Hey, guys! Marcos here. I’m deputy head at Vita Player and its sister organization, Infinite Frontiers. I’ve been a gamer since the early 90s. However, During my 20s, I had very little contact with video games. I went through a period where I just lost interest: I learned to play instruments, had a band, put out a record, started working. Then, something weird happened: I bought a Nintendo 3DS on a whim, and it kind of started an old, rusty motor back up. I was back in! Lately, Simon (our editor-in-chief) have been jestingly pestering one another as our gaming interests start to drift from the convergence which brought me onboard Vita Player in 2015. I want to talk to you a little bit about what I’m going through, and how I was saved from gaming fatigue by the most unlikely culprit: Call of Duty.
WHERE I WAS
At the middle of last year, my interest in gaming started waning. Not because games aren’t good (they’re as good, or better, than they’ve ever been). But because I felt no joy in playing games. I didn’t play games for myself anymore, I only played them so that I could review them. It was a job. And as far as jobs go, it’s a dream job! But, alas, it’s a job. So, I had no hobbies. I started writing about horror films again, I visited the online usa casino market to see what’s what, I even started investing (in both stocks and cryptocurrencies). My mind was turning more and more into a machine that evaluated the environmental impact of my collecting habits, as well as the economic impact my collection was having on me, and the future of my family. More and more, I felt like gaming and environmental sustainability were not aligning with each other: packaging seemed incredibly wasteful, transportation of physical games needed airplanes, which are incredibly pollutant. As far as my money went, I realized that what I spent in buying in retro games from the US (the “cheapest” way for me in Paraguay), could have bought me a nice little piece of mind for my future and that of my family. Add to that the fact that I was reviewing a lot of games to create content and promote our publishing partners, and really, it wasn’t all that fun. I even considered backing out of reviewing games and dedicating myself to managing and writing editorials. Gaming fatigue had set in.
THE UNLIKELY SAVIOR
Everybody blames big, yearly franchises and free-to-play mobile games as the two biggest generators of gaming fatigue. “Why don’t they innovate?” “Give it a rest already!”. I was one of them. I spent almost a decade waiting for a new AAA WWII FPS (try saying that 10 times, fast). So, imagine my surprise when I was looking for something to play on the Android Play Store and thought “might as well give Call of Duty: Mobile a shot”. Now, you have to understand this about me: I’ve never liked playing online. I suck at multiplayer games, and I’m a sore loser. But I don’t carry my Vita with me anymore (part of my new-found minimalism), so I had nothing to lose. What followed was a revelation: sure, the matchmaking can sometimes feel like you’re trying your like at online slots, but on the whole, I’m usually paired with players in my (limited) skill level. I don’t feel like the game is pay-to-win, either: weapons can be unlocked simply by playing the game. And it has so many modes! Regular team-vs-team modes, the ever-so-popular Battle Royale, and even some weekly special events. Just two days ago, I spent a good portion of an hour pretending to be a garbage can as I hid from the team hunting us down, in a mode called “Prop Hunt”. I sucked, but I had fun.
DON’T JUDGE A FRANCHISE BY ITS COVER
After getting back into gaming through the unlikely bridge that is Call of Duty: Mobile, my interest in games has actually increased again. I feel this joy for the medium that had disappeared before. My gaming fatigue is gone. But I’m doing it differently this time: I’m sacrificing the sense of ownership associated with a physical game, for the more environmentally sustainable, free but fleetingly temporary enjoyment of a digital one. I know Simon doesn’t agree with it, and that’s fine. Gaming is beautiful in different ways to different people. And I’ve stopped judging myself for liking Call of Duty: Mobile. Sure, it’s not perfect: the matchmaking can be a bit iffy, it’s a bit grindy, and it’s made by Tencent, which to me is about as bad as getting kicked in the face by a horse. But it allows me to enjoy a medium that I’ve loved for decades, in a way that I find to be more sustainable for the direction I want my life to take. I know you lot probably won’t agree, but that’s fine, too.