Sunday, January 15, 2017

Kim the gaymer

If you have lived under a rock for the past 5 years and don’t know what a gaymer is, it’s simply a gamer who is gay. Duh. I don’t know the history behind the coining of that term but maybe it was created by a gay person who thought he was attractive or had a good fashion sense and wanted to distinguish himself from the stereotypical image of a gamer i.e. somewhat geeky, possibly obese and someone who dresses poorly.

Whatever the history and your sexuality is, the business of gaming is the fastest growing sector in the entertainment industry and is here to stay for a long time. By the way if you think gamers are hard-core dudes who do all-nighters in internet cafes, you’re sorely mistaken. If you’re into smartphone games a lot of which target females (think Angry Birds and Candy Crush), you’re considered a gamer too. Angry Birds went from a humble game on your mobile to a Hollywood movie so you can gauge from this the potential of this industry and how much successful game-developers stand to be paid.

I’m a gaymer myself if you don’t already know, both with smartphone games and those on consoles. Ever since the two major players in the field upgraded to their next generation consoles, I’ve wanted to follow suit but was waiting for their game repertoires to mature. Also there wasn’t much point in upgrading my first-generation Xbox 360 when I still had a crappy TV. So recently we nabbed a bargain and changed our full HD TV to a UHD 4K model. Your eyes can’t discern resolution beyond a certain extent so there’s really no reason to fork out that much extra for a newly-released model with enhanced resolution. The price of a TV drops drastically whenever its new model is released and by buying the older version, I got a very good deal on my 55” Sony Bravia.

Sony was the choice because it’s the best for gaming as opposed to other brands that are more optimised for movie-watching. Moreover Sony has just released its Playstation 4 Pro which makes it the newest available console in the market. It also boasts the VR or virtual reality option which I intend to pursue in the future. A lot of my gaming friends also recommended Playstation 4 over Xbox One which matched my extensive online research findings. All this culminated in my complete gaming upgrade before Christmas which was planned in advance so that I could play over the Christmas break.

Now you must think what an anti-social or lifeless person I am for celebrating the festive season in front of the TV playing video games. Well if that’s what you think, you don‘t really know gaming and the game I was (and still am) playing. This game took 10 years to make and is one of the most successful franchises in the world i.e. Final Fantasy XV. To give you an idea of how popular this game is, it actually released a full-length movie (Kingsglaive) as a promo. How many games manage to do that? The purpose of this post is not to sell games or TVs and consoles for that matter so I’ll not go into details of the game. However like all things in life, there are pros and cons with any decision or action and being a gaymer is no different and I do want to share what I think are the main ones.

The biggest advantage of choosing gaming as an entertainment option is its value for money. A new console game costs about $80 and that gives you hours of fun. A full-length game’s main quest typically takes 40 to 50 hours to complete and that doesn’t include the many other optional quests one gets to also enjoy. Imagine if you had spent those 50 hours socialising outdoors, how much more would that have cost you when you factor in the amount spent on transport, drinks, food and venue admission charges? As an avid and oft extreme saver who dislikes socialising unless it’s with close friends which I don’t have a lot of in Melbourne, gaming is an obvious choice for me. The Christmas period was also oppressively hot so staying indoors gaming away had the added advantage of avoiding bad weather.

As alluded earlier a lot of money is invested in the gaming industry and that goes into story- and soundtrack-development in addition to the creation of jaw-dropping graphics. With good visuals, plot and music plus the fact that you’re actually actively controlling how everything develops, gaming offers a far more immersive experience than watching a movie. After 50 hours of being a character, how can one not be invested in every aspect of him or her? I’ll be watching Kingsglaive again after completing Final Fantasy XV and I’m sure I’ll get a whole different array of feelings and emotions. I’m so looking forward to that.

All that being said, I still don’t choose to start a game willy-nilly as I know I’ll get addicted to it and lose track of other life priorities upon commencement. Although to me that’s the biggest con in gaming, I actually see that as a pro being too good. It’s because the game is made so well that it draws you in completely thereby causing that addiction. By the way I never ever compromise my fitness regimen for anything and gaming is no different but I must admit being stuck in front of the TV gaming your weekends away does reduce your overall activity level. You also tend to eat less healthily by choosing pre-packaged processed food (e.g. instant noodles, frozen pizza, etc.) that doesn’t require much preparation and so takes the minimum time away from gaming.

Whenever I embark on completing a game, the addiction means that my hermit mode is activated. Midsumma (i.e. Mardi Gras Fair Day for Melbournians) is on today and I am giving this major gay event a pass and choosing gaming instead. However this doesn’t mean that one becomes cut off from the world because most games have multi-player options nowadays and you can actually build friendships and relationships playing a game together online. Who is to say that is not a good thing? The other disadvantages I can think of are maybe over-stimulation causing poorer sleep quality if you play just before you sleep and blisters on your palm from using the game controller for too long a period. In my opinion these are minor compared to the hours of enjoyment one gets from gaming.

For your information I only presented the cons of gaming to balance things up as I personally don’t see any downside that will actually stop me from doing it. Of course having a husband that’s a bigger gaymer than yourself certainly helps and my being engrossed in my own game gives him his much-needed peace and quiet and so I’m sure he doesn’t have anything to complain about. That’s unless we’re both fighting to play the same game which rarely happens now that he has started the retail version of World of Warcraft which is another massively-immersive game which has a huge following.

So it looks like there’s nothing substantial between me and gaming and therefore onwards I go in my Final Fantasy journey. To conclude this post here are some screenshots (*** possible spoilers warning ***). I took from that game that I really like (especially the food ones!).

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