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keyvin
Sep 9, 2003

My flesh and blood lives. No matter what.

I read an interesting OpEd by Matthew Duhmel about his life and video games.

Here is the link to the article itself

Quoted for people that don't like following links:

"Matthew Duhmel posted:

I spent 803 days unemployed after I left college. Each day I would start by writing to companies to explain how I am just the right person for their position. I would then set about organizing and cleaning an ever-increasingly out-of-date set of thrift-store purchases. Sometimes, I even went to parties where I tried to make being unemployed sound cool. Most of the time, however, I played a lot of video games.

The time spent organizing my pile of belongings made sense to me – even without a job I feel a need to maintain my life – but the time spent playing video games was always deeply confusing. Inside video games I become a world-famous hero, and yet in the real world I have trouble even getting an interview. Why can’t the willful leader and the inspired artist in me show himself? Why can’t I reach the next level in the real world?

I am coming to the conclusion that the answer is video games.

At age thirteen I was introduced to the first game I took seriously by a well-meaning teacher who taught at my Jr. High School. He made the whole class a deal each day: if we finished our lessons we could play on the private server he hosted on a small Pentium 3 computer in the corner near his desk. I quickly signed the manilla waiver that said Ultima Online may contain content that was not suitable for kids my age.

More like a game of make-believe than a single fantasy adventure, UO offered me a world in which I could visualize myself completely. My character could spend his days slaying skeletons, mixing potions, or even baking bread. Most exciting of all, however, was that with each click, the worth of my effort was clearly defined by the steady ticking of stats ever upward. When my Musicianship skill jumped 20 points in a single week so that I could tame Dragons my teacher praised me as “one of the smartest students I’ve met.” This when I began to try and take the same approach in my real life; this is when the end goal began to matter more than the journey.

One day when I came to school the gamer circle was talking about a new game: Everquest. Ultima Online was a joke compared to this game, they boasted. Only babies would be playing UO anymore.

To me, UO felt less like a game and more like an extension of my neighborhood; a real world with rules I was just beginning to understand and internalize. I refused to give it up, and was promptly rejected. The gamer group refused my entrance at lunch. This rejection was heartbreaking, but I consoled myself with the idea that I was getting the better end of the deal. What was the point of being on cordial terms with a group that even on the best days could not be described as friends? I took to spending my lunches reading printouts from various Ultima Online fansites to improve my tick rate; UO, and the resulting praise from my teacher, provided me the edification I had been searching for.

The next year was filled with a series of troubles and anxieties – from professional rejection, to typecasting based on my weight, and finally my mother’s diagnosis with terminal cancer. These events combined to create a strong sense of fearful pessimism about the future; not so much a hopelessness but a deep and terrible panic. Fortunately, UO provided me with the daily routine and positive reinforcement that I so desperately craved. It became a hiding place where I could pretend that I didn’t feel powerless and incompetent in real life.

When the year came to an end I “graduated” into high school and the server my teacher ran was no longer available to me. At first this did not bother me; I had seen it coming and had planned to join an official server as soon as it happened. My first few hours on the Great Lakes shard felt comfortably familiar, but very quickly I came to see that nothing was the same. On a public server, Ultima Online could be best described as a mixture of Atlas Shrugged and Mad Max in Medieval England. All the uncertainty, tragedy, and betrayal caused by the collision of human begins existed as a pure distillate; unspoiled by by any limits on player conduct.

The empowering isolation of my teacher’s private server now a memory. I found myself at the mercy of people who seemed to take great delight in making me feel powerless. I still have scars on my hands from the time I slammed my fist against the wall in impotent rage as the work of hours of mining was lifted from my corpse by a PK as he recited a list of the different ways he wanted to copulate with my mother.

I lingered for a few more weeks, but reality had moved in. Its cold, cynical, girth was making itself comfortable on my couch when I cancelled my account. “It’s for the best” my family would say, “now you can focus on what is actually important.” My mother was very sick at this point. I agreed with them, using the vehemence of my words as a way to drown out the voice in my head pleading with me to find a new place to feel powerful. I thought I found what I was looking for in my High School’s JROTC program because it gave me an opportunity to follow simple rules inside of a clear worldview and earn straightforward praise in the form of ribbons and medals.

