In this post I will take a short break from discussing awesome games to talk about my latest game shopping experience and answer the question why do we play games?. A few nights ago while waiting for the release of Mortal Kombat X at the midnight launch at Gamestop, an associate had informed me that the Kollectors Edition that I had preordered was reserved for the wrong system. When I asked about it they told me the preorder was set for a Playstation 4 version of the game, which infuriated me beyond belief since I do not own a PS4 and I had intentionally preordered it for the Xbox One. So… this led me to ask the obvious questions if they could fix the mistake and give me the one I originally preordered for and so on, but to my discontent they failed me on every attempt to remedy the situation even after the manager had gotten involved. So I made the decision to purchase the Limited Edition instead of the Kollectors Edition because quite frankly I went to the midnight launch to pick up my game, and I was not going to leave empty handed, especially after waiting. So at about a half hour till midnight the manager asks all the customers to form a line outside and wait until their specific group is called in and checked out. At this point my receipt has a sticker that says “GROUP 2” and this obviously meant that I needed to wait an extra 25 minutes AFTER midnight to just walk into the store.
Credit for featured photo: Forbes.com
While waiting in line with my cousin, we were discussing the situation and he seemed more upset about it then I was. At this point I had asked myself “why am I here?, why am I outside in the cold? and why did I drag my cousin out here to wait on this line with this random crowd? and why do I even play video games?”. At that point, I was upset and aggravated that the manager could not do anything about the situation except have me wait another day or two to get another Kollectors box and I refused. I was out of patience and I kept asking myself the same questions over and over. Then I realized that gaming is my life, I would not have been standing in line in the middle of the night with a bunch of random people for no reason. It’s because I share a connection to video games that goes deeper then any other bond. I have been playing video games since I was about 3 years of age, and I have never let go of their astounding moments. They always showed me something new and exciting, and they brought me a way to express myself through the characters I was controlling. Video games are what got me through the most difficult times of my life, and they paved a way for me to find my greatest friendships and a brotherhood that can only be found through gaming.
When I finally get to the register and the associate is handling the transaction, we bump into a few more issues along the way, which only made matters worse. The first issue that came up was the cash difference that they had to return to me because it was over the amount of the Limited Edition price. They asked me how do I want the money? so I asked can I have it as store credit? and they agreed. Now as I am waiting to get the store credit, the associate calls over the manager multiple times, and they tell me it cannot be done, so they offer it in cash so obviously I take my money back. Firstly let me explain that I wanted the store credit because I had intended to purchase another game in the following week and had intended to purchase it from this same Gamestop location. After this, I ask about the “GORO” character reservation code, and since my Limited Edition was not a “reserve” they could not print out a Goro code for me. Then the associate referred me to the manager once again and after a few minutes she was finally able to print out a back up code for me. In another attempt to help the situation the manager had the associate give me a free 1 year warranty on the disk just it case it had any issues or needed to be replaced. Finally after everything was done, I felt it was the clearest definition of a bittersweet moment. I had gotten the game, though not the version I had reserved, and received the difference back, so in the end I did not lose out, I had only gotten what I had paid for. The worst part of this whole thing was watching the person in front of me purchase the same Kollectors Edition that I had preordered, followed by the massive miscommunication and the inconvenience of having no other options.
The whole point of this rant/story is that many people out there share this same love for video games that I do. My cousin being one of them, and I commend him for spending his night out in the cold waiting in line with me, when he could have been anywhere else being more productive with his time. Gaming is something that I am truly passionate about, and at this particular time in my life, I find myself at a crossroads. It was always a dream of mine to become part of this game creation process, but now I am really unsure how to approach the situation. Recently I find myself talking about gaming a lot more then actually wanting to create them, and I keep feeling as if my dream is actually dying out. The bottom line is, I will never stop being a gamer, it is part of who I am, and it is part of many people who love it for their own reasons, and I hope many others who do not understand can one day experience being part of a positive gaming community. And finally to answer the question that started this post, I can only answer for myself, but I believe that we play games because of our profound love for the characters and the emotions that games provide for us, the deeper level of storytelling that could not be achieved in any other medium, and the sheer awesomeness of competition and accomplishment when we win an intense battle with friends, or bragging rights when you have content or stats that your peers do not. All of this combines to create an experience unmatched by any other form of entertainment, and this is why I play games.