Most of us are under the age of 30. Most of us have an education. Some of us still live with our parents. How the hell can we afford video games? The minimum wage where I live is $10.25 an hour. To an American, that probably seems like a lot, given that some States pay an "Are you sure we're not slaves?" wage of $5.50/hr. I have the very bare necessities of life - I have an apartment, I buy fairly simplistic groceries, and I purchase a game for myself every once in a while. I'm shopping for a car, too - something that'll cost at least $2000, on top of the $300/month insurance. The catch? I'm making - or rather, was making - almost twice minimum wage.
The cost of living, especially for young people (who have no bankable assets of their own), is excruciatingly high, and nobody seems to be talking about it. I see a lot of, "Oh, those lazy, self-entitled poor/young people want things without working for them." No, Baby Boomers, we want what you had when YOU were our age. You were able to, out of high school, without accruing any debt, walk into excellent jobs and, buy the time you were 25, buy new homes and new cars. All WE ask for is financial independence and basic food and shelter; something minimum wage will never provide.
Which brings me back to video games. In my post about video games and anxiety, I wrote about how video games are something of a necessary escape for me and people in my peer group. I'm writing this post because I was laid off from my job last week, a mere 2 months after starting. Their product was not profitable, so they decided to cut their losses and shut down - completely. I, and 200 others (most of whom made less than I did), was put out of a job.
And that got me thinking - what about all the people that are out there, working, right now? We'll never hear from them - there are university grads working one of their two full-time, minimum wage jobs just to afford the BASIC needs of life. They were gamers too, surely... But after being told they were worthless, self-entitled layabouts by their parents' generation, they gave up gaming completely. They may have sold part of their collection to pay the bills one month, when their employer decided not to run production one week. This is an ode to those people.
TAY, we, as primarily young people, are absolutely fucking screwed. The high-paying jobs, in most cases, just aren't there. The cost of living, thanks to the crippling debt and "I MUST HAVE IT, EVEN THOUGH I CAN'T AFFORD IT" attitude of our immediate ancestors, is so exceptionally high that most of us will never have the ability to finance the sprawling game collections we see online. Sure, there are exceptions - people here that were born rich and will never feel financial strain, and people who lucked into great wealth and tell themselves they simply worked harder than everyone else (which is a damned lie)... But for most of us, we're completely eukered.
I don't want to end on a depressing note though, TAY - I want you all to set goals, even if they seem silly. Do you want to have a MAME cabinet in the living room of your suburban home? Daydream about it, every day. Do you want to surround yourselves with games and memorabilia that remind yourselves of a more nostalgic time? Focus on that, and never let go. We may be completely fucking screwed for the next decade or two, and the financial strain on people coming out of school will only continue to increase... But dammit, we're gamers. We never. Fucking. Give. Up. If we're stuck on a hard boss, we soldier on until we get that lucky final blow. If we don't know where to go in an RPG, we exhaust every resource given to us to find the proper path. WE will not die without a fight, and every single person who calls you lazy, self-entitled, spoiled or privileged has NO IDEA what obstacles we are capable of overcoming. TAY, if you are unhappy about the state of you life, the economy, and your financial burden, keep fighting alongside me!
We will never die! We will never surrender! We will never accept anything less than success! And to those that tell us, "You can't", we will overcome you like any Bowser, Emerald Weapon or or Metal Gear that has stood before us and fallen!