What I found was a new game that was just as troubling as the one I had just left. The difficulty of dodging player killers was replaced with the grueling work of morning physical training. What seemed so easy for everyone else felt insurmountable to the extremely obese kid I was at the time. Having to face the frustrated visages of my classmates, who had to keep running while they waited for me to finish the lap (as I had already stopped three times to catch my breath) was completely disheartening. The public UO servers had shown me the shittiness of others, but JROTC made me face my own shittiness. It held a mirror up to my own limitations, and I turned away.

I didn’t feel strong or successful standing in formation (being shown by several cadets just how bad I was at standing in formation). I just wanted to find a place where I could recapture the happy confidence of my teacher’s server. Slowly I began to put less and less effort into my duties; I traded shining shoes for searching the web for some new game to play. My mother was too sick to register the downward slide of my JROTC grades. She didn’t live to see me quit the next year.

First my virtual world, and then my real world were shattered. This was probably one of the most hopeless times in my life. One of the people I cared about the most was gone, and I felt like it had been my fault. I know now that guilt is normal, and irrational, but at the time all I could think about was how weak I was. I couldn’t hack it in JROTC, and I couldn’t even be a good enough kid to give my mother the strength to fight for her life. Despite all the hours I had played a hero in Ultima Online, I couldn’t find the strength to be one in real life.

All I could think to do was keep practicing. At this point I began what I now call “The Cycle.” It can be outlined in seven steps.

A. Decide life is too (difficult, troubling, unfair, hopeless, etc.) and choose a game that is easy, repetitive, and comforting which provides a high level of wish fulfillment. The protagonist must normally end up accomplishing things I feel incapable of.

B. Grow increasingly disillusioned with the experience and stop playing.

C. Find a new game that embodies that is incredibly difficult. Usually this means a complicated flight sim or a competitive online game. Either way it must have an incredibly high bar for success.

D. Slowly realize that I am not that good at the game from part C. Become intensely focused on succeeding, and start playing constantly. Refrain from normal activities and avoid work to spend more time practicing.

E. Come to the conclusion that success is not coming fast enough, and even if it does – which it probably won’t – the reality is I am devoting my time to a fantasy. Decide that if I am going to devote myself to something it should have something more real at the core of it. Quit what I have been playing since step C and attempt to find success in education or professional life.

F. Grow frustrated with my lack of success and depressed with the indeterminability of my future. (Unlike game universes, the real world has no clear designer’s intent. There is no single walkthrough, and success is not guaranteed.) Begin to long for gaming experience like the one I found in my teacher’s Ultima Online server, where objectives are clear and success is inevitable and imminent.

G. Return to A.

This cycle functions because of one simple character flaw: a need to maintain my self-esteem by continually reliving my successes. I return to certain games (and even within games certain scenarios) that make me feel successful. At the time of writing Medieval 2 Total War, and Mount & Blade: Warband both have 600 hours of playtime; with many of those spent replaying the same victories over and over.

The ease with which games and especially RPGs allow us to feel powerful and to repeat ad infinitum these rituals of self-empowerment are part of what makes them so successful. It also makes them capable of becoming so tightly wired into our perception of reality that they can alter our psyche. The resultant change is very similar to what William Deresiewicz describes as the disadvantages of an elite education:

“…students from elite schools expect success, and expect it now. They have, by definition, never experienced anything else, and their sense of self has been built around their ability to succeed. The idea of not being successful terrifies them, disorients them, defeats them. They’ve been driven their whole lives by a fear of failure…”

The difference between my own experience, and that of a typical hyper-successful ivy-league-bound student is that my sense of self was built around fabricated success. Video games present a fictitious sense of trial that produce a baseless sense of accomplishment. Saving the world feels like it’s worthy of note but it is simply the outcome for every person who plays the game and doesn’t turn off the console.

I chose to define myself by my gaming successes as a way of displacing the definition given to me by my circumstances. This has brought with it all the consequences Deresiewicz describes, but without any of the benefits gained from the hard work real-world success requires. I still craved the type of success that Ivy League schools looked for, but the ease with which I could turn on a video game and feel successful without any of the work was (and still is) incredibly difficult to pass up.

