This Is Supposed To Be Fun

I’ve been a RetroAchievements member for two years now. I spent the first year on RA simply playing and mastering sets, without really doing much talking to others unless I needed to. This was primarily because I felt that before I really started talking to other gamers, especially developers and high-ranking players, I needed to amass a good enough collection of games to showcase my own skill. A kind of RA resume’, if you will.

To make a long story short, last February I joined the RA Discord to request a manual unlock, since I would have to share an hour-long video as proof. Since that time, I have fallen in love not just with the simple act of unlocking achievements to the games I grew up playing, but with the entire community as well.

I’m not going to lie here: I enjoy telling my story. But that’s not what this is about. This is about me taking a moment to remind everyone of something so obvious that it’s easy to forget about. This is supposed to be fun. Games are fun. Talking to people about games is fun. Doing art, looking at achievement logic, digging through tickets and databases, pretending to understand what other people are talking about so you don’t feel like an idiot (you’re not one, by the way, or you wouldn’t be here), all of that is fun.

But I feel like it has become easy for people to get lost in all this. Metaphorically beating your head against a wall because the memory of the game you’re looking at jumps around for no reason. Arguing with someone over a code review or lack of promotion. Abandoning discords, getting warned for crossing the line, and even getting temporarily (or permanently) banned. These things all happen. And to one degree or another, we’re all probably guilty of them. I’ll be the first one to admit that I’m guilty as charged. Combine all that with unsure job and economic markets (I’ve held 3 different jobs this year alone), COVID hanging around and apparently mutating whenever it feels like it, hundreds of other illnesses spreading like wildfire, personal drama, etc. and you’ve got a powder-keg waiting to explode.

But ya’ll, this is supposed to be fun. We can’t let things, like drama over who controls what, who said this and who said that, who’s getting the easy breaks and who’s getting the short end of the stick, get to us. That’s all manufactured side-effects of a large-scale effort. Its flawed human beings being just that, flawed. Sure, there may be those who intentionally wish to inflict ill-will and chaos among their peers, and they are dealt with accordingly. There may be those who might let things get a little further out of hand than they originally intended, and those issues get addressed too.

You must remember when you get too frustrated at anything to step away from the problem for a while. Whether you stick to the site forums or hang out with folks like me on the discord, the frustration of human existence gets the better of us all. Remember to take a step back. Do something else for a while. If you’re mad at a game, try another one. If the set you’re working on is more than you can handle, drop it and pick another one. It’s not a big deal. None of these problems are big deals.

This is supposed to be fun, ya’ll. 11 months ago, I was driving home from work listening to Draco, Bendyhuman, and the podcast gang on YouTube. I was looking at developer comments in forums and reading up on all the comings and goings of daily RA site-life, wishing one day I could find a way to play a part in all of that. And as laughable as it may sound, I even looked up to some of them, and wished one day I could talk about and play games with them like an equal. Now look at me: Junior Developer with 5 sets of my own, writing-team member, RANews team member, patron, nitro booster, and daily Discord member with tons of people around the world that I consider actual friends, whether others want to consider it that way or not. I’m ranked in the top 250 players on the site, and for a humble boy raised in a trailer park in Alabama, that’s pretty freaking cool! I talk with the very guys I looked up to every day and help with things that would have blown my mind back in January.

Retroachievements is fantastic. What we’re doing here, whether you’re just playing games solo, communicating with others about the games, devving, art-helping, whatever it is that the folks at GitHub do every day, whatever, is truly a beautiful thing. And trust me, the outside world isn’t getting any easier to live in, nor are we getting any better at dealing with it. But every day, we wake up, and we start again. We keep fighting. And that’s what we do here at Retroachievements. We keep chipping away at the endless supply of games, points, tickets, and consoles. We keep gathering together to laugh and learn, to share a common interest: to simply have fun.

The next time something gets to you, just remember: This is supposed to be fun. If it’s not, then it may be time to step away for a bit. Trust me, we’ll all be here ready to take you back in like an old friend. Because this stuff is fun. And we can’t let anything mess with that.

Enjoy the issue!