Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Specter of the Past

So, when I first started reading this blog (i.e. yesterday) I noticed in Andrew's description that he labels the folks behind this newfangled intranets contraption as "normal people, with jobs and student loans and grocery lists". When I was invited to contribute here at Charge Shot!!! (i.e. today) the first thing that sprang into my mind was this, the second thing however was "I'm exactly 1/4 of those things!" (i.e. "normal", by most standards anyway). Unlike my esteemed colleagues at this blog, I'm still a college undergrad, unemployed with a minimum of financial burdens whose parents provide him with something of an overabundance of food and shelter. You're probably saying to yourself "Boivin, you're a fatass without a job who lives in your parents' basement. You are the IDEAL video game enthusiast!" right now. However, this is quite far from the truth; while a ferocious gamer in my youth, recent times have caused me to drift further and further away from my birthright. Much of this has to do with being in college and that shall be addressed in this post.

For starters, college (as some of you may remember, or are currently aware of as I am) is a heckuva lot of work. It's nigh impossible to devote a decent amount of time to video games, especially ones that require a large emotional and temporal investment such as my beloved RPGs, and still get all of your work done. For example, I have 60ish pages across my 4 classes due by the end of the semester next Friday. Do you think I'm going to start a game of Last Remnant right now? Hell no. I've been able to play a bit of Gears of War 2 and games of Smash Bros. are still a regular weekend occurence at my apartment (however rusty my skills have become, I remain the dominant Brawler among my friends, I am proud to say) but serious gaming just cannot occur under these conditions. It's like when you first get out of high school and you say to yourself "I'm going to read a bunch of great novels on my own and become well-versed in literature now that I'm an adult!", but then you get to college and your professor informs you that you have to read some big-ass book by the end of the week, thus crushing all of your ambitions to become independtly sophisticated.

I brought my SNES to school and it has remained my faithful companion since freshman year, providing me with hours upon hours of entertainment. Especially in my earlier years here at Kenyon, it was much easier to squeeze in some game time between classes and post-homework as a) I had much less work b) I couldn't buy booze and c) girls wouldn't talk to me. The ole' Snes is still with me, and I intend to keep it that way: it probably ranks up there with my silver anniversary edition copy of Lord of the Rings (given to my dad by his college girlfriend) as one of my most treasured posessions. Something about the 16-bit generation (and to extent the N64/PS1 generation) of systems and games seemed to combine simplicity and playability with freakish devotion and found a perfect synthesis: I can't seem to find a modern parallel to the simple platform action of Donkey Kong Country along with the complex perfection of Chrono Trigger on a modern system. Maybe time will reveal a worthy sucessor to my SNES, but who knows?

With my second semester of senior year fast approaching and history comps being finished by Spring Break, perhaps I can get my gaming back in gear when I have enough time to balance my academic and social life with a healthy amount of vegging out in front of the TV controller in hand. Let's hope I do.