Bits & Bytes: Gifts

The spoils of Christmas are upon us, but that doesn’t always mean material goods!

By Robert Marrujo. Posted 12/26/2021 23:46 Comment on this     ShareThis

Bits & Bytes is a weekly column where Editor-in-Chief Robert shares his thoughts about video games and the industry on a lazy Sunday. Light reading for a day of rest, Bits & Bytes is short, to the point, and something to read with a nice drink.

There is a sizable stack of gifts behind my back as I type this. A mix of food, clothing, gift cards, and, of course, video games. I have a pretty large family and we all gather to celebrate and exchange gifts each year. As ever, I’m humbled by how much my family and friends care for me that I have so much to go through. I’m distracted, though. Right now, I’m thinking more about people than things.

I’m thinking about the stuff at Christmas that goes beyond gits. GameStop held a PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X event this past Thursday. The store near my house had a very large line outside, despite the rain pouring down from overhead. Looking at the crowd, it struck me how mixed it was. Black, White, Hispanic, Asian—it was a true kaleidoscope of humanity waiting to get their hands on these consoles.

Watching everyone interact both inside and outside of the store, I thought about how some people are so intent on showing off Americans at their worst when more often than not, they’re trying and doing their best. In my life, in my experience as a Mexican-American, I’ve seen a lot of the bad in humanity, but I’ve also seen much more of the good. That line, filled with so many different races and creeds, was a happy one. Strangers laughing and joking with one another, soaked by the rain, not caring about the skin color or gender or creed of the other person smiling back at them.

We talked about this as a family during Christmas dinner. How when it comes to issues of hate and discord among Americans, the reality for those of us in the middleclass just trying to go about our lives can feel so vastly different than what the media contends it is. That day in line at GameStop, I saw unity among people. Sure, they were all there for a game console, so maybe it isn’t the perfect snapshot of societal relations in this country—unless it was.

I mean, think about it: games, movies, books, TV shows—these are all of the things that we connect on and share as people. Throw a rock into a crowd of Star Wars fans and you’re just as likely to hit my big brown head as you are to hit a white one. In games, I think we see quite a bit of the melting pot of America. A Call of Duty lobby is going to have every walk of life waiting to get in a round of team deathmatch as much as the line at the local DMV is.

Forgive me because as I type this, I realize I don’t entirely know what point I’m trying to make. Video games always feel like a unifier to me, something that any and everyone can connect with. I guess the line that day made me feel hopeful. And reminded me that as bad as some people want to make things out to be, the truth is never quite so. Have fun with your gifts, take a break as the year winds to a close, but more important than everything else, take the time to appreciate your fellow neighbors and gamers.  See you all in 2022.

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