Video Gaming and FIRE

Video Gaming and FIRE

While I do thoroughly love the FIRE community on the whole, it always grinds my gears the hatred or distaste with which most pure leisure activities are viewed with. A lot of this I feel can be attributed to the older and more mature population that generally goes in hand with being more financially capable, but also that our mindset breeds a certain type of individual that doesn’t seem to find much fulfillment in zoning out. I would like to submit myself as one of the out crowd. A nice side effect of FIRE is that I expect to have the freedom to zone out any time I want and spend a day with whatever useless and unproductive leisure activity that I so please. As the future bears down on us unceasingly, more and more I expect to be enthralled by ever newer and better video games. I know it’s frowned upon, but that’s why FIRE is great – we each get to do whatever we so please!

Often the argument starts and ends with the financial expenditure. Many people that take part in Video Games do so at their pockets own heavy expense. Games are generally costly and the equipment itself doubly more so. This is all not to mention the ever revolving wheel of hardware that is required to stay on the very bleeding edge. If you attempt to keep up with everything at once you definitely can blow a large amount of money on a yearly basis. I have never had the newest and best thing. I generally always had at least one generation behind the current console. When friends  were opening up Super Nintendo on Christmas, I felt likely equally awesome opening up the NES and Duck Hunt. Maybe it is because I am roughly as blind as a bat, but I never cared too much about having top of the line graphics the moment they came out. Most of the time, the new technology is extremely underutilized for years until the developers can manage to test the limits with a massive budget blockbuster game, and in the end, the same fun is had by all.

Games themselves are equally costly if you do it the standard gamer way. While one console will run anywhere from $300-$500, each game will end up being between $50 and 60$ when bought new, and often times the play through can be measure in a few hours. This is another huge reason to aim at Last Gen Consoles for frugal gaming, being able to not only pick up games at insanely discounted prices, but being able to see exactly which ones are worth your dollar. The amount of hours I spent farming in my village in a game like Harvest Moon 64 surely paid for itself a million times over from my parent’s perspective. For 30$ used, they had me chopping lumber and growing potatoes for half a year. There is also a new pattern of releasing Free to Play games for the computer. Most of these games have some sort of Pay to Win type structure, but often you can read reviews and find ones that survive off other types of revenue like tournament gaming and aesthetic purchases in-game. Focusing on the replayability of the game will ensure that you get more than your money’s worth. I have personally been playing the MOBA game League of Legends for more than 4 years now and have never spent a dime on it, while having some of the most exciting team experiences I have ever had.

Relationships

People tend to look down on gaming as a solitary nerd activity. Games have evolved very far from the days of Everquest with basement dwelling nerds lonely for months on end. Now the gamer subculture is slowly but surely branching out into something more appealing for both Males and Females of every age. Games are being made to target the underserved co-op market – allowing people to party up together and chat through built in microphones in real time with more ease than a phone call. The future is even brighter in Virtual Reality these days in which there are entire burgeoning social networks being fleshed out. The populations of most virtual realms is limited to those early adopters willing to splash out the exorbitant prices for early access, but you can see how the basis of relationships within video games will easily change. There is something more surreal about being immersed entirely into the system, it becomes like second nature to communicate and bond without the trappings of a physical body. Now while girlfriends or boyfriends certainly won’t like you standing in the room with giant blackout goggles on, in the near future you two will be able to throw on lightweight glasses and be wired in together.

Future of Games/ Life

Video Games as we are aware of them have only been around for 20-30 years. The future is insanely bright to put it mildly. Considering we were at one point playing Pong in which one played with an 8 bit sprite of a ball, and we are heading towards photo-realistic games like Watch Dogs. The industry is continuing with massive growth, games like Grand Theft Auto 5 have budgets the size of blockbuster movies, and are rewarded favorably by selling millions of units in the first week.

This past year we saw the launch of new games and equipment that brought Virtual and Augmented Reality to the masses. Pokemon Go had both children and parents alike running around outside, exploring places they had never been while trying to catch rare Pokemon out in the world. Unlike previous versions which had been constrained to the bounds of handheld gaming systems, this was the first major Pokemon title to be released on the Mobile gaming market. This dropped all barriers to entry and got so many downloads that Nintendo’s Stock Price shot through the roof for a period of a few weeks. Not only was it on mobile, but it also brought the concept of Augmented Reality out to the world. The game utilized the phone’s camera and mapping features to overlay itself in a convincing manner onto the world at large. This is just the first of many games to come that will utilize this feature, whole genres of games have yet to be existed in this tech.

Virtual Reality is now in the hands of early adopters everywhere as Facebook released its Oculus headset and Valve stepped up to compete with its own Vive. This technology has been decades in the making, previously it had been limited to the halls of science fiction writers or dreamers. Now you can put on a headset and be launched into Mark Zuckerberg’s idealized picture of a future high class condo. You have full immersion and the potential applications seem limitless. Virtual work spaces and social gatherings make geographic location a thing of the past. Games possess a new level of realism when you can crane your head up to look at skyscrapers a mile high with spaceships flying through them. Many of the games on this platform are limited releases – the current market is too small due to the high cost of the bleeding edge technology. I have sat in a spaceship cockpit and had dogfights while suns exploded supernova around me – getting realistically airsick for hours but unable to stop myself playing.  If these is just the first consumer models – we definitely have a beautiful digital future ahead of us.