Why exactly am I calling myself misunderstood? Well it begins with a little confession. I enjoy video games. Not as much as your average "hardcore gamer" but a little more than those who are nagging me to help them plant digital plants in Farmville.
Nothing wrong with that, you say? Well that's correct. There is nothing wrong with it. It's a way to kill time while having a little fun. But here's where the misunderstanding comes into play: because I like to play video games, people think I want to talk about them for hours.
No. Not at all.
Okay, maybe not "not at all" but a lot less than people would assume based on how much of my ear has been chewed ear off hearing about them. Perhaps I want to find out if a certain title is worth my investment and you'll be that someone in-the-know I will ask or vice-versa. That's acceptable. But if we're at a bar and you're drunkenly standing over me telling me why Devil May Cry is a better game than Donkey Kong Jr.,, then there's no amount of beer that can numb the pain that will define my evening. Just because there are no women under 65 at the dirt bar we happen to be patronizing doesn't mean we have to geek up the place with some techobabble about the polygon count of Lara Croft's left nipple.
So why am I seemingly betraying the unspoken agreement I made with my Playstations and my Nintendos and my Xboxes - the one about spreading the gospel of gaming whenever possible? It's not because I really care what anyone thinks about me. Worrying about people thinking I'm a dork went out the window years ago when I started requesting "Pac Man Fever" at weddings. As a matter of fact, I'd totally leave the house wearing a tacky fedora and a t-shirt sporting a picture of TV dad Conrad Bain if my girlfriend would let me.
All profits from the sale of the Conrad Bain t-shirt go to benefit his brother, Bonar Bain.
No. The real reason I don't want to talk about video games unsolicited, on a whim and for lack of anything better to talk about (like rat feces or Lady Gaga) is simply because your opinions suck. Harsh? Very much so, but at least I left your mother out of it.
Let me explain: say you're not a fan of [insert game title here], a game I happen to enjoy. If I'm lucky, you'll cut off my argument abruptly by bringing up [generic first person shooter: part 12] out of nowhere. And I'll say I haven't played it, so you'll spout off more game titles that are essentially the same game, just with different shades of brown and/or greenish-brown. Then I'll just say "oh yeah, I heard that was pretty decent" just to shut down the automated list-maker spewing out of control in your head.
Conversely, if I'm unlucky, you will find every asinine reason why I shouldn't be allowed to like the game you personally don't care for. More-than-likely, you haven't actually played the game but hate on it anyway because a friend-of-a-friend on the internet told you to hate it. Or maybe you won't like it because it's clearly for children (read: your opinion of anything on the Wii). Or, my favorite: it's "too short". When you say that, I immediately hate you for having so much free time - which then turns to pity when I realize you're the type of person who spends all his free time trying to burn through video games as fast as possible.
Gamers complained they could beat Metal Gear Solid in 5 to 10 hours. It took me two months - so screw you!
True story: Many years ago, I bought a copy of The Sims. The clerk at CompUSA immediately laid into me for buying it instead of one of the other fine games I clearly had no interest in at the time. When I asked him what's wrong with it, he just started pointing at the box and making fun of the illustrations. He was seriously trying to get me not to buy it, by making fun of the packaging (you know, the thing I won't be looking at while playing it). And of course, his commentary included using the word "gay" at least three times per illustration. If it all sounds familiar, it's because you can read his work in the Amazon customer reviews section.
I think I'll just tell people I knit in my free time instead.