I fondly remember a time in my life when computer games used to feature heavily in my day-to-day routine. If I wasn’t getting at least five hours a day in on Counterstrike or Unreal Tournament then I was probably either ill or on holiday. However, my last monster-kill streak has long since past and I feel completely bewildered, maybe even intimidated, by the First Person Shooters out today. That said, I still feel like a gamer and people seem to naturally assume that my spare time is spent achieving the nth prestige on the latest Ubisoft title. I just can’t seem to shake the stereotype…
I first fell out of the gaming loop six years ago when I made the absurd decision to buy a Mac… I had begun taking a course in Graphic Design and my teacher had managed to convince me to use the college eMacs. Being a born and bred PC user, I was initially adverse to the pretty-boy machine – to me the whole concept of having a white computer was ridiculous. It’s like buying a white car, you just don’t. And then there was the lack of a right click on the mouse – “a statement of simplicity in design and ergonomics” I was told by my design tutor at the time. Despite my reservations I found myself becoming defensive over OSX (Apple’s operating system) like a mother of a child who doesn’t seem to make any friends. The great thing was Macs were just like PCs except that no one else could use them and they seemed to exist for the sole purpose of running Photoshop – a program I had become somewhat addicted to.
As time passed I realised that Apple’s restrictive outlook on gaming was doing my productivity a world of good. Who knows, maybe not being able to waste all of those hours fragging are what meant I was successful in my application to Medicine. However, this honeymoon period was short lived since as Apple became more popular (and addressed some of its stranger software and hardware design choices) the number of games on the platform increased. Whilst I patiently waited for Steam to be ported over to Mac I had a brief (but still embarrassing) stint on World of Warcraft. My brother started playing the game at the same time as me – almost 5 years ago, I haven’t seen him emerge from his room since.
Unlike my brother, I managed to break away from World of Warcraft but this seemed to distance me even further from the gaming world. It was like Warcraft had taxed a little bit of my gaming soul for wanting to leave its immersive (yet socially crippling) universe. I detached myself from games so much that even when Portal made it over to Mac I did not play it. I know, I should be shot. In fact, in the last two years the only gaming I’ve done is the Vech’s Super hostile Series on Minecraft. I’m not sure if that even counts as gaming – to me its more of a regression to my Lego-playing days, except now I don’t have to put all the pieces back in the box after I’m finished making spaceships smash into castles.
At med school there is no denying the fact that people think I’m the geeky guy. I don’t have a problem with that; in fact it must be self-confessed geekery since I’m writing for ‘Nerdcore’. My question is how can I still be the geeky gamer when a) I’m using a Mac and b) the closest thing to a ‘game’ I play is the occasional session on Minecraft. I can only conclude that the sheer amount of FPS hours I crammed in as a kid has left a considerable imprint on my personality. An imprint I am proud of, and an imprint that will help me relate to the people I encounter later on in life.