Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Video Games...

Every now and again, I consider giving up video games completely. I keep thinking doing that can only benefit me.

A little background: when I was a little kid, I didn't have much. I hesitate to say "we was po'" but I will say that I grew up in a household with a single mom and three other siblings, and it was usually my two younger sisters that got my mom's attention, both emotionally and financially. So, lacking the toys and other things my friends had, I turned to pencil and paper for my entertainment. Since I didn't have action figures, I made up characters, often transforming them into paper figurines, building board games around them, and more...which quickly evolved into trying to draw comics and write stories about them. As time went on, I gained stuff...had some toys, an NES, SNES, Game Boy, so on...this stuff never lasted. It would break or get lost or stolen or whatever, and when I was without, I focused on my characters and drawings some more.

In a nutshell, it was being 'without' that helped me to become creative. I can only imagine how far I'd have gotten if I was completely disinterested in the material things my friends and more well-off relatives had growing up, and completely focused on my art. I might have a better work ethic now that I'm in my early 30s.

But the past is not a wound I'm looking to heal or anything, I just wanted to illustrate a little part of my persona. Now that I have a full time job (not to mention a working spouse), there's nothing preventing me from having the things I want. If I want a new game for my PS3, Wii, DS or PSP, I just buy it...or at least pay Gamefly's monthly fee. Same with movies, books, whatever. But I spend most of my recreational time and dollars on video games. Mind you, my number one source of artistic inspiration happens to be video games. I was never a big comic reader (one wonders why drawing comics is such a big part of my artistic identity); I was much more into animation and gaming. The stuff I create is usually inspired by an experience I had in a game.

However, it's been a long time since a game has truly inspired me. I just end up playing them for fun these days, and sometimes out of some strange sense of obligation. I know it's detrimental to my creativity. I know that if I did not have access to these games, my mind would focus on creativity. It was a general lack of gaming, internet access and challenging work that led me to write my Nia Black novel--the one thing in my life that I've worked through to a solid state of completion.

And yet, my wife, my number one supporter, expresses her disagreement with my idea of selling most of my games, even though I'm the only one in the household who plays them. She believes I will become depressed without them, and she (rightfully) considers them her property too, so I can't just up and sell them or give them away without her OK.

And even if I did sell them, what then? I would either get a fraction of their worth (if anything) in real cash since none of my games are particularly rare, or I would sell them to Gamestop or Gamefly for credit towards more games...defeating the whole purpose.

I could, of course, simply not play them. Out of sight, out of mind. Funny story though...I recently acquired Cross Edge, an RPG for PS3. This game, strangely, has become a new activity that my six-year-old daughter and I share. She loves to read the dialogue, and I help her with larger words (when they're not speaking) and she really likes a lot of characters in the game, especially Prinny. Last night, she was extremely disappointed that I chose to focus on art (I'm creating a Jet Dancer model sheet) instead of playing Cross Edge. It's hard to turn my back on that kind of validation.

I dunno. Maybe I'm just stressing for nothing.

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