch TV than get on Reddit and spend 40+ minutes searching for people to help me do a raid clear. I stopped joining in on party chats, and eventually just stopped playing multiplayer games. I didn’t have a reason to chat with friends playing single player stuff, so I kept to myself. (Side note: this sounds depressing as fuck, but it really wasn’t. Adulting is hard.)

A few months ago, I bought a laptop for school. Started buying games on Steam/Origin and playing those. It was the most enjoyment I had gotten from gaming in months. I didn’t miss the party chats. I wasn’t looking for a group for a raid clear. I was having pure, absolute joy again. So I kept to myself, playing single player games. It was much easier with life, I was able to boot up a game on my own time, without having to schedule shit beforehand. I wasn’t waiting for that one friend to get back from smoking a cigarette, which somehow would last upwards of 20 minutes. I could get drunk, and have fun, with no one bitching because I’m too drunk to shoot straight. Still, through all of this, I didn’t revisit that tiny crevice I had hidden my thoughts. It’s just a phase– I kept telling myself.

Looking back, it makes sense. Hell, I should’ve seen it earlier. It’s not that PC gaming has ruined my motivation to play on consoles. Quite the opposite. If anything, it actually kept me playing for longer. Either to play something I didn’t own (or “borrow”) on my laptop, or just to see what the new Games with Gold deal was. Something. Looking for a reason to play a game I no longer had any interest in, or try to run a strike in Destiny but get bored halfway through. It all makes sense.

This entire time, these past couple of years, I wasn’t paying for Xbox Live because of the games. I was playing it for nostalgia, and to relive the old moments I had gaming with my buddies. I was, essentially, paying $60 a year to remember the old days. Once I had this realization, I facepalmed. I’m an idiot. A big, stupid idiot. Most of the people I played with on console, had since moved on to PC. Either by building them a rig, or buying one and amassing a game catalog that was impressive to someone that played Skyrim that one time for like 10 hours on a shit PC. I could still game with them, but I had to –gasp– convert! (But no really, after a few months on a gaming laptop, it’s way better. Visually, and performance.)

It wasn’t a big eureka moment. Looking back at it, just a few hours ago, it certainly felt like it was. Consoles have been my preferred gaming apparatus for the past decade (Super Nintendo, PS1-3, Xbox (OG to One)) and I never once considered that I would ever fully slide away from the console scene. I mean, yeah, I heard the #PCMasterRace folks talk up PC gaming, where performance was unrivaled and visuals were literally sexy. It didn’t really ever matter to me, at least in that aspect. What mattered was the time I spent bullshitting with friends while doing endless Gold or Platinum runs in Mass Effect 3‘s multiplayer experience. And I had been paying, for two years, for the just the memories that the experience left me with. I’m over it now, but I’ve removed all payment methods from my XBL account, and won’t purchasing myself a Gold sub for quite a while. I’ll be focusing on my PC, and just having fun.

When I went to remove my subscription, I discovered that I hadn’t had Gold since July 2nd, 2016. Turns out, the way my brother and I had set up our consoles to share games also allowed sharing Gold. So I’d been playing off his Gold sub for months. Still, I went in to remove all payment methods, so I still did just that. But the way it worked out was just… unexpected, I guess. So that’s my story, and no, there really wasn’t anything special. No life threatening situations, nothing life ending. Just me, a 35 minute drive home, and a random thought about gaming. I don’t have any wise words to impart… Boobs are great.

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