I will admit to a measure of envy when it comes to professional gamers. To make a living doing nothing but playing video games, jetting from event to event, knowing my exploits are being televised or streamed for the entertainment of others as I accumulate wins and prize money: these are all appealing thoughts, to me. However, there are several factors outside of time for practice that would take away from things like writing that keep me from pursuing this particular goal.
First of all, professional gamers have to maintain a particularly intense mind set to really achieve success. This intensity, due to the nature of the games, has to come in short, brilliant bursts, as a single session of a video game can completely change things. I’d liken it to pro gamers being like sprinters, while other professionals like writers are more marathon runners. I don’t think there’s anything necessarily wrong with this mindset, and I can’t fault someone for having passion in pursuit of a dream, but it ties into something I’ll get to in a moment, something that holds me back from making the attempt to go pro.
Secondly, you have to stop looking at the game as just a game. You have to examine it from all fronts, determine a strategy for yourself that is tough to beat, and practice it over and over again so that when the time is right, you can execute what you do best as expediently as possible. I like to theorycraft, strategize, and exercise a tactical mindset from time to time, sure – Friday Night Magic and what surrounds it are good examples – but as much as that line of thought may be up my alley, it does mean that the game will cease being something I can just pick up and play, and would instead become part of a daily routine much like commuting to work or carving out time to write.
The third, final, and most important reason I will not ever be a pro gamer is that I don’t want the game to stop being fun.
Competitiveness in the course of a match is great. Theorycrafting to try something new and different engages my mind. Doing both every single day as a means towards making money seems, to me, like it would suck all the fun out of playing the game. Gaming has always been a stress reliever for me, and it’s only become a source of stress when I’ve lost sight of the fact that a game should be fun. It’s designed to be fun. And if I’m not having fun with a game, I should be able to take a break from it, play a different game, relax. I couldn’t do that as a professional gamer.
I could be exaggerating things, and maybe it’s not as bad as it seems from the outside. Some of my favorite people on the Internet make their living commentating and streaming games and gameplay, which seems much more attainable and maintains games as fun for the most part. But I still can’t see myself “going pro” any time soon. As much as one might like the idea of playing games all day long, a job is a job, and a job isn’t always fun.
Gaming isn’t fun when you lose, either, but I’d rather not have my paycheck get tied into whether or not I’m on tilt in League of Legends.
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