Adrift on the gaming sea

Let's face it: most of my gaming life has been an exercise in frustration.

My first console was a Gameboy, followed a couple of years later by a Game Gear. Being a portable gamer with a tiny budget in a small European town in the early '90s was like heaven and hell rolled together with a ribbon on top. For every precious game I managed to get my paws on, there were five games that passed me by, either because my funds were insufficient or because the local shops didn't stock them. But every game I did manage to grab was a pure slice of happiness and a purveyor of many excellent hours of gaming; so I pushed through the frustration of not being able to purchase all the games I wanted, pretty confident that adulthood and its corollary increased purchasing power would soon allow me to make all my gaming wishlists come true.

Alas, that dream scenario did not come to pass—at least not when I expected it. When I finally took my first steps into the marvelous realm of adulthood and increased budget, the gaming industry had veered toward 3D and was wallowing in blocky polygons and shitty shades of brown. This was a nasty blow to my gaming tastes, which favoured cute sprites and vivid colours; and although I did try my hands at these new gaming trends, they never clicked with me and I never managed to extract the slightest shred of pleasure from the 3D games of that time. The effect on my gaming morale was devastating: just when I was finally able to purchase as many games as I wished, there were no more games to purchase because the whole industry had gone in a direction that I loathed. I tried to compensate by purchasing a Megadrive, but the damage was done: my trust in gaming was broken, and the lack of new Megadrive releases achieved to drive me away from that hobby that had betrayed my expectations. I invested my new adulthood funds in manga and anime and gaming took a back seat, going from my greatest passion to something I would dabble in once in a blue moon. (Or rather once a year: summer was usually the time when I would pick up a controller and do a rerun of oldies, first on my original systems and later on my PC through emulation.)

By the mid-noughties, gaming had fallen so far off my radar that the idea of purchasing brand-new gaming systems was unthinkable. I assumed that purchasing consoles and games was a thing of my past and that my gaming present and future were in emulation and occasional bouts of gaming, and I was so sure of it that I virtually stopped following the industry's evolutions for a couple of years. But as the noughties were drawing to a close, lo and behold, my interest in new consoles was piqued again. I don't remember exactly how and why this happened; but one thing leading to another, I finally decided to invest in the Nintendo DS—and the rest is history.

Since that fateful moment, I've been immersed in gaming like never before. I bought tons of games to (over)compensate for all my years away from gaming and I luxuriated in this newfound and long-awaited gaming abundance. I still do so nowadays, and I relish every minute of it. This is the first time in my gaming life that the frustration that has followed me ever since I first lay my thumb on a D-pad is totally absent. And boy, does this feel amazing.

However, my bright gaming skies have darkened ever-so-slightly of late. The reason for this change of weather is none other than the recent announcements—or lack thereof—regarding the new generation of portable systems. Nothing I've heard so far about the elusive NX makes me excited about it, and Sony's complete silence about a possible successor to the Vita makes me fear that there will be no such successor. I'm thus facing the very real possibility of finding myself once again at odds with the hot gaming trends, stranded with no new console to invest in; and after six years of absolute gaming bliss, I cannot say that I'm elated at such a prospect.

However, should I have to face a second gaming exile, I'm much better prepared for it than the first time around. I still have a impossibly long backlog to clear, as well as boxed games that are not going anywhere and will be there for the replaying in the years to come. But most importantly, I now have the certainty, born from experience, that gaming goes through phases and fashions; and if tomorrow's hot gaming trend is not my cup of tea, then maybe the next one will be—or the one after that. In a nutshell, although most of my gaming life has been rife with frustrations—from not being able to purchase coveted games to not liking the gaming fashion of the moment—the last years have been a distinct departure from this whole pattern of gaming unaccomplishment, and I firmly intend to keep basking in that newfound gaming bliss. Whether or not I invest in the next console generation, my gaming career will endure; now that I've clawed my way back into gaming at long last, I'm not leaving any time soon. Thanks for reading, and be my guest anytime!

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