When I was applying for college I was right at the part of the cycle where I once again become obsessed with real-world success. My father and teachers encouraged me to study English and Writing in college. Writing had always come naturally to me, and without realizing it I had logged a significant chunk of the 10,000 hours needed to master the craft engaging in collaborative storytelling in various multiplayer games. At the time none of this was clear to me, and I perceived their encouragement as an attempt to get me to accept my limits and simply enjoy mediocrity. Choosing English felt like a conscious choice to replay a game I had already beaten over and over forever. I decided that a true winner would take on a hard game and win. I chose to attempt a degree that teachers had told me repeatedly I had no real talent for: art. I found a school that didn’t require a portfolio to prove my qualification and began a degree in Animation.

Top grades became the new win state, and being the teacher’s most promising pupil became the threshold for winning the game. Each class that found me behind someone else made the tug in my brain to retreat into games even stronger. For two years I toughed it out and through sheer determination (and many all-nighters) made a straight “A” average. But then I met a classmate who seemed capable of accomplishing any animation task (and rising to the top of the class) without any effort. I couldn’t beat him, and the tug became too strong. I retreated hard, and the cycle began again.

During a long winter break, half way into a bottle of rum, I found a gaming group that enticed my compulsion; a pseudo military unit playing Day of Defeat: Source. There were tests to pass, inspections to clear, and medals to win. It was everything I had wanted to find when I quit JROTC; an easier path to feeling like a hero. I thought that maybe if I went through the boot camp (just until break was over) I could return to class refreshed and confident.

Classes resumed, but part of me decided not to return. I was good at this new game, and I wanted to keep feeling good. As my rank rose I spent more and more time inside the “unit” as we called ourselves. My grades slipped accordingly and, though outwardly I expressed bravado, inside I was torn and afraid. I wasn’t willing to say it out loud, but part of me believed that this ‘unit’ was the only place I’d ever feel proud of myself.

My straight “As” turned into rocky “Cs” and I left school with a reputation for being unreliable. At around the same time I “retired” from the unit a Second Lieutenant. A captaincy or executive officer position – what I saw as the end goal of this game – was not something I could achieve. My superiors had decided I was “too intense, too eager” for high command. I was angry. I was ashamed. I had thrown away my college experience for a shot at winning this game. I hated myself.

I spent two years out of college unemployed because I stuck to a routine. Wake, eat, play the same games that make me feel strong, promise myself that tomorrow I will move past this, sleep, do it again.

I’ve read about how video games are shaping culture in positive ways, and heard from countless people on Twitter and in person that games have opened their eyes to new ways of viewing the world. Deep down, I feel none of this. Games have allowed me to hurt myself in ways that I am not sure I will ever recover from. At the same time, they are such a core part of my life that I don’t think I can ever give them up. So instead I pretend to agree. I talk openly and loudly about how games are one of the highest forms of art; I defend the position that games will change the world for the better; I keep writing cover letters telling game companies how excited I am to work for them. I pretend because admitting to myself that I’ve screwed my life for good is worse. I begin the cycle again.

I have to say that my experience was kind of similar in that I wonder what more I would have accomplished out of life had I not come from a horribly broken home and not played video games. For me video games and before that reading were a way to escape my home life. Before I could drive, my friends lived over ten miles away from me as I didn't attend the neighborhood schools. Instead of learning how to do things, or learning about the world, I read lovely fantasy novels until I got a Nintendo for Christmas because my family couldn't afford a computer and my sister could play it too. I wasn't overweight like the author as my dad always insisted that I play a sport, and he wanted me to have non lower middle class friends so he had me swim on a team at a Y in a nicer end of town.

I liked rpgs, mostly for the story but also for the fact they made me feel epic. Like the author I liked the feeling of success it gave me. I was good at swimming, but my parents couldn't afford for me to swim on a USS team, so I never really got better. I was a mediocre student not because I wasn't intelligent but because in the accelerated program I was in it was expected that the parents would either tutor me or get a tutor for subjects I didn't move as fast in. My parent's were C students in highschool at best, with my dad taking half days and working at McDonalds his last two years of high school.

In elementary school and middle school I spent hours and hours playing video games. Final Fantasies, Dragon Warriors, I would call every pawn shop in town to find the games I wanted used. I played the same games over and over again. I could probably tell you what every NPC in the original dragon warrior says over and over again.

