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> Musings on Retirement or Semi-Retirement, Thoughts of not so active MT player
Posted: Apr 12 2015, 12:23 AM
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Elder Magic Practitioner
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Posts: 8,945
Member No.: 167
Joined: May 9th 2007
Location: Philippines

It's a lazy afternoon... I figured I might as well share the musings that I had written back in 2010 regarding retirement (semi or otherwise) from active gaming.

Retiring from the Virtual Highway
Written July 29, 2010


It’s been roughly two weeks since the second Maximum Tune tournament. Two weeks since I retired from the game itself. Now dear reader, you might be wondering why it took me quite some time to finally move on from a game that had literally cost me thousands of pesos tuning up a virtual car, winning virtual races here and there when I could have saved up all that cash and probably bought myself quite a number of more important valuables instead.

For starters, I started playing the game as a substitute. I am a fighter pilot by nature – albeit a virtual fighter pilot, since my eyesight has prevented me from fulfilling that dream (Consider it a blessing in disguise when you take a look at the current state of the Philippine Air Force, dear reader.). As such, I am inclined to play games that allow me to rule the skies, virtual as it may be. At the time I started playing Maximum Tune, there was a shortage of flight simulation-like games in the arcades. The same goes for the tried and trusted desktop. There was a shortage of games that cater to us virtual fighter pilots – and there’s still a shortage of those kinds of games to this day save for the wonderful Ace Combat series which is unfortunately available on a console that I don’t own. So, I took to the next best thing: racing games. Initial-D was there but I didn’t buy the idea of running and drifting my car in a mountain course, cool as it may look like. I eventually discovered Maximum Tune which represents the opposite of mountain racing: highway racing. And there started my four year stay with the game.

A little while after I started playing Maximum Tune, my first girlfriend and I fell apart. What started as a light hobby, something to while away my time had turned into something else. Needless to say, the game became my crutch. For lack of any feasible and viable activity, the game became my outlet. An outlet for my rage, my sorrow and a myriad of other emotions that I felt during that time. I started playing the game with a car called Lancer Evolution 8 (Evo8 for car aficionados). After the break-up, I dumped the Evo and went for a car that looked like a Viper, the RX-7 FD3S, and named it after my favorite Autobot (yes, I am a transformers fan, happy?). The change of cars symbolized my decision to change. You can say that the game bore witness to the various changes that I went through during the last four years. Shortly after that, the first Maximum Tune tourney came to the fore. I was a total newbie at that time and you can imagine what happened, dear reader.

After the tourney (and a change of playing location due to me starting to work at Makati at that time), I began to develop, improve and mature as a player. Playing with who I consider as some of the best players in the country, I changed from a mere cannon fodder to a credible “threat” during races. During that time, my car also went through a number of changes as well. In time, I began to earn a “reputation” of sorts for being one of the few fellows who dared to take a light car, with a very light setup into a firefight with the game’s heavyweights. In time, I also had another girlfriend who turned out to be a “replacement”. It was through her that I learned that I was not ready to go into another relationship. That experience was also reflected on my car as well. In a way, the car represented me; my other self who couldn’t find a way to surface in the real world. While many people look down on arcade gaming as being anti-social because the players live in a “virtual world”, it was ironically through the arcade that I learned once again how to interact with people. How to make new friends again and how to open my doors again as well.

Before I knew it, I had already recovered (pretty much) from the hell that I went through. Incidentally, while I was getting good at the game, my career also began to take a turn for the better. Somehow, my relationship with my family began to improve. While I was still playing the game as an outlet, it also became something that I really enjoyed doing. As time went by, many of the people I started playing the game with had moved on to other things. I soon began to notice that I was racing with people who are younger than me. I began to wonder what was it that compelled me to keep on racing when majority of the people I started with had already stopped. Just like some real-life racers (legal and otherwise) who still keep on racing the streets and racetracks because they are searching for something, I too was racing because I have questions that needed to be answered.

And then came the second tournament. I realized that that would be where I can find my answers. I joined. I gave it my best. I survived the first round eliminations and got defeated in a one-on-one match with one of those legendary players for a shot into the finals. In spite of my defeat, I felt at peace. My question had been answered. I kept on racing because the game became a place where I can confidently prove myself time and time again. I have nothing left to prove in the game. Respect? In a way, I had already achieved it due to the way some players treat me. Personal fulfillment? I had already achieved it by going up against the best and giving them a run for their mony. I realized that whatever drove me to prove myself in the game, to give it my all in every race, can be applied to any endeavor that I undertake. The game had helped me realize that I have the capability to keep on going, to stand up whenever I’m knocked down. It had given me the confidence that I am capable of making things happen if I wish it to be. I had finally outgrown my need for the game as an emotional and psychological crutch. I can finally retire and move on to other things that are more important for a fellow of my age.

I will not deny that I will still play that game from time to time, as rare as that might be. It’s already in my blood. It’s a part of me already and I do have friends there who are definitely true and give wonderful insights on other things in life. But I can no longer go back to being active there. While there are players who are of the same age as mine or even older who are still actively playing the game, sad to say for my fellow racers, I cannot be like them since I have a different path, a different highway to take. The next time that I’ll be playing will be nothing more than to relive the good old times.

It’s time for me to take the next turn that branches away from the virtual highway that had helped me during my darkest hours and move on to another proving ground.


This post has been edited by RB33 on Apr 12 2015, 12:25 AM
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