The lights are on
Veteran Member - Level 12
Since I have so recently put my foot in my mouth (as far as my readers are concerned), I think it's about time for me to blog about my experiences with being a gaming spectator. Many people are introduced to games by way of an older sibling or family member who had "the game system" and I am no different. Growing up in a household where my parents continuously pinched pennies and treated us like we were little more than hired help, it was tough to get very much in the way of "extras," and video game systems were definitely an "extra" as far as my parents are concerned (although I obviously would have argued otherwise...).
Now back when I was growing up, the main game systems were SNES and PS1. It wasn't until I hit my early teen years that I even had a console game in my home. Yet, for some reason, I have always had someone who gave me an "in" to gaming on a console of some sort.
I still remember the lovely clicking noise it makes when you flip the power switch on....nyahhhh... :D~~
For some reason, the original PlayStation reminded me suspiciously of the Star Ship Enterprise....
Now of course, I remember at the age of 10 (much to the chagrin of my parents who kept insisting "video games are for boys"), I spent a whole 20 (which, at the time seemed like a million) dollars at a garage sale to get a Game Boy handheld complete with a bunch of games: Tetris, Operation C, Castlevania, Bart VS the Juggernauts, Mickey and Minnie's Adventure, Super Mario Land, and later on, Pokemon Red and Blue (borrowed from my next door neighbor, Spen).
Hello again, my first love! <3
Perhaps this is why I have always been so much more drawn to handhelds for my actual day-to-day gaming needs, mainly because it wasn't something my parents policed, as they believed that if I had bought it with my own money, it was mine to do with what I pleased. But anything that THEY got for me could be endlessly policed (ie: the N64 that they locked up and only let me play 30 minutes on Saturday and Sunday, which is why it took me about 2 years to beat Ocarina Of Time on a first playthrough).
But, going back to my main point, I spent a lot of time watching other people play games as a kid (and, whenever I could, getting my console gaming fix on someone else's system).
Now, most of my friends were not what you would consider "video game nerds." My best friend, Sara, whom I have been close friends with since the 3rd grade, had a SNES with her sister at her dad's house (her parents were divorced). Now of course as a kid, I thought that having divorced parents must be awesome. As far as I was concerned, you could get double the presents and you get two different places to live (plus parents buy you all sorts of guilt gifts for supposedly "ruining your life" by divorcing). Of course now that I am an adult, I realize that my childlike mind was simplifying some pretty icky horrible things, but at the same time, to my elementary school-sized brain all I could think was, "DANG, SARA HAS A VIDEO GAME SYSTEM!" So when we went over to her dad's house, we'd always play Super Mario World All Stars and Bubble Bobble. Obviously, my friend would tire of video games after about an hour but I was hooked.
"OH JUST ONE MORE!" was my catchphrase at that point. But it did cause a lot of stress in my relationship with my best friend (and heck, I love her to pieces, because that's what best friends do), so we mostly just hung out at her mom's house (or at my house) and while video-game free, there was a lot less friction in our friendship.
Don't let Mario get between you and your best friend. I learned that the hard way.
So that led to plan 2: Find someone I didn't really like all THAT MUCH whose house I could play games at. I know it's horrible, but as a kid, most people are kind of self-serving. And besides, I ended up finding something even better-my SISTER'S FRIEND, who I could "chaperone" because my mom didn't like this girl's parents and had this weird idea that if she left my sister over there that the father would do something "bad" to her (but I guess I'm scary or something...he never did anything weird when I was around). So my sister would go over to her house with me and we'd spend the night, with me attached to the Sega Saturn, playing games like Sonic the Hedgehog, Aladdin, and The Jungle Book.
Sega Saturn: The Linux of Video Game Consoles....
Of course, this lasted about as long as it took my sister and her friend to have their first real disagreement (something about pegasuses versus unicorns), and of course shortly after, this friend transferred to a new elementary school and we didn't really see her all that much after that.
But even between all of these little experiences of ACTUALLY PLAYING games, I spent a lot of time going over to a person's house and WATCHING them play. In fact, most of my female friends tell me that they don't play video games very often, but they are happy to watch their male significant others play, mainly because they started out watching their brother play video games (and as you may know, siblings tend to not want to share their stuff). To some extent, this was largely my experience as well, but since I was the oldest in my family, it invariably was someone else, like my cousin Paul, or my next door neighbor Spen, or even the older brother of one of the neighborhood girls that my mom tried to force me to play with from time to time (did I mention that I would rather play "dinosaurs" than "tea party"? Yeah, that didn't go over well with most girls-T-Rex is apparently too scary to drink Chamomile). In fact, to some extent, I don't think my parents would have ever gotten an N64 for my siblings and myself if they hadn't had a boy (my little brother) in the family.
For a long time, I tried to hide the fact that I liked games. Mainly because it seemed like everyone thought it was totally normal for a girl to be content to just watch someone else play video games (of course, most parents seemed to have a pretty negative view of video gaming in the first place, so it's not exactly like my gamer guy friends were somehow considered necessarily "better" than me).
"You keep making that face, kid, and it's gonna stick that way!"
In college, I ended up spending a lot of time with some of my male friends at their apartment because I had a psycho landlord who was subletting a converted hallway to me and was obviously on some sort of drugs or something. So I slept on the couch at their apartment a lot until I could find a less scary place to live, and that often meant watching someone playing Halo on the XBOX (this was back in the day where only the XBOX gave people free online play for Halo). Of course, this is where I first saw someone playing Disgaea, which I immediately loved, but felt like I couldn't play because I didn't have a PS2 at the time (it didn't come out for PSP until much later). And it was my first time watching people playing Katamari (which to this day is still one of my favorite games ever). So to some extent, watching other gamers play games was one of the best ways to help me get accustomed to new stuff on a variety of gaming fronts, which is why I often don't mind it at all. It also helps that most of my gamer friends are actually really good at gaming, so watching them play almost feels like watching a movie-even more so with games like LA Noire and Bioshock.
