Life is pretty damn unfair. Sometimes that means you'll find yourself in a situation with no solutions. Sometimes the best you can do is cope. In today's Ask Kotaku advice column, I have to answer some tough questions. And it hurts my heart to not have a quick fix for you all.
If you've got questions for next week's column, email me at tina at kotaku dot com.
Regarding Work and School
Getting comfortable in the workplace
I’m a twenty year old educational software tester from Warsaw. I wonder if You could help me out. My entire department is getting merged with IT department and instead of tiny cozy room we’re working in right now we’re going to land in the open plan environment. Since we spend half of our time on chatting and gaming (while still getting the job done on time), open space environment would greatly reduce our work comfort. Do you have any valid arguments I can present to my boss’s boss against the change?
Wait it out and see how it feels to be in that big space. I understand that if everyone else is typing away quietly, it might feel odd to be gaming or chatting around them. But you never know how it will go down. Maybe they'll join in on the conversations and it'll be a bigger group of friends casually working with one another.
If things do feel odd after some weeks, I'd say that's the appropriate time to bring it up with your boss. They will appreciate that you gave it a chance, maybe even tried out a few methods before bringing the issue up. At that point you can suggest perhaps a lounge or walled off corner where you guys can take a break together. Your boss might even have a solution depending on what your work space is like. But, give it a chance first!
Making friends at E3
What are some tips for making friends at E3? Obviously that's not the point, but building connections is always a good thing, and as a reporter who always gets sent alone, it can mostly feel really lame just sitting there in the press room alone while everyone chats. Going up and just talking to people is a thing, but I always worry that I'm interrupting some kind of business since we're all pretty busy while we're there. Plus I don't want to be "that weird journalist," y'know? Thanks!
First off: your consideration and sensitivity is endearing. Secondly, and more to your point, it's definitely true that we're all very busy when we're in the press room and at E3 in general, but I think most everyone appreciates at least a moment of friendly hellos in the midst of running back and forth, not eating (or not eating well), and constantly, frantically typing in between all that. And likely you'd be able to read cues if people want to continue talking or need to get back to work.
But the best way to make connections at E3 is not only at your appointments with the PR reps and developers you speak with, but also at the shindigs that follow in the evening. It's always a very social setting, and everyone is loosened up and ready to relax with friends and make new ones.
Unless you work at Kotaku. Then you barely have time to party at these things :)
Deciding on a major
I am an 18 year old graduating senior in high school, and I already know I want to go into computer information systems and programming.
What I am uncertain is what kind of programming I want to do. Is it like if I learn how to program, do know how to program everything or do I need to specialize in a certain area?
My oldest brother is a professional hacker and an all-around genius, so let's see what he has to say about this:
Best way to get a job, in my opinion, is to create projects that showcase your skills. And get comfortable with all development tools. Find a favorite IDE, get comfortable with revision control through Git and Subversion.
Building a portfolio
I'm a professional musician and I want to compose music for video games, what would you recommend to do? where to start? I'm not new to music composition and gaming it's just there's no one in my circles who's programming games and needs a game music composer.
Start building your portfolio. Be well-versed in music in games. If there's a specific company you want to work for, create alternative music for their games like you would if you worked there, and put that in your portfolio.
Working on games is also key. I took a game design class and made a game with a group of my classmates. A lot of those teams stayed on even after the class ended. So maybe join some groups, classes, organizations. The more people you meet, the more potential to work on games with them. And then, when your portfolio is something you're proud of, start pitching yourself to the companies you like.
With what has recently happened with the Aliens: Colonial Marines and SimCity fiasco's, what is Kotaku now doing about previews to games? It seems these companies are taking advantage of sites like yours and building hype for things that either don't exist or are grossly over exaggerated.
It's a publisher/PR's duty to make their game look good. All of us in press are aware of that, so we try to see beyond the rose-tinted glass presentation of demos and previews. Which can be a hard thing to do.
We've already toned down how many previews we do in general. We're also making an effort to be more transparent about how a preview session went down, so you can get the best idea of what our experience was like. And we'll continue to tell you exactly what we thought, on the information we had, and remind you that things can change, and this is what we seem to be working with at that current stage of development.
