Christmas is around the corner which means that the yearly ritual of packing up our lives and travelling thousands of miles to be with our close family…and about a dozen other people you only ever see this time of year is upon us.
For gamers, this can be a trying time; we tend to surround ourselves for most of the year with the culture and our friends who mostly have all the same interests as us, so having to up sticks and spend time with people who may not share all our particular quirks can be a shock to the system.
Even if we are, ultimately, related to them.
So, as part of our commitment to make you a better geek (one post at a time) here’s five tips for surviving the holiday season.
5) Avoid ‘That’ Relative:
We all have one relation that the whole family would rather not talk about. Maybe it’s a drunk uncle or a particularly shrill cousin, whatever their particular fault is it’s usually enough to get them banned from most family events but every year someone comes up with the bright idea to mend fences at Christmas, forcibly reminding everyone else why they don’t spend time with that person.
Unfortunately people with this type of personality really excel at picking up on anything they consider ‘different’ and then running it into the ground. Chances are, it might just be you!
“Why don’t you stop messing around with computers and go do some mans work?”
“You know those little video game women aren’t real”
“No one’s gonna marry a girl who plays with boys games”
Engaging these people in conversation is like jumping on a handgrenade, the people around you might appreciate the sacrifice; but it’s still your backside getting shredded.
Better to laugh off their initial charge, pass them a drink and then run like hell.
4) Volunteer to watch the Kids:
Chances are good at Christmastime that there will be alot of kids around and that means alot of harried parents. Volunteering to watch the little ones will win you instant points with most of your relatives, not to mention looking amazing to any significant other you may have with you, and none of them will usually see it as anything other then a selfless act.
But you know better then that.
Because most of the things Geek culture has created are, ultimately, made for kids.
Lego, Nerf Guns, action figures and games like Skylanders or Disney Infinity are all made for kids and, chances are, your younger relatives will have just been given a full complement of each and every one.
By the time dinner is served your three hour running Nerf battle will look less like the actions of a immature adult child and more like a responsible role model looking out for the next generation.
3) Appreciate your Presents:
We’ve all been there; we’ve asked for the latest release for weeks before the day and, after a few disappointing socks and the traditional ghastly sweater, an elderly relative hands us a brightly wrapped parcel that’s the exact right dimensions. A quick squeeze confirms the plastic case underneath and we can hardly wait to unwrap it! The paper is torn off and there,underneath is…
Some third party title you’ve never heard of that looks like someone gave Nathan Drake a head injury.
Sometimes it can be hard to hide your disappointment but whatever you do, try! Smile, nod your head and thank them warmly. Not just because it’s polite but because that game, whatever it is, probably represents hours of effort on their part.
Go into any game store this time of year and you’ll see dozens of people with confused looks on their faces staring numbly at rack after rack of games with almost nothing to distinguish them from one another.
It’s easy for us, constantly surrounded by gaming and its attendant culture, to forget just how specialist this hobby is and how hostile it can seem to the outside world.
As for using Google to narrow down the choices? Well, search for any game and you’ll find dozens of positive reviews and endless forums where gamers scream at each other that the title is either ‘The best thing ever!’ or ‘The end of all gaming!.
You try to make a good choice in that situation.
2) Bring some Casual Games
‘Casual Games’ is a phrase that makes many gamers shudder, yet they exist for a reason. These games, like Rock Band, Band Hero, Singstar or Wii Sports, are nice and accessible for people who don’t spend their whole lives with a gamepad in hand.
Christmas has always been a time for family games – charades and Pictionary make the rounds in most houses – so it’s also a perfect opportunity to show your family why you spend so much time with video games.
Gather up your relatives, fire up Mario Party and see if they don’t find themselves drawn into it. If you can start building some positive memories around gaming, it will lead to a lot fewer awkward conversations in future.
It might just shut up ‘That’ relative too.
1) Unplug and Enjoy the Holiday
It might seem corny and maybe a little obvious, but sometimes the best thing to do at Christmas is just forget about gaming altogether.
No matter what we do with our lives from January to November, Christmas can act as a good chance to step away from everything and take stock. It’s an opportunity to link back up with family, something few of us can say we do enough of for the rest of the year.
Ultimately, a week without your console or PC can be a pain, but if we don’t take a break it’s easy to become completely wrapped up in our own lives and passions and ultimately that’s just not a healthy way to live.
Besides, if 2015’s release schedule is like 2014’s you’re going to want to stretch out your enjoyment of the holiday season titles for as long as possible!
“Making you a better geek, one post at a time!”