zero gaming policy

games

A few years ago, i would have spent an hour or two per day playing Call of Duty, usually late at night. For the last year or two, it’s very rare you’ll find me playing games. The problem with a good game is that i have to finish it and in a mutiplayer / online environment, no game is EVER finished…

Unproductive, dangerous addictions

If i was a games developer or a games tester or perhaps i could justify allowing myself to becoming addicted to games. But if i’m not being productive and am just killing time whilst at the same time saying to myself “just one more minute” then it’s time to knock games on the head because they’re eating in to time they hadn’t been allocated.

Don’t get me wrong, i love blowing some unsuspecting evil businessman’s head off from miles away with a sniper riffle taking in to account wind speed and direction. I love throwing grenades in to a pack of team mates and watching them run for their lives… but the problem is i love it so much that i can’t stop. So i just ban myself from games completely.

Not for everyone

Everyone is different, games today are like TV 20 years ago… it’s a home comfort / leisure activity. Couch potatoes don’t exist any more. If there are still some out there, they haven’t moved on… this is the age of the swivel chair potato. I’m one of them but i’m an internet swivel chair potato. Not a gaming one.

If you can switch on a game and switch off after a set amount of time regardless of where you are in the game or whether you’re winning / losing, then good for you because i can’t do that. I also found that my brain was so wired up every night after all this gaming action, that i was still playing the game in my head and running over the best bits or things i could have done better.

Game Time
Creative Commons License photo credit: teresia

These days i still go to bed thinking but it’s usually with an authors voice. I’m thinking about blogging or college work or responding to emails etc… much more boring stuff but it’s probably better for me because i’m thinking about me as opposed to the digital, animated, Rambo version of me running around slashes throats and jumping fearlessly off buildings. Whilst that’s entertaining, i can’t put my kill count or death streak on a CV (although it depends on the job, of course).

The need to Create

In order to ‘fill in’ my ‘spare time’ (which no longer exists these days), i try to create things or do things online. Respond to emails i’d been putting off, write a blog post, update some of my sites, upload pictures to flickr… so i’m basically trying to create stuff. If i were to spend that free time gaming, i’d be creating nothing but entertainment for myself and possible a few others.

So that’s why i have a zero gaming policy. In short, because i do actually love games and fear giving myself a licence to play them whenever i feel like it. If i were to start playing games now, there’d be conditions attached. I’d have to record them and upload the best bits to youtube or i’d have to carry out research/experiments in something like team dynamics by killing my own teammates ‘accidentally’ and seeing how that effects group dynamics and relationships with those team mates. What % of them kill me? What % talk to me and try to determine whether it was an accident or not?

That’s the way my mind now thinks. ‘Creating’ as opposed to sitting back with my feet up.

  • http://www.ndoherty.com Niall Doherty

    I’m a reformed video game addict myself. I spent so much time playing GTA 3 that I probably still know my way around Liberty City better than I know my way around my hometown. I came to the same realization as you and packed it all in. My real world circumstances never improved because I achieved 100% completion in a video game. Waste of time.

    That said, I did like the points made in this TED talk:

    There’s the potential there for video games to be used to help solve real world problems. I’m not about to go running back to them myself, but I’m intrigued nonetheless.

 

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