Personally, I try to focus on facts in my previews. It's why we do so many bullet-pointed articles with many of our previews. We tell you exactly what we saw, what seems new. Then you can decide for yourself. Sometimes, we feel the need to give you actual impressions of these things we saw and things that seem new. Usually that's when we've spent chunkier amounts of time with the game. Stephen's article I linked to above should explain all of that in more detail.
Deciding on what games to buy
How do the staff at Kotaku choose the games they purchase? Its sort of an abstract question, so to give you an idea of what type of answer I'm looking for I'll give an example. Personally I choose games with worlds that I think I want to spend my time in, or shorter games with novel game-play elements. I rarely am interested in shooter games as the worlds and game-play just feel very generic to me. I'm drawn to RPG and action adventure games because the worlds feel fleshed out and fantastical. So I'm curious, how do the Kotaku staff choose which games they want to spend time with?
Tina: I'll play anything, really. I like to keep up-to-date with whatever it is we're all talking about, but in general I enjoy all genres and all styles. I prefer things with stories so beautiful and detailed that I can pretend like they're real for a few hours a day.
Patricia: Sometimes, I can be really picky. I won't pick up a game until months, sometimes years after it comes out—I like to read what people say, and often the initial hype betrays the actual game. And sometimes, I can buy blindly: I know I'll like the multiplayer in Halo, in Gears, so I pick those up automatically. And then there's some games that I buy to support the developer, regardless of whether or not it's good, or if I have time to play it. That happens a ton with indie games, especially those that try something new. I feel those games are worth supporting, if possible, based on principle alone.
Friends can determine what I buy too; some games are social experiences. And finally, some games—BioShock Infinite—are bought almost solely to be able to be a part of the conversation at the time. That's only important because of the job, though!
Fahey: Games that don't receive much attention in mainstream gaming press — adventure games, budget titles with potential (even if it's just potential for laughs) and obscure Japanese things.
Chris: I try to go out of my way to pay human dollars to games that I want to do well, ones where the person clearly put a lot on the line, or harder to find, older games.
Kirk: Thanks largely to Jason, I've gone out of my way to track down a lot of JRPGs lately, less well-known new ones as well as classics that I haven't played. I almost never finish them, but I love to hop around and sample the beginnings of so many grand adventures. Sure, I wind up with hundreds of hours of unplayed JRPG stored on my various gaming devices. But hey, there are worse things.
Ash: I usually have to buy my games. I don't get many for free! So, I either buy things I think I can play with my family (read: Nintendo games) or buy things that I think I'll finish. My wife and kids really like Nintendo games, so those are usually a safe bet for play time and fun. But, there are games that just I want to play, sans family. Since Luke seems to get a lot of games, I usually ask him. "Hey, Luke, should I get this game?" So...find someone whose opinion you trust and then ask that person? Then, decide for yourself. I tend to like shooters and open world games best, so I'm usually interested in getting those. Then, it's a matter of finding one that's worth my time, and more importantly, money. Once I find something I like, I tend to spend a lot of time in that world and don't want that experience to end.
Richard: Like Brian, I also have to buy all my games. As I write almost exclusively about Japanese games, I pick up any Japanese-made game that looks even remotely interesting—be that in art style. gameplay, or some odd quirk I've heard about.
However, when it comes to games outside of work that I play for pleasure, I always ask the same question first: "Is the story good?" I'm willing to play any genre of game if the story is well written and interesting. So I usually look through message boards, read reviews, or ask the other Kotaku staff for recommendations of games with a good plot.
Toshi: Same as Brian and Richard, all my games are out of pocket, so I try to be sensible with my purchases.
At the same time, I'm a bit of a pushover (read as "sucker") when it comes to advertising so I tend to focus on high-profile games.
Eric: Before China, buying games was simple. I usually buy games from studios and companies that made games I liked. For instance, I fell in love with Sting's Riviera: The Promise Land, and have since played every available in English Dept of Heaven Game. Same could be said about the Ogre Battle games.