Having fun watching is a sometimes thing.
Still, from time to time, I get tired of sitting on the sidelines and want to interact with a gaming environment. When I first saw my husband play IloMilo, I wanted to play it like nothing else. But I felt like I was imposing and sat there, wanting to play but feeling bad for wanting to play. I know, it's my fault for not saying anything, but still...I often prefer to watch just to keep the peace.
Besides, in real life, I'm more of a lover than a hater (although I tend to try not to come across as a hater online either......>_>). I don't like causing strife and butthurt pouting in the people around me. Perhaps that makes me a bad person, but if I have an alternative, I'll take it, especially if it keeps the peace.
Yeah...something like that...just call me "Former Human Typhoon".....
Anyway, so what do you think about the value of watching others play video games as a form of actual entertainment (and not just, "I'm waiting for my turn")? Do you think that some of the more "movie-like" games such as "Heavy Rain" or even "LA Noire" as well as the Japanese Visual Novels that have become semi-popular are fun to watch someone else play without actually needing to be the one holding the controller? Or do you think it's more of a cop-out due to apathy about gaming or just a general desire to keep the peace between yourself and the person holding the controller?
I used to watch my older brother play games back when he played more. Now that he rarely plays I don't really have someone I could watch even if I wanted to.
interesting auto-biography. I was introduced with the gamecube and gameboy color(i didn't know video games existed for years)
Watching my best friend play a game is one of my favorite ways to spend an afternoon. Despite my love of games on my own and that I can hold my own as a player, the guy is a gaming GOD!
On the other hand, I'm not sure I could live with a man who would fight me for PS3 time. We'd have to have separate TV's and consoles set up.
I was usually a player (giggidy...kidding), the one usually playing the games. From the sidelines though, since I play a lot of shooters, I've seen people play shooter after shooter, and I never realized how similar all of these FPS are until I saw FPS after FPS played. It's the same fundamental gameplay across the board: you see reticule turn red, you fire your weapon. Over, and over, and over again. Sure, you throw a grenade here or there. So it's important to actually play the game, because I don't think you don't get tension by watching.
It's the stampede!
Aye, early on I was a watcher.
Great blog, the history of a blogger is always interesting.
I think watching someone play can be just as fun as playing. When I was younger, video games kinda a scared me. They seemed so complicated and difficult that I simply felt better watching my dad play then stress out trying to play it myself. I watched my dad play the original Resident Evil and MedEvil a million times over, and they never got old. Then, eventually, we got a PS2.
Well, at this point, it was about time for me to nut up or shut up. The first couple games I played were Spiderman (the movie game) and ATV Offroad Fury. Then it just kinda spiraled from there. Ty the Tasmanian Tiger, Spiderman 2, Tony Hawk, Burnout, Call of Duty 3, it just kept going and going. As I reached my teens, I was allowed to play mature games, which brought me Resident Evil 4 and Devil May Cry 3.
I remember I used to have a gameboy color, but I was never much of a handheld guy. I used to play a lot of this one Lion King game, as well as Tetris (I love Tetris). Even when I got my Gameboy Advance, I think I mostly played Pokemon and a couple other games. Now I have a PSP which I only have maybe 5 games for and I hardly play haha
I kinda laughed at how you went over to your friends house just to play games and it strained your relationship, cause I had a similar experience except in reverse. All my friends wanted to come to my place cause I was the first one with a next gen console (PS3). It was fine at first, a lot of CoD 4 was played and jokes about each other masculinity were exchanged, but after a while all my friends wanted to do was bumb on my console. It got ridiculous, and I felt used. Things worked out, but that's what happened.
I have a friend, though, who comes over regularly who actually doesn't mind to watch, no matter how many times I tease him with an extra controler and co-op games. So when he comes, I usually try to pick out an awesome single player game and put on a show. I turn BioShock into a art film, Uncharted into a summer blockbuster, and Mass Effect into Star Wars.
Finally, keeping the peace is number 1. I have passed up many rounds of playing games with my friends to make sure everyone gets a turn or so someone else can be happy. I have also been greedy, and not given up the controler when I should. But I try to do the right thing.
This has been a nice blog, Oni. It's nice that you wrote it. I feel dishearten that I have yet to meet a real video game girl, as most of the gals I know are more into make up and cloths then games, but that's beside the point. Keep on keepin on, Oni.
Nobody's ever really watched me play video games except for my toddler. He likes to watch me play Portal 2...he thinks the robots are funny stuff....i'll make one dance in co op and then drop the controller really quick and blow a fart noise on his lil belly. Wouldn't give those moments up for millions.
Like Mojo, I tend to get pretty pissed off when someone asks me lots of questions during play. I'm not too nice about hanging up on phone calls during games, either.
Though it was VERY interesting to watch my mother totally eclipse my save file in the original Legend Of Zelda game. She was *** good at it.
Nope. I gotta be behind the controller. Being better or as good as my friends I hate watching, knowing how to get past this of solve that Portal 2 puzzle, while they scratch their heads and take forever. Seriously though it's as aggervating as hell.
I have an easy answer to that one. If all of your friends are good at games, and you are as well, choosing the correct game (generally a rpg or a game like Just Cause 2) can be just as entertaining to watch. Or you can pick a game like Final Fantasy Tactics and help make decisions together. Yay for the Strategy RPGs!