i started gaming when i was 5. i was at my friend's house and played Battle for Bikini Bottom on my friend's GameCube. at the time, i wasn't aware of the differences between the platforms, so i went home and immediately begged my dad to buy it for PC. since i didn't remember the name exactly, i ended up with an entirely different SpongeBob game. i forget the name but i remember it was six or so minigames that my juvenile mind couldn't master.
because i was an only child, i would play these minigames for hours on end, getting mad as hell, screaming and crying if my parents weren't there to catch me getting angry. this taught me at an early age to mask my emotions from my parents, but that's a different story. as i grew older, i managed to convince my parents to buy me a GameCube for my birthday. a year or two later, like a complete retard, i traded my GameCube and several games in at GameStop for $20 off the newly released RockBand
gaming helped me lose a lot of time and money. i would make spur-of-the-moment purchases, sales, or trades. i always knew i was doing the wrong thing, but i was almost compelled to fuck myself over financially. everything from selling my Wii Balance Board to buying keys in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. i learned skill with money from gaming.
most of my friends came from the school i went to, but they all had to game as well. Pennsylvania state law specifies that any child who lives more than a mile from the school they're enrolled in must have bus service to school. because i was attending private school, my friends were bused in from a half hour's drive, or more, away. i hardly interacted with my non-gamer friends outside of school. instead, i'd skype and play Minecraft. play dates were rare.
in sixth grade, i built my own PC so i could play cool Steam games, like Garry's Mod and Half-Life 2. i'd sneak up late to play Counter-Strike: Source in deathmatch lobbies and giggle at the funny older guys in the voice chat. after 9 years and counting, the only part that remains from that build is the aftermarket CPU heatsink.
after four plus years out of high school, the only memories that linger are the good ones. i find myself looking back on a time when i was decidedly unhappier (not to mention a minor with no means of transportation) with rose-tinted glasses. i find myself reminiscing over late gaming nights on Fridays and Saturdays. waking up early to listen to the radio and hope for a snow day. getting to see my friends once a month when i'd host a (parent-supervised) party at my place. burning things in the fire pit in the backyard, shooting off model rockets in the soccer fields, creeping around downtown in my Buick blasting Death Grips.
nowadays i'm too busy to game most of the time. i'm in college, i've got a girlfriend, i'm working on a TV show, etc. my depression is managed and i'm a happy person, but i don't enjoy things the way i used to. now, when i sit down to game, none of my friends are online. my friends in college might play a Fortnite match once a fortnight, but they don't get on DarkRP for five hours to cultivate a massive gang that takes on the admins.
maybe in another five years will put us out of college with enough free time to game together again. we live all over the US now, so it's essentially our only option. i'd give anything to get back spring weekends in Lancaster, tooling around downtown, having fun playing TTT, hosting movie nights, eating gas station fried chicken, roughhousing, watching the sun set at the pool, going to bed tired but satisfied.
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