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A Belated Modern Embrace 🕹

A Belated Modern Embrace 🕹
By Ernie Smith • Issue #191 • View online
For decades, I wasn’t really much of a modern gamer at all. But now, I’m dipping my toes into a new area. Stress will do that to you.
Apologies for this running a bit late today—I hit an unexpected productivity boom and wanted to lean into it.
Sponsored: Today’s issue is brought to you by Morning Brew. Like addictive early-morning reads? Morning Brew is a good place to look—after you’re done reading MidRange, of course.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been a little stressed lately. Because of all the balls I’m constantly juggling in the air—between a full-time job and a modest newsletter empire—I often find myself just kind of in need of stress release at the end of a long week.
And that led me to an area I didn’t expect to see myself recently: Playing modern video games.
As I’ve noted multiple times in the past, I found myself generally turned off by the initial move to 3D gaming back in the late ’90s, an era that many people look fondly on. I didn’t. I don’t know what it was, but I liked the pixelated blocks a lot more. And I think Mario 64 was a huge turnoff for me on modern gaming in general. It took a series I loved and pushed it into an area I didn’t think it needed to go.
Ernie Smith
My spicy Mario 64 take is being read by some as challenging a sacred text. It is. Mario should have stayed a two dimensional game
Given that, with the combination of me getting older and becoming more internet-obsessed, it game me an offramp on console gaming.
Now, I will admit I’ve had games I’ve turned to over the years that led be to generally break this no-modern-games rule. Shenmue, for the Dreamcast, was basically nerd heaven for me. Quake, which came out before Mario 64, remains a favorite. And there was a period in my 20s where, at a time I lived in South Carolina with nobody close to me living nearby besides my coworkers, I was obsessed with the retro-tinged Cave Story—to the point where, when I brought it up as an example of a great more-modern game, someone had to point out to me that it was more than 15 years old.
I like my video games like I like my alternative rock: Back in the ’80s and ’90s, where it belongs.
Ernie Smith
Bought an Xbox controller, which appears to be a sign my anti-modern-gaming stance is finally starting to thaw. I got the Tedium Red color.
Well, until I didn’t. Recently, I decided to start playing more modern games again. I started with an install of the 2016 edition of Doom on Steam, and I’ve basically found myself obsessed. I’ve been slowly trying to get a grasp on more modern gaming—I had a brief flirtation with Stadia about a year ago, when I died about a thousand times in Celeste, but now I’ve moved to Steam, which I use for native games on both Linux and Windows, and Xbox Cloud Gaming, which comes in handy for times I want to play a game on an iPad.
I bought an Xbox controller recently. What the hell happened to me? Is a Steam Deck next?
I don’t tell you about my gaming habits to simply point out that I play video games. I tell you this because I think there’s a truism that a lot of people need to understand in this world of increased stress: We are going to be looking for new solutions to the constant problem of stress. Everything is on the table, and it may put you in a position where you disregard long-held beliefs as you look for some way, any way, to relax a little bit.
I don’t want to oversell this point, but in a way, I kind of do. Don’t be afraid of changing your mindset on things. It might just give you a new way to relax.
Related Reads:
FuncoLand History: The Company Behind Used Video Games
What Psychologists Thought About Video Games In 1983
Time limit given ⏲: 30 minutes
Time left on clock ⏲: 3 minutes, 46 seconds
If you like this, be sure to check out more of my writing at Tedium: The Dull Side of the Internet.
Do you own a newsletter? Want to try your hand at writing an entire article in 30 minutes or less? If so, let’s do a swap—reply to this email to see about setting something up.
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Ernie Smith

Hot takes in 30 minutes or less. A newsletter with an unforgiving deadline, written by Ernie Smith—who’s best known for another newsletter, Tedium.

Three times a week (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday). Hope I hit the 30-minute deadline. ⏲

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