Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Graduated Gamer Games In The Real World, And So Can You - Part 2

[This is the second part of a two part post about how to pick up that dusty controller after years of neglect. If you're in the darkness known as adulthood with...well, a life, then you've likely been away from your beloved games for too long and this post is for you. But hold on there Sparky - if you haven't done so already, check out Part 1 then come on back for the thrilling conclusion.]

Where did we leave off last? Oh right, I just finished telling you poor fools stuck in the real world how to get back to the path of gaming where you belong. So far we've made carved time out of our busy schedules for gaming, taken inventory of our games and systems, and done a little research into the current gaming landscape. Now we’re on to the final steps to bring you back into hardcore gaming from the depths of n00b-y-ness. Buckle up, cause here we go...

Burnout 3 would make for some gruesome driver's ed videos.

Step 4: Organize Your Gaming Area

I can’t stress enough how important this step is. Let's imagine for a minute you wanted to bake a cake, yet the sink was full of gross water and dirty dishes, the baking pans were scattered about and in the wrong cabinets, and the ingredients were either missing or almost gone or expired. Yea buddy, good luck making a cake (or scones or cupcakes or whatever the hell else you like to bake). A clean working space is essential for anyone to get any serious work done, whether it be for your work life or personal life. When I decided I wanted to get back into gaming shape again, I took one look at my entertainment center and nearly gave up right then and there. I had cords going every which way except in the proper inputs, game discs in wrong cases, XBox games mixed in with N64 games mixed in with my Nintendo DS. It was a clusterf***, but instead of giving up, I rolled up my sleeves and got to organizing.

First, I took a trip to Target and bought some basic organizing bins with separators to store memory cards, controllers, and battery packs. I also bought book-ends to keep my cases in proper standing order. I gave my XBox, N64, and 360 each their own space on my TV stand (they've put up with you this long, they deserve it). I organized the cords in an orderly fashion and clipped them together with cord clips to make it aesthetically pleasing (maybe I'm just OCD, but cords going every damn place make my skin crawl). And most of all, I made sure that my game discs and cases were matched (seriously, I have no excuse for how the majority of them were in the wrong cases other than I just got lazy).

If your games and systems have been untouched for long enough, they likely have a nice dust layer that'll need wiped away, so bust out the Swiffer or the Green Clean (environmentalism is sexy) and get to work. A dusty console is a miserable console, and as you all (should) know dust is bad for electronics, so do a good enough job that you could eat off of that PS3 (not that I recommend that either, because trust me the only thing worse for electronics than dust is nacho cheese). Once you're done, take a step back and admire your new and improved gaming space. Hell, feel free to take pictures with it, because you two are going to be very chummy in the near future.

Step 5: Start Gaming...Slowly

Before you roll your eyes at this, think about it for a second. You're an adult with responsibilities, deadlines, possibly a wife and kids, friends, obligations, etc. Burnout is always a threat in a non-gamers life, and adding in one more "to do" will only increase that possibility. The last thing you want is to kill all your hard work at the start because you tried to have a few late night marathons of playing Skyrim in the first week. The real world shouldn't come between you and gaming, but in all fairness your playing time shouldn't interfere or disrupt your life in the real world either.

Finding a life/gaming balance is essential, no matter what age you are - the only difference is that you have far more people depending on you as an adult than you did as a child or a college student. Remember Step 1? Take the time you set aside for gaming and adhere to it strictly. As you become familiar with your craft and feel more comfortable setting more time aside, readdress Step 1 and change your habits accordingly. The point here is to get into a good groove with a slow start. If you try to push yourself back into gaming shape too soon it's bound to shoot you in the ass like a 6 year old kid in Blazing Saddles.

Step 6: Buy More Games and Enjoy Yourself

Alright hot-shot, you've taken the time to get set up, test the waters, and finally drag yourself out of the dark pit of despair known as life to enjoy gaming once more. Now comes the final step in your metamorphosis. Just like any other hobby or pleasure in life, there's an investment to be made, and to truly be back in the realm of true gamers, you'll need to update that game library of yours. If you're still mashing buttons on your PS2 I suggest looking into a shiny new PS3, or trying something new and buying the sleek looking Super-Slim XBox 360. If you've got a newer console but are "stuck" playing Gears of War 2 or Resistance, there are so many games to choose from that are bound to satisfy your newfound game-lust. You came a long way from the real world n00b to be where you are at this point, and you should celebrate with a copy of a game you've wanted to play for a long time.

And there you have it: my 6 steps to take yourself from the depressing depths of a gameless adulthood to the grandeur of pwning n00bs (or whatever it is people call it these days, I don’t know since I just started gaming again not too long ago). Now go forth with controller in hand and stake your claim once more in the landscape of gaming greatness. Oh, and feel free to share this with any other poor shmucks who haven’t yet seen the light and are also trapped in the real world.

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