In China, because of the limited access to English console games I tend to ask around to find out what other people are playing. If the game gets glowing recommendations, I'm willing to try it out. So now I buy games based on what other people recommend, and from my own "favorite" companies/series.
Of course being a Nintendo Fan boy, I also buy a lot Nintendo first party titles.
Stephen: I get many of my games sent to me, especially for consoles, but as I switch to downloading more games I increasingly just buy them myself. I love trying odd little games and won't think twice about downloading a $2 iOS game if someone I trust tells me it's good.
And that's the thing: personal recommendations dictate so much of what I play, moreso than reviews and, I think, ads.
The second most influential factor is probably who made the game, as I'll trust the track record of a studio more than I will a publisher or a franchise. If, for example, Criterion, Alphadream, Q-Games, Intelligent Systems or a team overseen by Patrice Désilets is putting out a game, I'll be playing it. I don't need to know anything more about it.
András: My first instinct is usually to buy every RPG that pops up on Steam, unless it's completely unknown, in which case I wait for reviews first. For other genres I play, I always wait for either first impressions or reviews.
Gergo: I usually get everything from my favorite studios, this is probably the most important deciding factor for me. Otherwise gameplay videos or forum discussions can easily persuade me to buy the game.
Evan: Others have answered the purchasing question in the same way I would: when I don't get something for free, I buy the games from studios or creators that I want to support. But I wanted to tackle the back half of the question, which is what we choose to spend time with. I've got a young daughter and I don't have as much free time as I used to. The games that pull me in are the ones that manage to mix up themes, gameplay and/or narrative structure. If I get a sense that a game is playing around with expectations, I tend to stick around and see where they go.
Becoming a recommended commenter
What does one have to do to become a trusted commenter? I don't comment on every single article I read, nor do I comment on a daily basis. (I do read on a daily basis.) But I believe I've left a reasonably good number of comments since the new site rolled out, some of which have been recommended, that I should be entitled to my comments no longer being greyed out by default. It's an issue that I was at first understanding about, then became slightly annoyed with and am now frankly frustrated about.
I love reading this site and commenting on it feels rewarding... Until you see your comment will never be seen by even a minority of people because it's been vanished to that greyed out abyss. It should not take this long for commenters to be approved to be visible. I'm on the edge of giving up here, a stifled voice is no voice at all. I (and certainly others in my shoes) want to participate. Why would you make it so unrewarding as a default?
I completely understand where you're coming from and I'm sorry we haven't approved you just yet. It's been a slow process, agreed, but I think in general we've seen an improvement in community interactions, so it may very well be worth the time.
But let me run down how we do things so you have a better understanding. We all make an effort to go through and "recommend" comments so they come out of the pending box. But, of course, some days are busier than others and we don't always get to be as thorough as we'd like. When we recognize a name or like your comment enough to go through your history, we might determine that you're cool to have the site default to bringing you out of pending automatically. (We look for comments that are smart, funny, bring up good points or experiences that add to the story, etc.) We should be doing more of this, and we will. It's a matter of getting accustomed to making that a part of our work routine.
On the upside, nothing is hidden. Sure, you're not officially Kotaku-recommended, but people can still scroll through to see your posts. And other recommended commenters can recommend you out of there, too. So it's not just us! I know it's annoying to wait, and I love that you like being a part of the community here. All of us who write for Kotaku appreciate you guys who contribute. And if it's going too slow for you, you can always drop me or anyone else an email and say, hey. What gives. I'm awesome, look at all of my awesome, non-hateful comments. Some articles get a lot of responses, so it can be hard to miss some of them.
Getting a job at Kotaku
What steps did you take to become a contributor for Kotaku? Where did it all start? How did it come to fruition?
I get this one a lot! I've been writing for a few years now, for a few different places. I got to a point where I made enough connections and established myself enough that when Stephen was looking for someone for my position, my name was brought to his attention. It's all about working until you break in.
What is the deal with wrestling games? I feel abandoned. And no, I don't see a reason to be excited for an even more licensed WWE game.
