Why the second? Because the first is probably the games. 🙂
At various times I just liked to play my games, nothing else. Gaming was only partially a social activity but I did enjoy that aspect of the hobby for a time. Co-op Contra with my brother was like living an action movie as a kid. Then it was all about taking on the street toughs with my best friend in Double Dragon and Streets of Rage 2 . Co-op parties became even bigger later on when GTAIII arrived and they were definitely my favorite game related activity for awhile.
In my teens my friends and I spent time hanging out at the arcades. We experimented with dial-up Doom and Duke Nukem 3D deathmatches. We did so while on the telephone and those were some of the best conversations. I never really got with the times and modern multiplayer but I'm sure many of you really enjoy the fun and camaraderie that it provides.
After my early experiences in multiplayer I settled back into JRPGs and there really wasn't anything else about gaming that I was into other than the gaming experience itself. You could say I really enjoyed reading the gaming magazines but I never had a subscription for very long and usually just bought the ones I needed at the store. When the bottom fell out of the JRPG and the internet gaming community was on the rise I started to poke around in there. I joined some forums but usually got brow beat and didn't have much fun.
From there my interest in other genres began to expand as I digested news. Awash in a sea of crazy folks I eventually came across this site and started to comment and contribute and found out that I really enjoy learning and talking about the industry itself. It's so active every day that it's fun to follow. Now I think I spend more time writing about games than I do actually playing them. It's just a part of my day now.
Right around this time I went from playing one game at a time to two, then three, and now I have a wide open backlog. So on top of following the news every day, writing about the industry when I can, and enjoying conversations within our comments section I also find that shopping online for games is rather addicting too. I get an itch to play a certain kind of game and then before I know it I'm checking out prices on ebay. Sometimes I'm pleasantly surprised and I just love the game I took a little chance on (usually $15-$20) and other times I hit a dud. It's almost like a gambling buzz in that sense.
I know there are plenty more side hobbies that come with gaming such as statue collection, custom case making, fan art, gigantic game collections, rare game collections, cosplay, and game related music. So while I try to figure out just which of mine would be my second favorite part of gaming why don't you tell us about yours.