Gamepad: When does your hobby stop serving you, and you start to serve your hobby?

wordpress I recently watched a short documentary from GameSpot called Video Games vs. Depression, made by the ever-so awesome Irish stud Danny O’Dwyer and his buddy Andy Bauman. The video shows interviews conducted with people who’ve had depression and games cross paths in their lives, and everyone spoke about how positive the experience turned out to be, but it made me wonder: When do you cross the boundaries between gaming and addiction, and how would that affect you.

As people we often fall on hard times, and as gamers those moments may come more frequently than they may do for non-gamers. I’ve found this to be a reality for me, and while it’s not something I feel especially proud of, I’ve found ways to deal with the empty feeling of depression and it’s ugly cousin – social anxiety.

Games just like any other hobby have the power to consume us, however being consumed by drawing is not so detrimental to your mental health in the long run as gaming could be. We live in a technology driven world and whether we like it or not, it’s here to stay. We purposefully surround ourselves with monitors, tablets and blinking lights all the time, effectively ruining our social lives. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that we’re zombies controlled by our smartphones, but it’s a topic that is too sensitive for some people, because it will show the flaws in their everyday life and behavior. What does that have to do with gaming? Well, pretty much everything. One of the unwritten rules of games is that if you want to become a better gamer, you need to play more, and when you spend the majority of your day holding a controller or tapping on a keyboard, you create the cracks that depression needs in order to silently slip into your psyche.

Social anxiety is a big problem for gamers, myself included, and while I’ve found ways to cope with it, many gamers haven’t. But how does one acquire said anxiety? The answer most of the time is online games. They often provide a false feeling of safety and are used as a safe haven for people who have problems dealing with the real world. That’s not attacking MMOs in general, I love MMOs, but the thing is that MMOs tend to become very addictive and all-consuming, resulting in weird behavior when the person is put outside of their comfort zone (socially wise), which in most cases turns out to be going outside and meeting new people.

So, what happens next? Usually the person who experiences social anxiety as a result from gaming, does the complete opposite of what they were supposed to do. Instead of trying to climb out of that hole, the person in question descends even further by increasing play sessions as a means of comfort, when they should be focusing more on rebuilding their social skills. You may as yourself why, and the answer is simple: whenever we fall on hard times we immediately go to the places that provide comfort for us, so it’s no surprise that someone who has social anxiety and plays games, actively tries to play games more, in order to feel safer. The problem is that the person in question is unable to find the real enemy, and sadly the real enemy are the games the person is playing…

Don’t get me wrong, I love video games and I strongly believe in their healing power, whether against depression or enhancing cognitive skills. What I’m trying to warn other about is, that some hobbies become problematic when over-consumed, and gaming is one of them. My personal belief is that everyone should enjoy themselves and their games, but should remain vigilant of the dangers games may have hidden in plain sight. Don’t serve your hobbies. Let your hobbies serve you!




Gamepad: Should we really be surprised about Battlefront?

battlefrontSo here it is. Finally, EA has decided to give us one of the most anticipated games of the year, and it’s not very good. As far as I’m concerned this game is a cash grab and a way to exploit the new Star Wars movie, while also destroying the reputation of a franchise that has a special place in my heart.

I always felt pretty worried about Battlefront. Ever since that thirty second trailer came out, I knew EA would find a way to screw it up. I also remember the winter of last year, when I predicted that the game would feature a co-op mode. Of course, I also wanted an Xbox back then, and got a PS4 only recently, however my prediction came through. It’s a run-of-the-mill shooter game with realistic weapons and flashy Star Wars effects. And that leads me the big problem this game has: Lack of content.

usduzI was notorious for playing the Battlefront Beta for just over an hour, but it was enough to get a taste of the game, and find out that I have no desire to play it whatsoever. It just didn’t click for me. But that was okay, I wasn’t disappointed by it. I just had an eerie feeling in the back of my mind, that EA HAD NO IDEA how to do Star Wars correctly. The only people who knew how to do Star Wars were the people behind Star Wars, and even they had some pretty rough moments. The Beta was successful in luring the people in, but it seems that the final game is successful in pushing them away.

