A Waste

One of my hobbies as a youth could be described as glorified time wasting. I played video games. It was one of my favorite activities, to sit in my room and play. Most of the time it was a mindless activity, simply burning hours from the day. There was a constructed sense of progression and fulfillment that always seemed so real. I enjoyed it, but I could enjoy many things that kill me.

Sometimes it was a social event, either talking to others through voice communication or in person while playing. These times don’t seem as much of a waste, relationships were formed and maintained through these games. They are some of my fondest memories as a child, centered around a screen and watching the night turn to morning. The funny thing about these memories is that I don’t remember the game which was so important at the time, I just remember the people, the friends, the nights. The game itself could have been anything, it’s a lost memory.

This is why games are such a waste. We lose portions of our life to an indeterminate thing, something I can draw very little value from, something I can’t draw any kind of substance from. It is much like television in this way, as most could sit around all day and watch tv and not remember anything they watched. I disconnect myself while in the game, I lose myself to it. It becomes drug like in this way, I move out of my own skin into something else. Much like the phenomena of driving, I, in a sense, become one with the game.

I’m not preaching the evil of video games or any such nonsense as that. I’m preaching against a kind of orientation towards them that many have. interaction without any real thinking, feasting without discretion. It becomes something like gluttony, devouring everything without discretion, devouring the game for the rewards it gives in order alleviate the hunger. Games construct system of easy pleasure and reward. For some reason, these rewards seem like reasonable and acceptable excuses for dumping hours upon hours into. Something as silly as an achievement, amounting to something like a tiny button, will be a matter of hours, and yet so many will find it worth getting. This achievement as soon as it is earned is forgotten about, and hours are lost to absolute nothingness. Then, it’s on to the next one, with the same amount of desperation toward it’s achievement.

The cycle is one of addiction. These games allow us to disconnect ourselves from ourselves and feel like we’re gaining something important. Like gold stars in kindergarten, we all try to get that special feeling that comes from doing something good, makes us special. These are much easier to come by in games than in real life gold stars, I guess most would choose to stay in the virtual world. If it’s a matter of getting gold stars, I guess it doesn’t matter what source they come from.

I have been drifting more and more away from games for this reason. Though I do enjoy games in the right setting, I don’t find the normal single player experiences to be enjoyable as much anymore. I do appreciate the ones that change things, that actually do leave an impression on me. These I feel are worth the investment of time. These are extremely few and far between however, and most just leave an overwhelming sense of loss. I can understand the drive, the addiction, but I lament it. There is too much worth doing, too much worth working on, to be stuck in a fantasy, staring at the screen. I might as well be staring at a wall for hours, burning the hours until something happens.

~ by Barky on June 8, 2010.

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