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February 27, 2014 / Jett

Have I finally burned out on video games?

Over the course of my lifetime, I’ve fallen very far down the video game rabbit hole. I’ve spent countless hours of my life playing them. Countless hours reading about them in magazines and the internet. Countless hours writing and talking about them through this blog. Probably have spent well over $10,000 on consoles, games and other gaming paraphernalia. To say that video games are just a pastime would be a gross understatement.

But how far can one man go before they’re just tired of it all? My parents thought I’d grow out of it, though I’ve proven them wrong by gaming well into adulthood. I thought that my fervour for the medium would never end, though my interest in video games of late has hit an all-time low.

For much of my life, video games were just one of many active interests I pursued. Up until I finished high school, I was very active in sports. I partied a lot outside of school with my friends. I’ve been an active blogger for over 13 years now. I’ll forever be a diehard Toronto Raptors fan for better or worse (this year has been better!). There was even a stretch of my life where I fully-immersed myself in the world of hip-hop music production. Ever wondered where I get all of beats used in the Recurring Bosscast? I made them all.

But then a weird series of events brought video games to the forefront in the late 2000s. The realities of growing up cut my basketball playing time down to almost nothing. I don’t go out and party nearly as much as I used to. I lost my music-making touch. I shut down my personal blog because I grew out of the subject matter that I was writing about. I also gained a lot of free time and expendable income once I secured steady full-time work. This combination of more time and money with less things to do to made focusing on video games easy to do.

With money to burn, I bought every modern system on the market and a boatload of games to play. Many of these games ended up being duds, but who cared? Most of them I got for cheap and I wasn’t doing much else, anyway. Through websites, blogs, message boards and podcasts, I could immerse myself in video game news and culture at basically any time of the day. With the time I would have spent writing in my personal blog, I started writing about the games I was playing instead. Through my efforts here, I’ve been featured on the WordPress home page, generated over 200,000 page views on this very blog, gained enough exposure for Splitkick to reach out, and I even made a few bucks along the way.

Oh yeah, and Street Fighter IV happened. I can’t count how many hours I’ve spent thinking about fighting games, writing about fighting games or competing in tournaments, but my consoles timers do show that I’ve played over 2,000 hours of the Street Fighter IV series of games alone. From 2009 till now, this probably accounts for most of my gaming action.

photo 2(9)For the past 4 years, video games were the hobby for me, not just one of many. It’s been a good run that I don’t regret. However, as I’ve discovered with many of my other interests, things ebb and flow. I used to think that board games were too nerdy for me, but then a chance encounter with Dominion a few years back has grown into the new hotness. They’ve been the focus for much of this site’s content of late, and my interest in board and card games have spilled into other facets of my life. Comic books are also gaining some traction with the purchase of DC and Marvel omnibuses and a desire to read more. Heck, even the Toronto Raptors, a team whose entire existence has been mired in mediocrity, is on pace for their first playoff berth in years. I try and watch as much Raptors action as I can nowadays because a good Toronto basketball team comes around less frequently than the Olympics.

In contrast, video games just don’t excite me like they used to. Since the launch of the new consoles, we’ve seen a dearth in hot new games. Titanfall is out soon, but as someone who won’t be getting an Xbox One anytime soon, this probably won’t be the game to kick start my enthusiasm. I recently traded away dozens of titles that I just had no interest in keeping around anymore. Even when I pick up a controller to play Strider, Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag or Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, my heart isn’t in it like it used to be. Despite all three being quite good, I lose interest after an hour and find myself itching to do something else instead.

Is this the end of the road for me and video games? Probably not. A downturn? Definitely. Maybe a combination of video game burnout and a sparked interest in other things has led to a perfect storm of enthusiasm elsewhere. Does that mean I’m bailing out on this website? Never! Well, maybe not that extreme. As long as I’ve got something, whether that be games, comic books, sports, house hunting or cooking to write about, this will carry on in some form or another.

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