Of course the game will see a spike in player numbers after the new movie comes out, and yes Kylo Ren seems like a pretty cool villain to play as, but still the lack of actual content for day one is getting on my nerves. I remember playing the Instant Action mode in Battlefront 2 for hours and hours on end, while this new Battlefront doesn’t even have a campaign, and that wouldn’t be a problem if the game wasn’t a mixture of Titanfall and Destiny with Star Wars written all over it. It feels fantastic, like you’re actually in Star Wars, but nothing more than that, and that’s pretty sad…


Reviewing The Reviewer: NerdCubed

Ooooh, a new series ‘ey? Yeah, thought I’d do something a little different from reviewing a game and actually review a game creator and sort of game reviewer I don’t know if you can call him that but he does a pretty good job of reviewing games and making me want to play things regardless.

So, Nerd3 (Dan Hardhat or whatever his name is) is a YouTuber that creates gaming content and stuff. He also makes games like I stated in my previous paragraph. I’ve actually played a few of them (How to Snooker and Systems Nominal) and they’re extremely fun games, I really enjoyed them.

I enjoyed the games, but did I enjoy his YouTube content? Of course I bloody did, he’s a talented individual. His content is varied and there’s pretty much something for everyone on his channel. You like first person shooters? He’s done videos on Battlefield and Call of Duty. You like simulators? Well aren’t you in for a treat, he’s done videos on Euro Truck Simulator, OMSI, Farming Simulator, everything. Continue reading

The Gamerscore Run – Week 1 – Finally

So a while ago (about a year or two), I decided to start collecting achievements frequently, my friend in turn, decided to beat my gamerscore when I took a bit of a break. Now I’m gonna try and catch up, beat his gamerscore and stay in the lead. Hopefully all goes well. To make things even more interesting, me, my friend and a few other friends are seeing who can get the most gamerscore every month.

For those who don’t know, I’m Ewan, I’m a writer at and now avid achievement hunter. My friend, Joseph, is also an avid achievement hunter and probably a cat person, have yet to come to a conclusive result. So, without further ado, welcome back The Gamerscore Run! Continue reading

The problem with the term “video game”

What comes to mind when you hear someone say “video games”? No, seriously, I want to know, put it in the comments. For those of us who consider ourselves “gamers”, we probably think of the entire hobby and culture that makes up what video games are to us. To the more casual gamer or those on the outside looking in, a different picture may take shape in their mind when they hear the term “video game”. I had never really put much thought into the use this term until I was working on my last post “With release of “9/11 simulator”, journalists once again criticize any game that wants to speak on a sensitive subject“.

I realized that when video games are spoken of in mainstream media, calling them “games” often immediately devalues the projects themselves. When calling something a “game”, it causes many people to automatically categorize whatever the subject is into things that are fun and usually for kids. This is fine most of the time. For most big developers, the term game works perfectly. Games are meant to be played for fun and entertainment and many of them are developed with kids in mind. Over recent years, though, video games have evolved. Not all video games are just “games” anymore. Video games have things to say, places to take the player, and narratives to tell. Many releases like The Beginner’s Guide, Gone Home, and Cibele are amazing experiences, but calling them “games” (even though The Beginner’s Guide is about games) doesn’t seem to quite fit. Continue reading

With release of “9/11 simulator”, journalists once again criticize any game that wants to speak on a sensitive subject

As a project for video game development school in France, a group of developers created “8:46”, a virtual reality experience that recreates the fateful few minutes of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on 9/11. This is not a commercial for sale, but rather a small project that was released to the public. In 8:46 the player plays as a person on the 101st floor on the first building hit with no escape. After trying to find a way out the player is eventually confronted with the decision to either stay and suffocate, or jump from the 101st floor, both with the same outcome. As you can imagine, the game and developers have received quite a bit of criticism for their project. This seems to have introduced a very important question to those who have never thought of it. Is it OK for developers to include real life tragedies as the focal point for their game? Continue reading

A Really Fast Rundown of the 104 Backwards Compatible Xbox 360 Games

Alright, really quickly, here’s a list of I think all 104 games that are now backwards compatible, with a brief description of if you should buy it, download it or completely ignore it, throw your Xbox One out of the window and eat a tub of mint flavoured ice cream. Here we go! Continue reading