“Year In Remembrance” slide shows, man. I can’t stop with them, even if I’m pretty sure I can by now recount every celebrity claimed by 2016 by reverse chronological order, age, occupation, social movement generally associated with and favorite color. I’ll be over it by the time I remember to start writing 2017 at the top of my homework, but that still leaves a good month or two of lingering in the past.
And top 10 lists! Any self-respecting stint of year-end reflection (or year-end wallowing — the two have a tendency to blend) comes with a top 10 list. Or a top 20 list, top 50 — the total amount really doesn’t matter until you hit the last few creme de la creme listings anyway.
I tried to think up a list of my own — the top games I’ve played over the last year — but I hit a block in the outlining. The more I thought about it, the more I realized I couldn’t come up with any sort of worthwhile list. Not because I hadn’t played anything good over the last year, but because I hadn’t really played anything that I hadn’t deliberately chosen and sought out. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it does make for rather shitty list-forming when nothing I’ve played has been much of a surprise. (The added fact that I didn’t play enough games to hit the 10 entry mark is another damper.)
Last year, I wrote about my fading interest in video games, a pastime that had until that point been a relatively substantial part of my life. It occupied free time, sure (and I’m not too broken up about redirecting that toward other pursuits), but it also introduced me to friendships and perspectives I would have been separate from had I not been playing. It’s strange admitting that mass-market entertainment was one of the vehicles I used in forming a worldview as a youngin, but it’s the truth.
I’ve let whatever “authority” I had on the subject fall to the side, and judging by how it took me straining to name just 10 titles I’d played in the last year to fully realize it, I guess I’m OK with that. The obnoxious middle schooler in me, the one who couldn’t fathom a future in which I wouldn’t be excitedly bickering with friends about whatever new console Nintendo was cooking up, would be disappointed. But he’s also 11 and eats his boogers, so I’m not too conflicted over earning his scorn.
Video games for me are a hobby, but they don’t need to be an identity. I won’t be selling off consoles or starting a cartridge-based bonfire just yet — shifting interests doesn’t necessarily mean total renunciation — but I also won’t let myself feel nerd-guilt upon noticing the layer of dust the Playstation’s been collecting.
Now all that remains is filling in the time gaps left by gaming with a new set of hobbies. So far “dig hole in dirt with stick” and “diddle self” are gunning for the No. 1 spot. I’ve got time to figure it out.
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