Confession of a Closet Video Gamer

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rambonate.jpgOkay, here it is. I have a confession to make. Phew, deep breath. All right. So………. I’m a closet Video Gamer. Wait, wait, wait. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not of the persuasion depicted on South Park, hunched over a monitor in my mom’s basement, not moving for weeks on end. The fact is, with a wife and two toddlers, I’ve had to scale back gameplay to a mere night or two per week. In addition, I don’t really have an affinity for fantasy games, Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPG’s), or even single-player role play – mainly due to the intimidating time commitment. Not that it’s particularly exonerating or anything, but I’m more of an FPS (First-Person Shooter) man myself, enjoying the instant gratification of games that generally shy away from strategy. The FPS basically began with Wolfenstein 3D in the early 90’s and culminated in this year’s gorgeous, video-card-melting Battlefield 3. Just for comparison’s sake, your typical MMORPG player is a former 20-sided-dice-rolling Dungeons & Dragons fanatic that used to learn Star Wars trivia in their free time (I know I’m going to get some flak for that), and FPS’ers like me are the dumb jocks that just like to see stuff go boom.
 
As guilty-pleasure-embarrassing as this confession is, I still manage to find a way to be a snob about being a Gamer, by (1) comparing it to worse addictions, (2) comparing it to stupider games, and (3) pretending I’m not frittering away my life on the marvelous interwebs. And the best way to accomplish all three, you ask? Well, just throw the word “social” on it. Hey it fixed media, am I right, guys? As with most vices, I really can only justify it by weakly stipulating that I participate in Video Games only as a… <ahem> …”social” function. Admittedly, it’s a little bit like the social smoker/drinker that is constantly begging to go out with friends to justify their addiction. So apparently I’m not a nerd if I can convince my other most assuredly non-nerd friends (MANNF’s?) to log in and destroy zombies, commies, clowns, and/or any other creatures that should generally be eradicated from this earth with me.

So now that the proverbial cat is out of the safe, I’ll get to why I bring all this up in the first place. As a keen observer of the FPS world, I’ve come to notice some striking resemblances between the game archetypes and the assortment of unique individuals located in the corporate workplace. Your typical assault/demo-man/Rambo-type is quite obviously a Sales guy, like myself – blasting away at anything that moves, literally “assaulting” folks on occasion, and leaving the cleanup to others. (Maybe that didn’t come out quite as complimentary as I thought going in.) Next, the Engineer is a Software Developer, building stuff I have zero capacity for understanding. The Sniper/Recon is Marketing, scoping out the territory ahead and neutralizing the most dangerous threats. And finally, the Medic is most definitely Technical Support/IT.
 
The Medic isn’t normally the most useful in a firefight, but when I’m broken – I need to be fixed ASAP. In that instant, Tech support/the Medic becomes the hottest commodity out there, saving lives and raking in the good will from those in desperate and time-sensitive need. Sometimes keeping customer satisfaction numbers up or ensuring everybody’s PC is updated and running smoothly can be a thankless job, one in which the best days are when there are few fires, or quick fixes sidestep major issues – but without these frontline support soldiers, a company’s reputation would plummet and productivity would grind to a screeching halt.
 
Taking the Medic to its logical next step, one of my all-time favorite tools is the defibrillator unit in the Battlefield games or the Medigun in the beloved, cartoony Team Fortress 2. In my mind, this is BOMGAR. Instead of a soldier (coworker/customer) waiting the excruciating 10-20 seconds to respawn (which would be like a half-hour or more of corporate downtime), you can revive him on the spot. I like to imagine the player at home, taking a swig of energy drink or maybe knuckle-deep in a bag of Funyuns, watching the countdown for his respawn – and then suddenly getting a severely truncated wake-up call as he is beckoned back into the war zone. It’s usually so jarring that one only has time for a crumb-covered lunge for their keys and mouse before getting completely n00bed. In fact, getting revived in the thick of heavy fire is generally so disliked, it has started its own anti-battle-cry: “Don’t Revive Me, Bro!” And in a way that’s BOMGAR too: Troubleshoot issues so fast, your clients will groan that they have to get back to work already. Practically a tagline! Hmmm, I’ll have to bring that up with the sniper team…
 
Thanks for reading! Over and out,
-Nate Quarterman
 
P.S. Any other Video Gamers out there – what do you play, and are there similarities to your IRL job?