Thursday, December 8, 2016

How Let's Plays brought me back to gaming

I have been a gamer almost since I can remember. My earliest gaming memories are from playing what I called "Banana Throwers" (I don't know the actual name of the game). The game ran on my dad's DOS computer located in the living room and consisted of two pixelated monkeys in a randomly generated area trying to hit each other with equally pixelated bananas. Ofcourse I didn't know what I was doing and just put in random numbers to calculate the angle and throwing power. It was the greatest joy for me when I got lucky and hit my target.
My gaming career continued when Santa brought me a SNES for christmas and I relentlessly explored Super Mario World. In my childhood I was mostly a console gamer, though I enjoyed point and click adventures on the computer like Indiana Jones, The Curse of Monkey Island, Kings Quest 7, Simon the Sorcerer and Toonstruck. Those games even aided me in learning how to read because my parents, instead of blaming video games for bad grades or misbehavior, turned off the voice acting audio so I was forced to read the conversations in order to progress in the heavily story based game. Also the prospect of not being allowed to play was a great tool to enforce chores I didn't want to do.
Vacation time always meant Game Boy time since it made taking a break from the sun in the shade so much more enjoyable.
Later followed the consoles Playstation 1, Nintendo 64 and Playstation 2 before I discovered online gaming. It all started with the real time strategy game Warcraft 3. Being able to play with my friends and also talk to them at the same time via Teamspeak was a dream come true. Also it was a time before flatrate internet plans and there was a certain data limit we could use in a month. So my parents gave me a certain data budget to work with and I measured how much data was aproximately used in one hour of online gaming.
Later after internet flatrates were a thing my friends and I played competitiely, various games in different leagues over the years. The one I remember as the most fun was playing Team Fortress 2 in the ETF2L.
With going to university competetive gaming slowly died down and by the time I started working it was completely dead for me. Adult life only leaves a limited amount of time with gaming usually in the lower priority ranks. What was once a hobby practiced daily and cosuming hours after hours became a special occasion once every other week. 
Enter Let's Playing! I have always liked producing and editing videos. School projects involving a camera have always been my favorite. Since my job as an IT-Consultant doesn't provide much room to let my creativity run free I was looking for a creative hobby. Browsing different subreddits I came across r/letsplay and was intrigued. I figured that besides getting back to my beloved hobby Let's Playing has other benefits aswell. I'd have to learn new technical skills to produce content and it practices my English (my native language is German) as well as speaking freely.
So through Let's Plays I found my way back to my gaming roots and became a casual gamer once again. It gives me a reason to play without feeling guilty about it and it is socially engaging to try and build a community around my videos. Views and subscribers are only extra benefit, mainly I try to have fun creating my content, whether it is watched or not.

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