Friday, October 03, 2003

Video Killed the Early-Bird's Start

I know a doctor, let's call him Z. Z has a practice with my father's roommate from college. Z works very close to where I am. Z is a shrink.

I was talking to Z a few months ago about my near-addictive response to certain types of video games. A few weeks ago, Z told me that he had talked to his patients about it -- done an informal survey. Apparently over-use of video games is quite widely reported by his patients suffering from depression. What surprised him the most was that men and women seemed equally as likely to feel they played video games too much (spent too much time, interfered with the rest of their lives), with the only gender difference being that women were more embarrassed.

I feel terribly guilty about what I do with gaming. There's nothing wrong about the way I sit down and play networked team games with friends, I don't think. My weakness has been the more solitary game playing, even to the point were I would sometimes prefer to sit staring at whatever game is currently pulling at me instead of playing games with friends. Though perhaps that's because my friends don't usually play my preferred type of game, the turn-based thinking-type games. (FWIW, I like Scrabble, though not Monopoly.) I have a friend who's had to deal with similar issues. I know he stayed up very late many nights playing The Sims making him late in the morning.

But the real reason I bring all this up is because I still want to talk about gaming in my blog. As much as I may play for escapist reasons, it's not like I just turn off my brain while I'm playing. There are ideas floating around in my head and the main reason for this blog is, after all, so I can get all these ideas I feel an urge to communicate out into the world -- cogitated over and expounded upon -- so that I exhaust the urge and don't bore my friends. But I'd still feel bad about spending all this time talking about game playing, about theory and praxis if you will, if I didn't write this entry. Now I can say, "Look, I feel really bad about this time I spent staring at pointless pixels. I could have been honing my skills or taking out the trash or even reading a book I just bought. But look, while I was doing it, I had this idea."

See, by admitting that the habit is dangerous, I feel freed to let the inspired thoughts be blameless.

No comments: