Why video games have always been a part of my identity and self worth

I’ve always been a gamer. Some of my earliest childhood memories are playing video games with my family. Now when I say gamer I do go beyond just video games and include¬† board games, card games, tabletop games, role playing games and other types of games. I love gaming as an activity. But above all I thoroughly enjoy playing video games.

I’ve always struggled with my self identity. I’ve gone through phases where I thought I was a b-boy, artist, musician, DJ, photographer, writer, filmmaker and even gardener. Even before I had a word in my head for transgender I knew there was one aspect of my identity I never questioned, I was a gamer first and foremost.

It took me a while to realize the type of gamer I truly am. I say this because I don’t want to stereotype based on gender but I’ve come to realize I am transgender and I now know that by and large the games I enjoy are very much the types of games stereotypically enjoyed by females. I’ve thought maybe I was a retro gamer but then every once in a while a modern game would come along and get me excited. I thought maybe it was cinematic games I despised and then I would play a game that sucked me into the world depicted in ways even the most engaging book couldn’t.

I’ve always known I was drawn primarily towards Nintendo. Now that isn’t to say if you like Nintendo it makes you gay, or you are a girl. In fact I know plenty of cisgender straight males who love Nintendo. It also doesn’t feel fair to say that I only like the more feminine games in the companies library. What I can safely say is if I paired it down to the core, I could make a broad statement that I am a transgender gamer who prefers fun, lighthearted games, sometimes with a good story other times just good game play and other times chock full of action.

I think it’s safer to say I am a gamer who enjoys games that make me happy. I have always noticed when it comes to entertainment from music, television, books and even video games, with a few exceptions, I have always found myself attracted to things typically associated with feminism. That’s not to say that everyone who enjoys the same games I find myself enjoying is female, trans, gay or something similar. I think it just means that as I flesh out my identity I discover more about myself in the things I like. It helps me refine the things in my life I have struggled to define accurately in the past.

Why bring this up now? Why draw attention to it? Frankly, the more I learn about myself the easier it becomes for me to open up to people. It’s not like if someone asks me what type of games I enjoy I will say gay games. What I might say though is I am a trans gamer and leave it at that. Upon further examination I might just say play video games and not make it such a large part of my identity. Stay cool.

 

Getting back into PC gaming

I have decided I am going to start getting back into PC game collecting as well as PC gaming. I don’t know what my budget for this is going to be, fortunately I come across old PC games usually very cheap at thrift stores and yard sales all of the time. My new rule is I am not going to be buying games to play, I am only collecting the disks/packaging for the sake of it, I will rely on Steam, GoG, Origin, etc., for the purchase of games. As for shareware and “abandonware” titles, well I will resort to those means at my disposable.

What got me back into PC collecting?

For starters, I have nearly reached the limits of what I am capable of in terms of console gaming. Not that I own every console game I wish to own, or console for that matter, but what I mean is I have shifted my console gaming collection to mostly digital for playing and only buying physical games where the digital version is not a viable option. I would love to have the time and money to purchase and track down classic retro NES games, but with the market being what it is, the economy being down, and my limited funds all around, I just don’t see this happening any time soon. PC games on the other hand are cheap, dirt cheap n most cases. It can cost a lot of money if I wanted to get into buying big box games or complete games with all the little trinkets and inserts, but that is not what I am going for.

My goal is just to pick up the main games, if the game came on a floppy disk, I intend to buy that, if it came on a CD-ROM, I want the CD-ROM. I do want collectible condition, however, so I will look for CD games that come in the jewel case with booklets, basically the same thing I would get if I were looking for a PS1 game, but I don’t necessarily need to buy the cardboard box with all the papers, booklets, and collectible stuff that was often included. I understand for many collectors that is their goal, and if that is you go for it. Not me, not now. I do want to attempt to amass a reasonably sizeable collection, but I want to realistically meter my expectations so that I stick to buying those items I can hope to find without spending a ton of time or money tracking down the extra rare stuff.

Now if I happen to come a cross a complete in box collectible game for a good price, sure I will pick it up. But since I am resorting to, let’s just say less than official, means of playing these games, I am not exactly interested in the little key codes or maps, etc., that came with the games. In fact, I don’t even have a floppy disk drive to be able to install most of these old games in the first place. Not only that, but I am running Windows 10 64-Bit, most of these retro, old school, and classic PC games are going to be completely incompatible with my system, and I have no intention of buying old hardware just to run old games.

Because loose games with instructions can typically be found at yard sales, thrift stores, flea markets, and the like,¬† usually for just a couple bucks, I fully intend to focus on buying the cheap stuff, at least for now. It’s no different, to me, than if I were to get back into NES collecting, I would most certainly be going for just loose carts only, heck I wouldn’t even be that interested in getting dust covers or instruction books, at this point.

As far as playing on “original” hardware. I am a Windows Gamer through and through, so there is no chance I will ever be without at least some form of semi-current PC machine, technically these games are all running on “original” hardware or at least compatible hardware, to some extent.

Part of what motivated me to get back into collecting is watching Metal Jesus Rocks videos on Youtube, and listening to the CUPodcast with Ian and Pat. I do see the merits for going for complete games with all the fun little artifacts, but I also have limit funds, as well as limited space.