So I’m sitting around playing Dead Space 2 last night and something hit me. No it wasn’t a thought, but a severe numbness in my right hand. For the past couple of years I’ve played it off as nothing, but recently it returned once again. It’s become quite a hindrance as of late happening a couple of times a week. Usually I would just press the pause button and shake it off and then continue playing a few minutes later, but I begin to think about if there is something wrong with me. Maybe it was time that I found out.
I know that I’m completely healthy, and that I have no lagging injuries. So I decided to go online and look it up. My first thought was Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. I hear about it quite a bit lately, but I figured that this can’t be what I’m experiencing. As I started reading about it on Wikipedia I realized that it does mention “numbness of the thumb, index, long and radial half of the ring finger.” This is exactly what I was going through. Could I be in the early stages of CTS? Could it possibly be arthritis? I hope not. To me arthritis is something that old people go through. I’m not that old. I’m 38 for Pete’s sake! I’m not even close to experiencing my mid life crisis yet.
While this numbness in my hands has been an issue there is something else that concerns me. My interest. Lately, I’ve seen a sharp decline in my interest when playing a game. That’s not normal for me. Some nights when I hop online I just stare at the screen. Part of this has to do with either I have no idea what I want to play, or all of a sudden I’m just not interested. With that in mind I wondered whether there was a Cialis or Viagra type of pill for gamers who have a lack of gaming interest, or is the solution simply a six pack of Mountain Dew and a large bag of Doritos. Sadly, the junk food and beverage solution will only lead to obesity, and that’s clearly not in the cards for me.
So here I sit writing this article, and begin to contemplate whether it’s time to put the controller down for good. I’ve been gaming since I was a little kid growing up during the ’80s. The days of the going to the local video arcade, or just playing at home on the Atari 2600 where my imagination really took over especially when objects on screen looked like various geometric shapes. Those were the days when I was playing games that included Pac-Man, Galaga, Dig-Dug, Robotron 2084, Gauntlet, Space Invaders, Defender, and countless others. I was in love with the technology even though these edgy visuals of yesteryear are very low tech compared to today’s high definition standards.
Thirty years of gaming sure is a long time. Sometimes it still feels like only yesterday when my parents brought home that Atari 2600. Plenty of consoles have come and gone after that humble beginning. The NES, Master System, Genesis, Saturn, Playstation, Dreamcast, Playstation 2, Xbox, and currently the Xbox 360. Consoles that featured a plethora of games that still trigger plenty of happy memories. Getting the high score, warp zones, epic boss battles, saving the princess, saving the world, racing to the finish line, blast processing, cheat codes, flawless victories, fatalities, tales of souls and swords, warriors needing food badly, beating up prostitutes with baseball bats after they filled my needs and raised my health, that laughing dog, a plumber, a hedgehog, a Solid Snake, a Master Chief, achievement unlocked. All these moments and more were fun and exciting, but all good moments at some point and time must come to an end. Is that end coming soon?
With a new Xbox console set to arrive later this year I started to think if I still have one more console generation left in me. Back in 2005, I said that the Xbox 360 would probably be my last console. Eight years later I’ve revisited that statement I made. As I begin to approach the unavoidable age of 40 in 2014 I think to myself whether I still want to be playing new video games. Do I still have it left in me to take on new adventures? What about starting to play a new franchise or two? Can I still compete online? What about the numbness in my hands? Maybe I make that final decision and make 2013 the end of the road. Maybe I just play the games I have until my Xbox 360 says no more and shuts down forever. One thing is for certain. I don’t see myself playing games at 50. I just won’t be able to keep up with those young whipper snappers in Call of Duty: Whatever.
For now I’m going to enjoy what this year in gaming offers while hoping that the numbness in my hands don’t ruin it. By E3 this June, I’ll know if my gaming road continues for one last run, or ends in retirement.