IGN recently published a series of brief personal stories from its staff recounting the moments they realized they had become adult gamers. The transition between childhood and adulthood is something that has long fascinated me, and these coming-of-age stories are no different. We all grow up at some point, but that doesn’t mean we have to stop doing what we love.
Whether or not you grew up as a gamer, many of the moments described by IGN feel universal. Financial independence—specifically the moment when a gamer buys a console for the first time—is a big deal. Even if you have never bought a console, you’ll probably recognize the feeling of pulling out your own wallet for your first big transaction. Growing up also means you’re forced to begin managing your time and balancing your favorite pastimes with your other responsibilities.
Most of the stories from IGN describe a moment when the writer first played with characters and stories that resonated on an emotional level. “FF VII specifically is the first time I can remember becoming genuinely emotionally invested in a game’s story and characters,” IGN writer Justin Davis explained, “As I matured as a person beginning around then, so did my connection and respect for the video game medium mature.”
I bought myself a Nintendo GameCube when I was 15 years old. It was my birthday, and I had the money, so I asked my mom for a ride to the local GameStop and picked one out as a gift to myself. I felt peculiar about it for weeks afterward. The strangest thing was not that I had bought the console without relying (much) on anyone else, but that I wouldn’t have to share it with my sister. The decision to share or not share was completely my own, and that made it feel more important than it ever had before.
But it was a few years later, after playing Twilight Princess for five hours straight, that I had a moment of clarity. I was home from college for the holidays, and I only had so much free time to spend with my family, my friends, and my games. So in my head, I worked out a schedule. My gaming has never been the same.
What about you? Was there a moment when your gaming patterns changed? Are you beginning to witness any of these changes in your own children? Tell us about it in the comments.