I've actually gotten into wrestling in the last year or so thanks to Giant Bomb's Alex Navarro. He's much more well-versed on the franchise than I, though—he was a fanatic back in his teen years—so I'll let him answer this one for you:
Your question is sort of vague, though I'm guessing that by 'feeling abandoned', you essentially are just bummed that there aren't more options out there than WWE games. I'm sorry, but that is just sort of the nature of professional wrestling right now. The WWE is kind of all there is on the mainstream wrestling front. You could make a TNA game again, I guess, but considering how tepidly Midway's one TNA game was received, I doubt anyone sees much incentive to go after them again. Indie feds like Chikara and Ring of Honor are pretty great, but they're not marketable enough to justify a publisher or developer spending licensing money on them. Someone could feasibly make a great wrestling game that's license free, but who (outside of Japan) would buy it?
If you're annoyed that WWE games aren't better, then I don't know what to tell you. WWE 13, for all its A.I. issues and other quirks, was still the best thing Yuke's has developed in years. They seem to be on a better trajectory these days, at least. If they're not to your liking, then maybe just go download Fire Pro Wrestling Returns off the PS2 Classics collection, and use that to salve your abandonment issues for the time being.
Why is it that on iOS and android we see free updates to apps like angry birds and games like that but when we go to the PSN or the Xbox live store, we or I never see free updates to games?
It's a different model. Developers know that to keep a mobile player's interest, you entice them with a simple yet effective gameplay formula, and then keep them coming back with updates. New levels, new characters, new power-ups. It's what does it for most mobile gamers who might tire of a game more easily were it not for promises of something new in that game they spent so much bathroom-time playing.
When it comes to a PSN or XBLA title, you're usually buying a different package, a fuller one. It's not unknown for there to be updates, of course. It's just not as typical a model as it is for mobile games. Basically the quick answer is that it's a model more suited to mobile games.
Nazis as villains
As far as bad guys in video games go, the Nazis are probably one of the most used. Anyone with a high school history class under their belt knows why it's so easy to use them as villains, as their actions are synonymous with evil. That being said, do you think the use of Nazis as bad guys in so many games, lessens the impact of what they did? Obviously this isn't exclusive to video games (just go look at what Hollywood has pumped out).
Nazis as villains in games have become far less frequent than they once were, but they're definitely still an easy opponent choice. I don't think that by any means affects the actual history of Nazis, though. If anything I'd say it's representative of just how, as you said, synonymous they are with evil.
I see what you're saying, that shoving them into a game as your typical armed enemy doesn't serve the awful history of what happened any justice. I don't think we're limited to discussing topics in any one way, though. So I'll watch Life Is Beautiful and appreciate how much people suffered, but I'm ok with shooting up Nazis in a non-serious context of a game.
In a way, anything can be a character. And TV shows like South Park and video games like Wolfenstein will put those characters in other contexts. That doesn't mean we'll ever forget what really happened. It might be painful for some people to play that one game or watch that one episode. It might be therapeutic. We're all different.
The disappearance of cheat codes
A lot more of current generation games don't have cheat codes. Many games don't have any for their single player. Things like infinite ammo, invisibly, health have disappeared from games. Even games like Grand Theft Auto, famous for once having cheats that activated flying cars, pedestrian riots, skin changes, weather effects, and gravity have toned down and stuck to the basics. Why do you think that is?
Man, that's a really good question because I honestly miss them. I think it's both a matter of perception and of the worry that it'll create problems in the competitive world.
Things like multiplayer and leaderboards make it hard to incorporate cheats. Though, it wouldn't be too hard to simply disqualify you from the leaderboards in rounds where you're using cheats. So really it comes down to a perception problem. Cheating is, in most contexts of that word, a bad thing. Maybe it's a worry of player perception, especially if there's any sense of competition in the game. Or it could be a developer perception, that gamers will all jump to the cheats and not play their game in the way they painstakingly made it to be. I'm sure some developers would worry that their game would come off as messy and exploitable.
Regarding Gaming and Lifestyle
Video games as scapegoats
With the recent violent acts in the world happening (esp. those that occur in America) and the media has been quick to blame video games to be the root cause of all the acts of violence almost. Why are video games such an easy target for blame in situations like this instead of other forms of entertainment.