What stopped my incessant video game playing was that my home life eventually got so bad that I did *everything* I could to not be at home. Boy Scouts got me out of the house a whole weekend a month. At school, I joined the chess team, the newspaper, the swim team, the cross country team, Beta club, Student Government, Kuna - you name it. If it happened after school and meant that I didn't have to be at home I did it.

Then I found Everquest, and I stopped most of my extracurriculars. There was something so satisfying about coming back to a zone ten levels later and destroying it. I felt powerful and successful, something that I didn't feel in life.

I was honestly shocked when I got a scholarship to the local university that included room and board. I majored in my weakest subject and after feeling the sting of needing to take a remedial algebra class I turned into a top student, usually only beaten by a 15 year old Chinese genius that won the Intel talent search. Good grades in my major came to me almost effortlessly and as a result I only needed to study for one or two classes and spent most of the rest of my time playing video games. I really feel like I wasted a lot of time that I should have spent learning and doing things - You will never have free time like you do in college if you don't have to work.

I got a real job and despite being in the top 10% of earners within three years of graduation I felt like a failure. I played video game after video game hoping to feel powerful and successful but video games didn't make me feel like that anymore. Instead I played games seeking that feeling of reward to such an extent that I neglected my ex-wife and seriously hurt our relationship. I wonder if the reason I didn't feel successful was because video games had hurt the reward system in my brain - desensitizing the feeling of success when I accomplished something. Or it might have been because of what happened next

Then my world fell apart after a psychotic episode. I was diagnosed schizoaffective and was told that I would have to take antipsychotics the rest of my life. I completely lost interest in living really - I had no friends, no job, I never talked to or saw my family. I made an attempt to return to work but the stress caused me to relapse and I had to quit after 5 months. Then I started a different medication that was more effective for the negative symptoms of schizophrenia. I entered the world once more but I no longer got much enjoyment out of video games.

This brings me to my current relationship with games. In 2012 I spent ~1,000 or 5% of my income on a new computer. I then bought maybe $500 on games. Even feeling better, I can't stand to play a video game for longer than an hour. I have 10 ps2 rpgs I have never played. 5 DS games, 20 games I bought on steam. I feel like I need to play them because I spent money on them, Not because I actually have a desire to play them. Really when it comes down to it, video games aren't rewarding anymore - I don't know if its my age, my illness or the medication, but I can play a game for a max of an hour at a time anymore, and I tend to loose interest 14-16 hours in. The last game I beat was skyrim and it took me four real life months to finish. Instead I am doing all the things I wish I had done in college, working through MIT open courseware or textbooks on my own. Last year I learned how to design a 32 bit processor, how to be an emacs power user, Lisp programming, and some stuff about the design portion of web design. I also learned how to play the guitar! In 2013 I am taking classes at the community college because vocational rehabilitation is helping me with my tuition and I get crazy accommodations that virtually guarantee I will succeed.

I know that if video games went back to making me feel the way they used to, I would just play video games all the time to hide from the fact that my life is on the lovely side again for the forseable future. To try to prevent this my new years resolution is not to buy any games - this doesn't help when I have probably a collection of four to five hundred games I could spend hours replaying. On top of not buying any games, I am only playing the games I have socially - with friends or my brother.

tl/dr
Video games provided escape from a lovely situation and set me up with a desire for a sense of reward and accomplishment that they no longer provided. Seeking this stimulus I played more and more games until an illness caused me to stop. Now I am mostly free from the clutches of video games.

Goons, what do you think about this article, and how have video games positively or negatively impacted your life?

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Illegal Username
Jul 20, 2007

You think that's illegal? Heh, watch this.


I sometimes get mad at videogames

mcvey
Aug 31, 2006

b 6 3 b 6 3


Ultima Online was a balling as gently caress game.

kith_groupie
May 11, 2007
Let's get clean and smart

I got so drat bored of playing video games and having a lovely part-time job I went back to school.

Aralan
May 21, 2001


I have never punched a wall or broken anything in anger over a videogame, so I'm pretty sure that makes me a success to this guy's video game failure

Cantorsdust
Aug 9, 2008

Infinitely many points, but zero length.

I, too, am a manchild that cannot manage having a hobby and a professional/social life at the same time.

Evil Fluffy
Jul 13, 2009

Nothing stops this train. We're just getting started.


