Sunday, January 20, 2013

25 Signs You're A Gamer

What does it mean to be a "gamer" in the 21st century? Our guest contributor Ryan "Bingo" Milliard, who you may remember from his review of the story-driven kart racer Redline 4 back in May, has managed to find my contact information again after several mistaken phone numbers and addresses. Here below you will find his remarkable capacity in drawing out the deeply (deeply) hidden romanticism of the "true gamer".

(Look: I publish his work because he pays me per-word. It's a rough business out here... we all gotta get by somehow. Apologies in advance to Todd Terje...)


by Ryan "Bingo" Milliard (@GLRyanM)

1. You take a 3DS with you everywhere, sometimes even into bed with you, just in case you have a Pok√©mon craving at three in the morning that absolutely must be satiated. That gym battle never usually ends up good, but like everything you play when you’re stoned, it had great gamefeel at the time.

2. You really, really want to buy a Famicom even though you never expect to actually use it. You just want a Famicom because you’re one of the 10 people in the world who still finds them romantic and sexy. All of those people are gamers.

3. When you date someone and they say that they majored in “Programming” or “Game Design” you’re instantly excited but then exceedingly nervous. Why? Because you’ll eventually be expected to read some of their code — something they really love and don’t show to a lot of people — and have an opinion on this much guarded demo. You can’t deal with this kind of pressure. This has gone badly before.

4. You buy a lot of games you never, ever end up playing — just out of the thought that you might find time to play it someday. I took my copy of American McGee’s Alice with me on a trip to Paris once — just in case I suddenly felt the urge to play a challenging 38-level opus by my favorite producer. When that disc later got stolen out of my bag, I actually cried. It was like losing something I never knew I had. (Side note: I even have a copy of Bad Day L.A. with French subtitles turned on, and my French isn’t even very good. Someday.)

5. You will use almost anything as a design document or scratch paper in a jam — like receipts, money, bank slips, old envelopes, newspapers, unopened mail or death threats from your bank. You can’t throw out anything in your apartment without checking to see if it has a sick game concept on it first. That bag of popcorn could be important.

6. When you hear the words “I’m on deadline,” you immediately burst into action, a Pavlovian response to a) always having something due and b) always being behind on it. You’re certain that if they were able to make your procrastination into an energy source, it will solve our nation’s fuel crisis. Or at least make gas cheaper.

7. Most people get tattoos of trees or pigeons or misspelled odes to their exes. You get tattoos of your favorite lines from Final Fantasy or Shigeru Miyamoto’s face. Full disclosure: I currently have two game-quote tattoos and I’m planning to get some lines from Hideo Kojima, when I can figure out the placement. One day, I’m going to be the Guy Pearce in Memento of living Asian dude verses.

8. You have more games than you have friends, by a large margin. You’re a little concerned that one day, you might become a hoarder. (Fact: I own two copies of Jonathan Romero’s Daikatana. One is a backup, just in case I happen to lose the other one. Insurance, my friend.)

9. There are Amazon deliveries at your door almost every day. You’re certain that at this point, they have to know you by name.

10. You sometimes refer to developers by their first name or a pet name you never realized you gave them, like calling Miyamoto “Shig” or “Shiggy,” Will Wright “Willy” or Kelton Flinn “Kelly.” Most people aren’t allowed to call him Kelly, but it’s an in-joke between the two of you. And, yes, it still counts if he doesn’t know about it and you’ve technically never met him.

11. You have really weird dreams about gaming or your favorite designers — like that you suddenly have a great idea for a game but then your computer eats you or that you’re best friends with David Jaffe — which, truth be told, is a little boring. Agoraphobes aren’t great partiers. You also dreamt that you were the manager of a Miller brothers boy band. Rand was the sexy one that did all the press junkets, while Robyn was the shy one who had all the musical talent, the one everyone forgets about.

