I just saw some rather odd news reports back to back. The first talked about people waiting in lines for days and paying thousands of dollars to get their hands on a Playstation3 before the weekend. The second talked about a homeless shelter trying to piece together meals to feed the needy next week for Thanksgiving. While I, like many other gamers, have become a little caught up in the PS3 hysteria and have been watching the eBay auctions with curiosity, these two reports made me feel, well, pretty bad about the gaming community as a whole to be perfectly honest.
Yes, this is a blog for racing games, and yes, I hate when people get preachy too, but I hope you’ll forgive me for a minute when I ask that gamers take a step back for a moment and put things in perspective. Thanksgiving is coming, a time when we Americans are supposed to be happy about what we have, and meanwhile gamers and non-gamers are scurrying and clawing, fighting with each other for the right to pay $600 (if they’re lucky) for a new console. For the non-American readers out there, Thanksgiving is when we in the US fill ourselves with turkey and other good stuff, take a minute to think about how lucky we are, then watch football with full stomachs and make plans on where to go shopping the next day. Not everybody gets to have a good meal in a warm house on Thanksgiving, which might just give you a clue as to where I’m going with all this.
If you’re SOL and can’t get yourself a PS3 tomorrow, you may feel a little bummed out. I guarantee you if you call your local homeless shelter and make a donation of just ten measly bucks you’ll feel a whole helluva lot better. Meanwhile, if you just earned yourself three grand off of some schmuck who bought your pre-ordered PS3, good for you. How about donating 1% of that to give five or six people a meal? And hell, even if you do buy a PS3 for MSRP tomorrow and actually take it home to play it, $10 out of your pocket won’t hurt a bit compared to the $800 or so you probably dropped getting the console and some games.
I’m not saying don’t buy a PS3. Hell, I’m a little peeved my pre-order got delayed myself. What I am saying is, in this flurry of “gotta have it now at any price!” don’t let yourself lose perspective; a small portion of the money you’re going to spend or receive could make someone else’s whole week. Don’t know how or where to give? Call your local news station, they’ll hook you up, or check with the United Way. Or, head over to Child’s Play and make some kid’s Christmas. Write a check, leave some cash somewhere local, or maybe even volunteer a few hours of your time. Just do something. While it won’t make your next credit card bill hurt any less, it might just help you to sleep a little easier tomorrow night.
p.p.s. Charles over at Gaming Nexus has posted up this editorial called “A Moment of Clarity” that has a similar note: is it really worth it?