There’s No Crying in Video Games, or Why John Has No Joy in His Soul.

I love video games. I’ve been playing for over 35 years and I’m passionate about my favorite hobby. I play almost every single day of my life and most nights I would rather sit down with a good video game over a book, movie, or music album. As much as I truly love gaming though, compared to some of the people that I see on the internet lately I feel like a cranky old shit incapable of feeling any real sense of joy or excitement.

Of course it’s stupid to compare one person’s love of something to someone else’s, this isn’t some sort of nerdy competition. But I’ve been blown away by the videos on YouTube and Twitter in recent years of people reacting to things like game trailers and announcements, and the reactions they have to them are often times quite… “intense”. Yes, that’s what the kids do these days. They put up a video of a game announcement, then they put a camera on themselves so that you can see how enthusiastically they react to said announcement. Then they scream, and they yell, and they jump out of their chairs, and they cry. They literally cry.

My gut reaction to these is usually “What is wrong with you?”, but after some thought it turns to “Well done, get those clicks”. After all, these are influencers and YouTubers we’re talking about. They’re overreacting to a character being added to a video game because they know that these clips will get shared around social media and discussed by idiots like me, meaning more eyeballs for their channel and more people to SMASH THAT LIKE BUTTON. It’s smart marketing and it’s entertaining to watch somebody else lose their shit. It’s all a performance, right?

But what if it’s not? What if these raw and tearful outbursts are real? Some of these reactions seem truly genuine (if not a little excessive). I started asking around and I found many other people who say they’ve also cried over a video game trailer or announcement. Actual for real tears leaving their ocular cavities because of a game reveal. From grown adults whom I respect and admire. It’s pure unfiltered joy and I’m kind of pissed off that my brain doesn’t seem capable of experiencing that same level of euphoria over something that I so truly love.

I don’t think that I’m some sort of stoic robot, or that I’m not capable of emotionally connecting with a game. I cried during Life is Strange, and The Last of Us had me sobbing like a kid who just discovered that there’s no Santa. I know that the medium can be very powerful and that I have the ability to feel these human emotions. Hell, since becoming a parent I’ll even cry over a god damned toilet paper commercial. But I can’t help but shake my head in confusion when I see people burst into tears over Sora being added to Super Smash Bros Ultimate. What is wrong with me? Am I broken inside? Am I completing my metamorphosis from a middle aged nerd to an angry old curmudgeon who sits on his porch and complains about that hippity hop music and is annoyed by others feeling joy? I certainly hope not.

I think at the end of the day my brain is just wired differently to react to certain things. I did laugh as my first child was born after all. Maybe I was dropped too much as a child. I wish I was capable of being that emotional at a game announcement, I truly do. You all look like you’re having a hell of a good time. Maybe it’ll just take one certain game reveal to unlock that long dormant region of my brain, and when that happens maybe I’ll jump out of my chair, tear off my shirt and let out a primal roar that will traumatize my kids and cause the neighbors to dial 911. Until that day though, please pay no mind to this irritable old shit as I sit in my recliner and grumble about “kids these days” or whatnot, and do me a favor and wake me from my nap when they finally announce Skies of Arcadia 2 because I’ll probably flip the fuck out.

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