I have my current job due to playing video games (my best friend met his current boss playing MMOs (DAOC I think)). This person seems to be looking for a scapegoat and chose video games.

Migishu
Oct 22, 2005

I'll eat your fucking eyeballs if you're not careful



mcvey posted:

Ultima Online was a balling as gently caress game.

Corp Por

*spams 50 times*

Seriously though, I played UO religiously for years. I was never good at it though.

Demora
Aug 13, 2004

It wouldn't be the Enterprise without a Sulu at the helm


Oh, Ultima Online. How I miss taming every stray cat I could find then running through town, causing massive lag and disconnects.

Aralan
May 21, 2001


Childhood obesity? A mother dying of cancer while the writer was in high school? Obvious depression and low self esteem? No, no, it's probably the video games

Powercrazy
Feb 15, 2004

Just like Jews, furries and pedophiles before them, the Nazis have been unfairly Otherized. As someone who is not a Nazi, this troubles me greatly.


I play games for distraction and some light socialization. If you go further than that, you are probably a failure, but society is too polite to let you know.

AG3
Feb 4, 2004

Ask me about spending hundreds of dollars on Mass Effect 2 emoticons and avatars.


To my layman's eyes it seems the problem and common factor here is having a lovely real life, not video games. To semi-quote a most esteemed and famous doctor: "video games a symptom, not a cause".

ANIME MONSTROSITY
Jun 1, 2012

It really pisses me off when I saw this guy on youtube showing how smoothly 10bit anime plays on his iphone 5 even though it's only 1.2 ghz.


You'll never succeed if you've ever played even one video game.

Sock Puppet
May 21, 2001


Aralan posted:

Childhood obesity? A mother dying of cancer while the writer was in high school? Obvious depression and low self esteem? No, no, it's probably the video games

Too right. On one hand, he obviously has issues that affected him deeply but was unable to grasp because he was inside them. Big downer, and I generally have sympathy for people with serious personal problems like his.
On the other hand, I read this article and most of the way through thought 'This guy is a fuckwit'

readingatwork
Jan 8, 2009

Probably neither reading nor working.


Unemployed for years but instead of getting mad at lobbyists, the financial sector, policy makers, our broken culture, etc. he gets mad at video games.

Yeesh!

AG3
Feb 4, 2004

Ask me about spending hundreds of dollars on Mass Effect 2 emoticons and avatars.


Clearly these stories would've had a much happier outcome if the people involved had turned to drugs and alcohol for their problems instead of video games. Video games destroy lives.

Lieutenant Dan
Oct 27, 2009

Weedlord Bonerhitler


As an employed video game designer, I can confirm that we make all our video games in an earnest effort to ruin the lives of others.

HogX
Aug 16, 2008



I used to work as a QA tester. Been unemployed for a while now, because of those darn video games!


Lieutenant Dan posted:

As an employed video game designer, I can confirm that we make all our video games in an earnest effort to ruin the lives of others.

Shame on you!

plaguedoctor
Jun 26, 2008

I CAN DUMP MY GIRLFRIEND CAUSE SHE'S LIKE A WHORE, RIGHT GUYS? RIGHT???

Call Now posted:

You'll never succeed if you've ever played even one video game.

I played Freecell once. Am I doomed?

Demora
Aug 13, 2004

It wouldn't be the Enterprise without a Sulu at the helm


Lieutenant Dan posted:

As an employed video game designer, I can confirm that we make all our video games in an earnest effort to ruin the lives of others.

Has this sinister desire always been there starting with Pong? Or did it develop over time? It really started to become obvious in Space Invaders because, c'mon. gently caress that last level.

Kill All Humans
Feb 17, 2011



Videogames. Not even once.

Lieutenant Dan
Oct 27, 2009

Weedlord Bonerhitler


Sonrisa posted:

Has this sinister desire always been there starting with Pong? Or did it develop over time? It really started to become obvious in Space Invaders because, c'mon. gently caress that last level.

It's kind of a long and ancient tradition passed down through generations. When you start your first day at a game company you get a scroll of instruction that reads "RUIN EVERYTHING"

Tincans
Dec 15, 2007



As embarrassing as this is, I feel similarly.

