gamesVSlife: My generation

Seriously, folks - the milk comes last. It always comes last.

December 16, 2012 / 10:06 AM EDT / (@admeady)

People put the milk in before the tea bag. Really – before the tea bag. The mere fact that this is a thing that happens is a perpetual source of brain-breaking beffudlement and made-up words. Yeah, seriously – they put the milk in before the tea bag.

Much in the same way, though, there’s people who’ll never understand video games – and so they’ll never understand the group of incredibly well-written words to follow: video games have provided some of the most memorable moments of my life. Ever.

Whether it was in Phantasy Star Online, where we’d take on the final boss with only one of us left standing. Poisoned. Under-leveled. Alone. Or it was that time I rode shotgun in a chopper in Battlefield, going down with the ship if needed – the engineering equivalent of Chuck Norris and Liam Neeson in a giant ball of manly manliness.

Or it might be that time we executed a ridiculous strategy on Starcraft – as in all the time – bringing in the ‘Bane Train’ to utterly destroy the other team’s base. Or TimeSplitters multiplayer – now known as the Bot-widow Generator of Ultimate Doom.

My Friday nights, then, weren’t spent drinking copious amounts of beer. They weren’t destined to end up in some club, not being able to hear what the person screaming in my ear was trying to say. Video games were my club.

Generations ago, our let’s-put-the-milk-in-first ancestors might’ve gone to the local pub. They’d sit round a table, drink beer, eat crisps and talk. With my generation – or with my friends, at least – video games are the local pub. Our digital tavern. We’d talk, we’d drink tea – all whilst killing Big Nasties and executing particularly stupid strategies.

It’s how random these moments could be, how unique to the group and to the medium – and how they aren’t necessarily destined to happen – which makes them so memorable. No other medium can take a giant digital dump on your day in the way video games can and have it be absolutely hilarious.

But it seems that people who don’t engage with the medium don’t understand why we choose this over the Friday Night Club. They don’t understand the spontaneity and the mindfulness video games can bring. And they don’t understand why the milk can’t go in first – it just can’t.

And sadly, this emergence, this digital magic is almost impossible to articulate. It’s difficult to explain exactly why staying up till the early hours hunting for loot in Borderlands with gallons of hot chocolate is such a laugh – such a fond and cherished memory.

In nothing else can I scale cranes and skyscrapers, wield an other-worldly army, or slay a dragon. Video games – those bloody wonderful things – give us a rough estimation, a rough sense of what it’s like to enjoy these things whilst removing the nasty bits – the burns, the bruises, the torn-off limbs.

I couldn’t have met the people I play with today – some I’ve now known for over a decade. I couldn’t have had these hilarious experiences – a combination of design, character and the common interest of just having fun. And yet it did – that’s why it’s so special.

Your background, your dress sense, your political stance – these things didn’t matter in our digital tavern. On the better side of anonymity, these labels meant nothing. It simply needed a common love of pretending to do things, of tapping into our imaginations.

And if that’s all video games require of us as people, then perhaps – just perhaps – they have the potential to be the most inclusive medium of all.

gamesVSlife is a column dedicated to video games, life, and how games relate to life. Feel free to leave your comments and stories below.

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  • FaithlessMr

    Awesome read, as always Adam! Please keep up the great work :D

  • xMCXx

    Well said!
    Videogames have the power to bring us together!
    It’s a great medium, but it’s sad that there is still a social stigma attached to it thanks to some old geezers.

    • http://www.facebook.com/InternationalGamer1 Christopher Bosak

      agreed our American Politicans here never STFU and stay out.

  • Locksus

    Spot on, Adam. Great read, as always. “People put the milk in before the tea bag.” I’ve always used hot water myself!

  • http://twitter.com/RaiuLyn Raiu

    Hmmm… Milk tea <3 ~~

    Great article… Gaming brought us all together to chat and enjoy what we like doing… What better way to enjoy than with friends and buddies?

  • MrRobbyM

    I still remember the days when we would all just play pokemon together in the same room. Yelling what pokemon we found, trading, battling and all that. Great times.

    • Kobracon

      I remember Digimon, with the little Digivices and we’d fight each other by shaking that thing madly XD

    • http://www.facebook.com/InternationalGamer1 Christopher Bosak

      I did that too, now Kids today have ipads, 3DS, and play COD. they only know the NEW stuff of Video Games. Not what we 90′s kids grew up on.

  • Peacenutman

    Just like my dad, who thinks video games are for children and therefore, don’t understand how could even adults like playing them.

    Another example is western thinking about cartoon and cgi movies, they automatically think they are for kids and make them look childish (Pixar and Dreamworks) while Japan keep producing mature animes and cgi movies.

    • fireemblembeast

      MY DAD IS JUST LIKE THAT!
      Well said

  • Kobracon

    Fantastic read. Srsly who puts milk first, before the tea bag??

  • almostautumn

    I don’t really get the point of this? I mean this could be about any hobby.
    “While others go out on Friday, my crew and I build the meanest Lincoln Log homes! And they can’t understand because it’s special and a hobby and therefore not everyone has it but so I want to prompt it anyway!”

    I mean, I get it, but this is a gaming website so everyone here, I assume, does play videogames and so knows why it’s enjoyable. And yet, saying you don’t go out or whatever— I mean, alright, but that’s you. For one, I do like to go out on my nights off work to get slammed and hopefully corral a girl, but does that mean I’m now no longer in the club of gaming, or not “hardcore” enough?

    Just seems like a “Power to your hobby!” post— which is unnessecary because not only is Gematsu a website for gamers anyway, it’s also an import gaming site— so you know that the people visiting here are pretty much rooted as deep as it gets in gaming.

    • http://twitter.com/Azuardo Azuardo

      This is a fair enough point. What I can take from this article, though, is that it also might get across the message to those that play games and don’t go out that it’s okay to do that. A sort of “You’re not alone” kind of thing, that might reassure those that prefer to stay in and play games, when others, including themselves, might question it. Whether that was one of the intended messages with this article, I don’t know, but it might be one that people can take from it.

      • almostautumn

        Right oh; I can dig that take on it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/InternationalGamer1 Christopher Bosak

    just wish most of my College gaming friends would talk about more than just FPS. I love JRPG’s and a few find it weird cause I don’t play SKYRIM.
    So the Fuck what. I don’t play Besthesda or should I say BUGTHESDA’s games I don’t like playing games with Game breaking bugs. I’m talking to you NEW VEGAS.