Because a lot of people don't understand what games are. At all. They see two spectrums: the Call of Dutys and the GTAs of the world, and then Angry Birds and other social games.
And what people don't understand scares them. Especially because from the outside, it looks like gamers are taking a very active role in murdering people. Those of us who aren't gamers don't understand how much more complex a game could be. Or, heck, even if it's not a complex game with a detailed narrative embedded with history and romantic relationships and human bonding, that it's just a fun experience and that's that.
Compatibility and sharing interests
I am in love with this woman that I met on the Internet. We are still in contact for almost 7 years already but then I just realized that we have totally different tastes in just about everything. Both of us are avid gamers but she prefers the MMO or Sims-like games or pretty much any games that have a beautiful and cute anime-like drawing that have online while I prefer pretty much most of the games being released on consoles. I tried playing some of the games she likes and I find it dreadful and a huge waste of time not to mention a pressure for me trying to keep up with her and not looking so ignorant or stupid in-game. I tried suggesting her games that I want but she never bothers playing them at all.
Aside from gaming, our interest in movies and tv shows doesn't match well either. She hates pretty much everything especially the CG animated movies (which I find to be adorable even for a man who is almost reaching for 30s!) yet she absolutely enjoys those Hollywood Resident Evil movies (which I absolutely hate!) She is very sensitive with any mild intimate scenes from any shows too which is quite worrisome since when we do end up getting together in the future (I hope!), I sure would want to be intimate with her. It is part of a normal relationship, is it not?
Do you think there's a chance for this relationship to work in the future despite our differences in our interests? Is respecting one's interest enough to maintain and create a connection in a relationship? If there's a similarity between us is that it's our personality and perspective in life but I'm still uncertain we can connect so well because she doesn't want to talk much about the mature, real-life side of things. I need your advise, please!!
So, let's answer the question of, "Is respecting one's interest enough to maintain and create a connection in a relationship?"
That's up to you and who you want as your partner. Personally? Yeah, it certainly helps. But that's because I know media is a huge part of my life and who I am. I identify myself by my taste in music, games, movies, shows, etc. So if you tell me you also love Adventure Time and listening to Crystal Castles? I'll probably love you immediately. But other people don't have as much of a problem with differences in taste as I would. My brother is dating a lovely girl who watches those dumb reality shows. His taste in things closely matches mine, but he doesn't mind that she has her silly interests and that his interests probably seem silly to her.
It's a matter of respecting your significant others' interests, and being able to be ok with them being different from yours. If you're not and you prefer to be with someone who shares your interests, that's something to take into consideration. It sounds like you're like me in that regard.
And to answer this question specifically geared towards gaming and gamers: I'd be happy to be with a gamer at all. I wouldn't sweat the details too much. But I do know it's important to me to at least be with someone who can appreciate games. I wouldn't even mind if they weren't as dedicated to them as I am. They just need to see why I love them so much. And maybe partake here and there.
Don't apologize for knowing what you want in a significant other. Some things are unreasonable, sure. But if you think it's a reasonable quality you want in someone, and if you decide that's important to you, that's your answer right there.
As for your other question on intimacy, she might just be uncomfortable watching sex on TV. Maybe even specifically because it's with you, since you two haven't been intimate yet. Also sex on TV can be supremely awkward sometimes. I wouldn't look too much into it. Being in the moment changes everything, too.
Lastly, it sounds like you could have a communication problem with her, if she doesn't want to talk about serious things between you two. You should tell her it's important to you to talk about these things, and ask if there's a way she'd prefer to have those discussions that'd make her more comfortable. Maybe it's not the right time for her, or maybe she prefers to have that conversation in person (which, I know is difficult given your situation). Talking is key, especially in these long distance things.
Making a connection on online dating
About online dating (AKA: My last hope of ever getting a girlfriend ever): how can I get past the "keep sending messages asking about random stuff but never ever even consider meeting up until someone gets bored and just stops replying?". Take in mind it's nearly impossible for me to gather the courage to propose meeting irl, and my experience with girls is pretty much a negative number.