12. You’re a little too in love with Smash Bros., so much so that you’ve thought about giving all your children characters' names. (Marth Mewtwo McCloud, I apologize in advance.) Also, you find it really sexy when someone knows what wavedashing and edgehugging are.

13. Big libraries are one of your turn-ons. There’s nothing more erotic than someone with a twelve-inch stack of discs. As long as they know how to use it.

14. You’re a little too obsessed with double XP and kill/death ratios and have a favorite controller. An alarming amount of your budget goes out every month to gaming supplies, strategy guides and Dew — but mostly Dew. Fact: If I gave up drinking Dew, I’d probably be a millionaire. Is it sad that I choose my love of soda over my love of money? No. Not expecting any fiscal reward proves you’re a gamer.

15. When you were in school, lots of your other friends were majoring in things that you could make actual careers out of — like Online Gambling, Extortion, Funneling Money to the Caymans and whatever else they’re learning at business school these days. You majored in something that your friends universally raised an eyebrow at or didn’t know you could major in, like Interactive 3-D Environments, 3D Modeling and Animation, Information Technology and Digital Games or Artificial Intelligence. You now have a very fancy, expensive piece of paper that means you learned a lot of crap you forgot later.

16. Your dream job is to one day have a career that affords you to be in your pajamas all day or do all of your work from bed — like Gabe Newell or John Carmack. Some people want a career where they have to look professional all day. You want to look like crap, eat Cheetos, watch Big Bang Theory and pour your heart out into your computer. But who doesn’t want that, really?

17. No one will ever play you in Monopoly, Risk, Carcassonne or Ticket to Ride, because you always win and you’re always super competitive about it — especially when you’re drunk. You’re like the New England Patriots of board games.

18. You sometimes refer to your self-imposed gaming schedule as “going to play” or “playtime” and are often known to say “I have to grind from 9 to 5 tomorrow.” People usually ask where you play and you say, “From home. I’m a gamer.” Of course, they always then want to know what you really do for a living and you say, “I’m a gamer. I game for a living.” Then silence happens.

19. Whenever someone breaks up with you or one of your friends does something really cartoonishly terrible, your immediate consolation is that this is going to make for a great custom character. Recently someone decided to stop seeing me for no apparent reason, and my response was, “Great! Hope you like getting the People's Elbow from The Rock in WWE '13.”

20. When you go on dates with people, they always ask if you’re going to tell you guildmates about this, and you assure them, “No, silly! Of course I’d never talk about you.” You are a dirty liar. You will absolutely talk about them. You’ve already started that gloating session in your head.

21. People sometimes know things about you before you actually told them, like choice anecdotes or oddly personal information that you wouldn’t share on a second date. Then they tell you that they “read your blog” or “follow you on Tumblr.” And you realize that you share that kind of personal information on the internet all the time. Next time, you’re just going to tell your date you’re a serial killer.

22. You have a bad habit of solving your problems or conflicts by sending the person a Steam gift, rather than just confronting them about it. In high school, my mother was in her “I want to be an Undead priest phase,” and I could tell when she and her husband were in a fight because there would be a DKP sheet on the table every morning until whatever they were going through was resolved. Some people fight, you start a raid group rift of angry feelings.

23. You never stop playing something after you’re done with it, which makes returning to Blockbuster difficult. Eventually you just put a gun to your head and say, “Screw it, I’m done with this.” (Which is how Obama must feel every day.) You’ll later come up with the perfect run-through for that game — a month after it was due.

24. You have certain Japanese honorifics you can’t stop obsessively using (anyone who has read my work knows that girl loves being called "-chan" and "-kun") and others you want obliterated from the face of the earth. I’m neutral on "-sama", which can be used sparingly, but I cannot stand the sight of people using "-san". I feel like they’re stabbing me in the eye.

25. You often put off major things until you’re done with this level or this dungeon — like showering, eating or (occasionally) breathing. One day you might turn blue in the face and die mid-raid, but it’s understandable. You need those purples.

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