My 2014 in gaming: Will work for Hearthstone

By GamingNexus On 4 Jan, 2015 At 11:00 PM | Categorized As Gaming Industry News | With 0 Comment

I was behind the curve. The headlines all sang out triumphantly: Economy recovering! So many people with jobs! Like, so many! How could you possibly not have a job yet? 

Yet there I was, at home with my stay-at-home wife and four-year-old child, traipsing my way across job aggregators, flipping through email notifications for job leads, and summarily ignoring word-of-mouth career opportunities from my well-meaning friends that offered anything and everything that seemed to misalign with my existing career skills. So, I tweaked my resume here, readjusted my cover letter there, wondering why I wasn’t getting any calls back.

Sure, there were systems in place to keep me from drowning. I had a couple months of unemployment checks left. Plus we had a hundred dollars a week appearing on my Oregon Trail card (that’s food stamps for Oregonians). And I’d be lying if I didn’t say that my parents and inlaws didn’t kick down a hundred dollar bill here and there so we could buy a take-and-bake pizza once in a while rather than dig through the bulk bins at Costco.

So, let me be clear: It’s not like my kid had to go all winter without a coat, and we weren’t about to be homeless–despite the fact that my mortgage was eating 90 percent of my unemployment check.

Regardless, I was depressed. I haven’t studied what a clinical definition of depressed is, but I was pretty darn unhappy with my circumstances. Then along came Hearthstone.

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is an online collectible card game on PC, Apple, and Android devices. It’s made by the people that built World of Warcraft. There are ways to use real-world money to buy in-game items, but I never spent a dime on Hearthstone and I still got a great game out of it. I got a great coping mechanism, anyway.

Hungry for something new and different, I jumped in with both feet into the Hearthstone beta. I appreciated the pedigree of the developer, Blizzard, but, in general, I had nothing to do with collectible card games, and collectible card games had nothing to do with me. But I was quite obviously broke, and Hearthstone was free to play. So, in early January, with the warmer winds of spring still many weeks away, I logged in.

I threw down matches while I was cooking dinner, while I was going to the bathroom, and while I was supposed to be getting my daughter ready for bed. I stomped on some of my online competition–and got stomped on–when I should’ve been puffing up my resume, or spellchecking (one last time!) my limp and lifeless cover letter, or sifting through for better job matches. When I should’ve been taking my kid to the park, or snuggling with my wife watching Netflix, I was instead tucked away in a corner of the bedroom, knees sore and feet falling asleep, while I “sheeped” another online player into a losing hand.

Hearthstone is excellent. Despite the fact that it happens to be one of the best games of the year, it also appeared at a time when I was at an emotional low. I threw a cold shoulder between me and my wife, and I almost became a nonexistent parent to my child. Not because of Hearthstone. It was because I was a jerk that couldn’t get his priorities straight during a few (honestly not-so-bad) months of unemployment.

So, this isn’t a happy story, necessarily. It wasn’t a happy time in my life, those few months. But Hearthstone, in its own abusive, co-dependent way, got me through that stint of unemployment. It also happens to be one of the best games of the year, but that is somewhat overshadowed, in my case, because I turned into a nearly deadbeat husband and father. Nevertheless, because of its prominence in my life for several misused months during the beta, Hearthstone is undoubtedly part of what defined my 2014 in gaming.



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