My online "dating" experience in the past two years has been pretty much this: Look for new girls that signed up since last visit (generally once every two weeks) => Message one or two that interested me (or sometimes don't message anyone at all) => Wait for a reply (that almost never comes.) => OH HEY GOT A REPLY! => Begin actual conversation => usual "what do you like, what do you do, etc" questions => conversation dies after days / weeks => the end. Heck, right now I'm stuck in such a loop for nearly a month, and I'm almost bored out of it already and might just stop replying, assuming I even get a reply from the last message I sent. I can only presume the girl feels the same way.
Online dating can be tough for both guys and girls. Typically, girls will get tons and tons of messages that are easy to ignore because there are just so damn many. It's like looking through resumes; you really have to make yourself stand out from the pile of messages that all probably say the same thing.
First, to respond to the issue of sending messages and keeping it interesting: try something other than the standard interview questions to get to know someone. Ask them something weird and see how they respond. You might love their answer, you might hate it. Here's what I might ask, and what I would answer:
What's your happiest memory?
I have many happy memories, but one of the simpler ones that always comes to mind when I think about this is hanging out with my two older brothers in Austin. It was summer and the Drafthouse was hosting a late-night showing of Jaws on the lake. We floated in tubes with beers, and scooba divers tugged at our feet during the movie to freak us out. They shined flashlights from under the water and even had a big shark prop they swam at people. It was one of the most chill, and simultaneously thrilling evenings I can remember on cue.
What's something you don't typically do but want to make an effort to do more of? [This is the perfect question to segue into a potential date, btw]
I really want to socialize more. It's easy to get caught up with working all the time and spending what free time I have catching up with friends at dinner. But I want to go to events where I can meet new friends. Gallery openings, concerts, dinner parties, etc.
What's your favorite dream?
I once dreamt I was being chased by some bad guys (I can't remember the context exactly) and was freerunning across colorful rooftops. The guys couldn't even keep up with me, and it was exhilarating. It basically felt like this:
People will put a lot of the basic information on their profile, maybe with a few silly quips and stories, but this is a more interesting way to get to know someone. Maybe you'll even catch them off guard, which is a good thing.
Right there you've probably learned a lot about me. Like: I have two older brothers who I hold in very high regard; I like being in the water; I like movies; I work a lot, but I love to be social; I like adventures.
Maybe these questions aren't your style, but asking for those "you're all alone on an island, what do you bring with you" questions are a fun way of interacting with people and getting interesting answers from them.
And getting to know people in this way will give you a better idea of how to ask them out, or if you even want to ask them out. It's tough to gauge who a person is just from online interactions, and either way it could be hit or miss, but being playful and representing yourself in the best and non-resume-ish way possible seems like the best way to go about that.
Living with cancer
Recently I was diagnosed with non hodgkin's lymphoma. If I had noticed the signs and symptoms earlier it wouldn't be so bad where as now I am at what they consider Stage III. I still have not told anyone what is wrong and can't really think of the best way to do so. I don't want anyone to treat me differently or when they see me act like it will be the last time they see me. Is it wrong if I wait till I'm at the point where I know I'm going to die?
Also what's the best way for dealing with the constant fear of wondering if I'll wake up? The doctor gave me tons of support group info, but the only people in my area are considerably older than me.
First of all: I'm so sorry. You are very brave to be focusing on how you will live the rest of your life. Secondly: You don't have a responsibility to tell every single person about this. I'd say your closest family and friends deserve to know. If you're selective with who you chose, chances are these are people who are close to you and would understand and respect your wishes. And if/when you decide to tell them, you should mention that you don't want them to treat you any differently.
Tell them you want to make the most of your time, and I'm sure they'll understand. Tell them it's what would make you happy, and what you need from them in terms of support. Even if it's not the way they would respond to being in a similar situation, they should understand it's what you personally need.
