Non-Gamer to Gamer? Not Quite Yet


by Shawnie Kelly (@DearShawnie)

You know  that thing where you’re running (like for exercise, I’ve heard this  people do this) and you hit an invisible wall? You’re pushing and pushing,  but it feels like the next breath you take could possibly be your last.  Lung explosion, head explosion… some kind of physical explosion is  really what I’m getting at here. Well, I’ve hit that wall this week  with regards to gaming. Okay, that was a bit of a dramatic comparison,  but it really does fit.

People always  ask me: When will you no longer consider yourself a non-gamer? I hesitate  to answer because the truth is I don’t know. Maybe I’ll wake up one  day and realize that the transition from non-gamer to gamer came when  I wasn’t looking.

“Sometimes  love isn’t fireworks. Sometimes love just comes softly.”

Please tell  me you’ve read Love Comes Softly! If not, that’s okay. I will just point you in the direction to your  nearest Hallmark Store because the only thing better than the book is  the Hallmark Channel movie of the same title. You will cry so hard,  nerds. SO HARD.

I’m off track and I apologize. My point is that I know for certain  that my transition to gamer has not yet happened. Hitting the invisible  wall this week is evidence of that. I was prepping to play and realized  something — I didn’t want to play video games. At all. This hasn’t  always been the case; there have been times over the last couple of  months where I was excited to jump back into a game, even if it was  at the same checkpoint I’d be at twenty-seven times in a row. This week  I had no desire to keep getting knocked down over and over and over  again. Free time is hard to come by, and I’m not going to lie, I did  not pick up the controller. I got some laundry done instead. Then I  got some writing done. Then I returned some emails. While I was being  Mrs. Productive, I also realized that I need to find some gaming excitement  again. How do people do it? How do they get lost in the gaming world  for hours with little interest in anything else?

Another way that I know my transition hasn’t happened yet is that  I still have quite a long list of silly suggestions for game makers.  I call them game makers because I don’t know the correct term. Gamer  producers? Game designers? All the above are who I’m addressing. Number  one, I think that we should all have our own soundtrack during the game.  Meaning, when an individual picks up their controller, the console should  be able to scan our souls (too creepy?) and perfectly select our theme  song. Example: When I play Sonic Racing, it would play Aaliyah’s “Try  Again.” This is of course in reference to my inability to go two  feet without ending up in the water or running into a wall. Maybe for  some of you it would play “All I Do is Win.” Whatever! I’m  not jealous or anything. Anyway, I just know this personal touch would  be fun. I also believe that every time we sit down for a gaming session,  we should be provided a virtual mentor. For instance, this dude could  chill in the corner of your screen and makes himself (or herself) available  for consultation. In my case, they would get tired of all the questions  and probably abandon me after two minutes. But then another mentor would  be provided and I could use them until they quit also. The point is  I just always want immediate help available. ALWAYS.

I think these little tweaks could make my gaming experience more fun.  I know that this sad detour of apathy is just a phase, but I’m determined  to push through the wall. It’s not quite at crisis-level yet and it’s  all about preempting a total breakdown. Have you ever lost your gaming  groove? One day I’ll make the transition, I guess it’s just not today.

Happy gaming, you gamers!


  1. JesseJanuary 23rd, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    Perhaps a little encouragement is in order. I’m most definitely a gamer. But I too hit walls of not wanting to game. Sometimes I’m just tired after a long day of work, or maybe there’s just nothing I’m in the mood to play. Hitting a point where you just don’t want to play games doesn’t automatically make you “not a gamer” – it’s a natural part of the gaming experience.

    Second, for your soundtrack stuff, you can actually do this right now if you’ve got an Xbox 360 or you’re playing on a PC. Not quite the soul searching, auto magically picking your songs for you. But you can play a custom soundtrack during any game that you select yourself!

    I also wouldn’t say that just because you’d like help always available you’re not a gamer. Lots of gamers like help – just look at! If gamer’s didn’t want help, it wouldn’t exist 🙂

    All this to say, none of these things disqualifies you from being a gamer. Maybe you’re not ready to label yourself that yet, and that’s ok. But there isn’t a checklist you need to fill before you can call yourself one. If you play games, and enjoy games, and want to play them (at least some times), you’re more than welcome in the club.

  2. Mack EsteyJanuary 23rd, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    I would say you not wanting to pick up a controller is actually you becoming more of a gamer. I’ve been playing games as long as a remember (I don’t remember a time before Sonic the Hedgehog 2), but every once in a while, I just don’t want to play anything. I check up on new releases, and news less frequently, and even when I have a ton of free time, I’ll choose to watch a movie or new tv show instead. Then eventually I’ll read a review for a game, or see a clip for an upcoming game, and get stoked for gaming again. I’ll pick up a cheap game I missed, and destroy it, and just get back into gaming. I know lots of gamers that do this too, so I don’t think it is just me (IGN actually posted an article about this topic). So I think this just a natural step in you becoming a gamer.

  3. MeghanJanuary 23rd, 2013 at 6:22 pm

    I’m like you when it comes to playing games. I suck at it (not that you suck at it…), and I don’t feel a desire to play games in all my free time. According to my husband, I am NOT a gamer. And neither are you. There’s nothing wrong with that! I enjoy games (FFVIII and Guild Wars 2, for example). But my husband says that a gamer is someone who has made it their hobby. As in, this is what they will always choose to do first when they have some free time (or even if they don’t have free time and play when they aren’t suppose to like my husband does…) Basically, a gamer breathes games. And it’s an addiction.

    – A Gamer’s Wife

  4. FranciscoJanuary 24th, 2013 at 4:55 am

    I don’t think you have to be addicted to games to be considered a gamer, I think I agree with Jesse. All gamers I know go through periods of not gaming or not finding anything good to play. If we didn’t hit walls, there wouldn’t be ton of sites with walkthroughs, cheats and guides. Which may bring us to a solution for your last request, a personal guru: the internet itself. It may not be always reliable, or very polite, depending on where you go, but there are always good forumns to ask questions or good sites to find out the you have to use the bubble gum with the coal chute to get to the other room 😉

  5. BrittanyApril 3rd, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    I am super late to this party but I can really sympathize with you I am still relatively new to the gaming world and don’t really consider myself a “gamer” but I go through spurts where all I want to do is game and then times when I don’t even want to watch a dvd on my xbox because I am so over it. But that’s usually when I switch it up and pull out an old favorite or download some demos lol. Also I almost peed when you quoted “Love Comes Softly”!!!

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