I haven't played a video game in... well, Thursday will make it five days. Not since I polished off The Saboteur and wrote up the review.
Which begs the question (to me), how can I self-identify as a gamer when I can go almost a week without gaming and hardly notice?
It's a popular topic among gaming journos - where the line is drawn between "hardcore" and "casual," when both groups may spend an equal amount of time gaming. Heck, my parents put an unhealthy amount of time into Spider Solitaire every night, but they certainly don't consider themselves "gamers", casual or otherwise.
My older brothers plays his balls off - whenever I call him, he's in the middle of playing something. LBP, Bad Company 2, Burnout Paradise - but whenever he has a question about, well, pretty much any game, he'll ask me. Because I'll know the answer - he doesn't identify himself as hardcore, though he certainly plays games more than I do.
Perhaps being a gamer is a bit like one's sexual identity. Let's say you self-identify as gay, but you haven't actually had a sexual/romantic encounter with a member of the same sex in the past week. That doesn't suddenly mean you're straight, any more than me not playing games for a week makes me less of a gamer.
It's always seemed to me that the true separation of "hardcore" and "casual" isn't time spent playing video games, it's time spent thinking about them. I feel a hardcore gamer spends just as much time (if not more) reading, thinking, and talking about video games as (than) they do playing them - but that's just me.
Perhaps the trouble is I'm not currently playing my way through anything. I finished The Saboteur - now what? Sure, I could go back to it and blow up more Nazi shit, but ehhh...
I've got a respectable backlog I need to work through. I still need to play F.E.A.R, I want to finish Eternal Sonata and Half-Life - I've always wanted to play Folklore and the original Battlefield: Bad Company - but all this Fallout: New Vegas coverage lately has me thinking of a return to Fallout 3.
I haven't played Fallout 3 on the new TV yet, but given my backlog I feel like I should be playing through something else.
I think that's the "hardcore" in me talking, more than the simple, joy-riding gamer - a degree of inhibiting self-consciousness that allows me to sort of envy my brother. Who cares what I should be playing? The lovely thing about gaming is how it allows you to pick and choose which fantastical world you'd like to live in, today - and my desires are pointing me towards a hellish apocalyptic wasteland.