Saturday, July 24, 2010

Gaming My Time Away

I'm a computer gamer and have been since the early '80s.  It's what I do...or some of what I do.  My good friend Brad just recently posted on Facebook that he's dropping all his FB app games because they're taking too much of his time.  I applaud Brad's action because it's what he needed to do.  It can happen. I know how easy it is to lose focus on what is NEEDED and go mouse around a virtual city or farm for hours.

However, sometimes, that is exactly what a mind needs--an exercise program for mental dexterity and acuity that also takes the focus, temporarily, off all our daily duties, responsibilities and issues.  Some people exercise, some people read, some study the scriptures, others watch TV--I play games. I also exercise and read, but my preference is to sit and play.  Being mildly OCD on most everything I get involved in, I've had to learn the hard way that work and responsibility must come first--games and play second.  It's really no different than fishing or ping pong.

My son, raised as a gamer, recently purchased a t-shirt with a picture of a game console controller and lettering that says, "Contrary to popular belief, this doesn't make me a killer."  That's right on target.  The news media and, lord help them, religious organizations, have come down hard on gaming as a stepping stone to real violence.  This idea was especially hit hard after the Columbine shootings. That was a tragedy, no one argues that.  But news media and police and practically everyone else was up in arms about the games these kids were playing; mainly  DOOM. Why would that matter any more than what television shows they watched?  What movies they'd gone and seen?  What books they'd read?  For that matter, what clothes they chose to wear.  DOOM is one of the most popular PC games EVER (meaning in the past 30 years) and has likely been played by more than a billion (that's a one with NINE zeros behind it) people on this planet.  (PC-MAG)  Even the gaming industry itself is missing the boat on their own demographic, still assuming that the typical gamer is a stay-at-home geek boy with no prospects of ever seeing a live girl naked and they design their (mostly female) characters with those guys in mind.  If they would bother to look...  OOPS -- I digress -- that is a rant for another time. has actually done a pretty good job with this one.  GAMERS MANIFESTO

Just doing a quick add on my Steam account, I have put in more than 400 hours on games just this year.  Does that seem excessive?  That's 10 weeks of actual work.  Now, in my defense, I have worked 50 hours each week, driving at least an hour, making it 11 hours a day, 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. five days a week.  I have completed 16 hours of college in five courses.  I have completed the Fly Fishing book and made significant progress on the Clouds of Heaven book and made a good start on my third book.  I still teach Jujitsu every Monday and some Thursdays.  I've maintained upkeep on my aunt's place of which I am custodian.  I keep the yard mowed.

My fishing license is expired.

My ping pong table is put away.

I play computer games.

I don't sleep much.

Friday, July 09, 2010

How the Internet Makes Life Better

There are definite indicators that having the internet has taken a lot of the boredom out of being on the planet with nothing else to do.

For instance, this short blurb below from News of the Weird:

In May, Britain's Norfolk District Council banned the traditional barroom game of "dwile flonking" just as the inaugural "world championships" were to take place at the Dog Inn pub in Ludham, Great Yarmouth. The game, which some believe has been played since "medieval times," calls on players to fling a beer-soaked rag from the end of a small stick toward the face of an opponent, and in the event the tosser misses the target two straight times, he must quickly down a half-pint of ale. The council called the game a "health and safety" problem. [Daily Telegraph, 5-29-10] 

Imagine, if you will, being so bored and looking for something to do that you become involved in inventing, or even just participating in. "dwile flonking" as a way to relieve the monotony.

I can see the need for drinking games.  Seriously, it's more fun with other people.  Where's the fun in quaffing oneself into a blackout if there aren't other people around to enjoy it? It's just more fun with friends.  

Can you imagine how many of us would be consumed by games such as "dwile flonking" or "Bocce" if we didn't have the internet to relieve to interminable pointlessness of our miserable lives?