As for your second question: I think it's about coming to terms with that fear. It's a very reasonable fear to have. But it sounds like in many other ways you've accepted your condition and are just learning to live with it. This is part of that experience, while it is very sad and unfortunate to say. In your position, I'd want to be near my loved ones at all times. So, lots of sleep overs. It might help make you feel safe, even if you know that one day that might be inevitable. Again, I'm really sorry for your situation and I wish you the best. I've had a lot of experience with cancer in my family, and it's definitely not an easy thing to deal with. People can react to hearing the news in strange ways. Most of the time, a lot of people seem to want to treat you like a patient. And that can be exhausting when you're already spending most of your life doing that for yourself. I'd say be careful who you choose to tell, and make sure they're aware that you don't want that to happen.
Stupid clothing hangers
Why do swivel head hangers still exist?!
So you have something to play with when you get bored waiting for someone at a clothing store.
Inhibited by disabilities
I'm a 31 year old former hardcore gamer who has a degenerative disorder that has almost entirely eliminated my ability to play. In 2006 I was diagnosed with a degenerative disorder of the connective tissues called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. I continued to play shooters, RTS and TBS, drivers, puzzle, MMO's, multi-platorm, arcade, motion sensor, and PC games(among a few others) until early 2010, where pain, fatigue, and even occasional dislocation slowed me down fast and the last game/gaming session was roughly 20 hours in a week after the Gears 3 release.
I miss gaming badly. I miss gaming more than words can convey, I still have it set up, plugged in, and ready to go at a moments notice should the urge arise and I manage to get though the training and try and do something, to have a miraculous 10 minutes back. I have lost accuracy, speed, endurance, and even reaction time, and no amount of medication or physical therapy baring a miracle will ever bring it back, let alone stop it from getting worse.
How do I continue to be who I am?
It's a huge part of who I am and has been since I was 7, I still have my Atari 2600, but with this health problem as is and getting worse, I need to find an alternative. I've always done pen and paper/tabletop and more of that has been no help. Card, flash, and turn based tend to just frustrate me and with most of what I've tried, I end up feeling more pathetic or pissed off as I feel like I'm forcing myself to do something I don't want to because I cannot do what I love.
How do I game again?
I'm sure you're already doing this, but you should continue to go through therapy. Hopefully you'll see improvements or at least keep your condition from worsening.
But the sad truth of life is that there's only so much we can control. At a point of time, when all options have been exhausted, we have to learn to work with what we have and embrace what we don't. It sucks that you've lost your competitive advantage. It's unfair. But even if you can manage to play for 10 minutes or have to opt for role-playing games that are slower paced, it's something to cherish.
And yet it's not enough. I know that. But maybe you can live vicariously through others. You could watch your friends play games next to you. Or watch Let's Plays online.
When I was younger my older brother never let me have the controller. But I always felt like I had played a game just because I sat and watched him play every minute of it. I felt like I knew the game. I knew the controls and the story and the quirks and the bugs as if I had actually held the controller in my hand the whole time.
You coud go to LAN parties and big competitions. Attend the PAX conventions. Sometimes being around gamers and that vibrant setting can get you through it. It's nice to be a part of the community. That is, of course, if you're comfortable and able to travel there. It must be rough. But you'll always be a gamer at heart, even if nature takes away your ability to actually partake in it.
Life centers on change. It's unavoidable. And while change comes with sacrifices and losses, you'd be surprised had how much you can discover in it, too. Maybe you'll pick up new hobbies and find amazing new interests. Regardless, I wish you luck.
Update: I received an email from a reader with some more suggestions for dealing with this particular issue. They're very insightful!
1. There is an organization called AbleGamers which is entirely focused on helping disabled gamers play. A number of its members are quadriplegics; N0mad, a professional gamer, is also disabled and is able to play through adaptive technologies. I am somewhat familiar with Ehlers Danlos since a friend of mine has it, and while it sounds as though the individual's symptoms are more severe than hers (she is still able to play games with her son), it would still be a shame to not refer him to AbleGamers, which might be able to offer the individual a chance to do what they want to do - that's better than no hope at all, yes?
2. He or she should look for Ehlers Danlos forums. Local support groups might be helpful, but it is more likely that an online forum would include people who have dealt with his specific concern due to the broader reach of Web sites and would have concrete suggestions about assistive technology and devices which would allow that person to resume gaming.