Unemployed Gamer


Due to circumstances beyond my control, today is my first day of being unemployed since I started working in 2001. I will be diligent in trying to get back on my feet, and I hope this spell of unemployment doesn’t last for long. I have been pretty good at saving my money and my expenses are relatively low, so I should be able to hang out for a few months if things get that hairy. I pray that they don’t.

Because there are a lot more important things in life than gaming, I am putting a voluntary and immediate hold on all video game related spending. Video games are not a cheap hobby to maintain, and for the next little while I’ll have 0 income to offset my expenses. I haven’t had to limit myself in this department ever since I began making my own money, so it will take some adjusting on my part. It will be a weird feeling let games I want on day one pass by for a while (or for forever), but the ability to eat, pay my bills and maintain my health trumps whatever fun I could have from any video game.

When I’m not hustling towards the next career opportunity, I will still have downtime and still be looking for something to do. Heck, I’ll have more time than ever to play video games, technically. So what am I going to do as an unemployed gamer?

1. Get a job.

It may seem awesome on the surface to have all the time in the world to play video games, but I can’t be one of “those people” who throws their life away by vegging out on the couch with a controller in their hands. I need to focus on getting my life back together first and foremost.

2. Play games I started and never finished.

Off the top of my head, I know that I still have Super Mario Galaxy, New Super Mario Bros. Wii, Boom Blox 1 and 2, Punch-Out!!!, Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars, Mirror’s Edge, Silent Hill: Homecoming and Army of Two. Not all of these are great games, but are a lot of games I have that I never got the full experience from. I’ll have time to go back and finish the job. In particular, I’m looking forward to finishing the Mario games, because I know I’m missing out.

3. Start playing games to 100% completion.

I’m normally not the type of player that aims to needs to complete everything a game has to do. But desperate times call for potentially desperate measures, and I do have a few games that could fit the bill. In Assassin’s Creed 2, I still have a number of side missions left to do. In Borderlands, I’m almost done playthrough 2 with a level 50 soldier, so the opportunity is there to finish the job. Should I really want to go all-out with it, I could try and max out the other three characters too. That process would take up a good 150+ hours of game time. Maybe the most heinous crime against video games I’ve committed recently is that I’ve barely played any Modern Warfare 2 multiplayer. There isn’t a better time than now to chase Prestige…or get shot in the head repeatedly by 12 year-old kids that are way better than me.

4. Exercise…video game style.

My mom is a huge exercise video game junkie. Because of her, we have Wii Fit, both EA Active games and Your Shape in the house. I used to be in tip-top shape before my second go-around at college and working full-time ravaged my body. I have gained a notable amount of weight and haven’t done much of anything to stop it. Now will be a great time to exercise not just my thumbs, but the rest of my body as well.

5. Start actively playing for achievements.

The last time I wrote about achievements, I said that I was more concerned with playing fun games or new games rather than grinding through a game for points. With the extra time on my hands, now can grind through the Endless Set-list in Lego: Rock Band or whatever other game with achievements to spare. I’ve only collected about 1/3 of the total possible number of points across all my games, so committing to boosting my score could eat up quite a bit of time, should I so choose to go down this path.

6. Train to be a Street Fighter IV master.

Ever since I began following the professional scene last year, I’ve steadily improved my abilities in Street Fighter IV to the point where I have 2500+ battle points, over 3000 wins and a winning percentage of roughly 80% by taking what I’ve learned from the pro scene and applying it to my own game. It’s made the game far more fun and exciting than I ever imagined Street Fighter could be. In spite of my personal gains, I’m far from a grand master and I would probably get destroyed at any local competition. There are a number of resources available to help me get there, but I’ve always frowned upon having to “work” in training mode to get better. Committing to being good at the Street Fighter IV series of games could take potentially years of my gaming life away.

7. Dig into the “Pile of Shame”.

Maybe it’s time to settle some old scores once and for all. Games such as Metroid Prime 2: Echoes and Wind Waker are among a handful of games I own that I have never played. With no foreseeable games on the horizon for me to purchase due to my work situation, now could be an awesome time to dust off a few old consoles and figure out why I invested in these games in the first place.

With all that written down, it appears as though I have a lot of great gaming ahead of me. Maybe I do. However, nothing would bring me more joy than to get a new job to mend my crushed spirit, career and income. To be honest, I think my video game playing plan is a lot more thought out than my plan to get working again, which is pretty sad. I guess before I tackle anything on this list, I better go update my resume and get back on the grind.

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