I can pin-point the exact moment my teenage years (and the lives of my peers) changed forever.
We were both 14 when a friend had popped round to my house and noticed a jewel case on our dining table. "What's this?", he inquires. It was a 15-day free trial of Ultima Online that came free with an issue of PC Gamer. "Can I borrow it?", he asks.

There was no way any of us could foresee the impact this game would have on our fragile lives. Gaming had become wide spread and really popular however this was a disruption to childhood development our parent's generation had hardly encountered let alone knew how to handle. "Sure dude, I'm not interested in it", I reply.

My friend disappears back to his house and rather quickly all our whole social group are playing it on their own personal computers. While we weren't very sport-inclined, we would often go round to each other's houses to play games together or *gasp* venture outside and play a bit of football or climb trees in a park.

They eventually persuaded me to join them in their on-line adventures and, while I wasn't all that keen on it, I gave it a go as this poo poo was all they would talk about at school. It was as if some shift had culturally taken place and while I couldn't qualify it properly into words I felt deeply unhappy this was happening.

The point being it's not the games themselves, no matter how carefully designed at being rewarding/addicting. It's the level of escapism afforded for such little input.

Though I'm no white knight. Revise for GCSEs? Nah, another play-through of Deus Ex more like

ApexAftermath
May 24, 2006

reaching
present participle of reach
To draw a conclusion based on more than a moment's thought.


What's the over/under odds on OP returning to thread?

BAKA FLOCKA FLAME
Oct 9, 2012

by Pipski


I'm pretty good at video games. It's a thing.

keyvin
Sep 9, 2003

My flesh and blood lives. No matter what.

You know, I am not saying that video games are evil, or that video games ruin lives. I am just saying that they provide a false sense of accomplishment that I don't think very many other hobbies do. Yes, I played video games as an escape, but I also played them because other things just didn't seem as rewarding. What is more appealing - picking up an instrument for the first time, and not even being able to play hot cross buns on it, or picking up a controller and playing the first level of a game designed so that you succeed? Think of all the hours people played guitar hero - why didn't they just learn how to play a guitar? IMHO its because it takes you years of practice and dedication to play the solo from freebird on a guitar, but just a month to play it on guitar hero.

ApexAftermath
May 24, 2006

reaching
present participle of reach
To draw a conclusion based on more than a moment's thought.


keyvin posted:

You know, I am not saying that video games are evil, or that video games ruin lives. I am just saying that they provide a false sense of accomplishment that I don't think very many other hobbies do.

If someone beats Dark Souls is that is a false sense of accomplishment?

People are taking issue with this because not everyone is a man child that acts this way with video games, and also many video games are actually quite challenging and you are really not giving credit where it is due.

SerCypher
May 9, 2006

Everything has gone horribly wrong

keyvin posted:

You know, I am not saying that video games are evil, or that video games ruin lives. I am just saying that they provide a false sense of accomplishment that I don't think very many other hobbies do. Yes, I played video games as an escape, but I also played them because other things just didn't seem as rewarding. What is more appealing - picking up an instrument for the first time, and not even being able to play hot cross buns on it, or picking up a controller and playing the first level of a game designed so that you succeed? Think of all the hours people played guitar hero - why didn't they just learn how to play a guitar? IMHO its because it takes you years of practice and dedication to play the solo from freebird on a guitar, but just a month to play it on guitar hero.

The point is when people need an escape they'll find one. The issue is fixing the things in your life that cause you to need an escape.

Brady
Jul 11, 2008

I HAVE BAD OPINIONS ABOUT VIDEO GAMES AND MUSIC

quote:

The empowering isolation of my teacher’s private server now a memory. I found myself at the mercy of people who seemed to take great delight in making me feel powerless. I still have scars on my hands from the time I slammed my fist against the wall in impotent rage as the work of hours of mining was lifted from my corpse by a PK as he recited a list of the different ways he wanted to copulate with my mother.

It's not the video games, it's him.

The Butcher
Apr 20, 2005

I am unable to form coherent arguments and resort to calling people I disagree with shills to win. Please ignore me, I have no idea what I am talking about.


Pretty sure the problem for this fellow wasn't video games, it was something internal to himself.

If he had been born 20 years earlier, he probably would have done the same thing, only with books, music, gambling, etc.

sentientcarbon
Aug 21, 2008

OFFLINE GAMES ARE THE FUTURE OF ONLINE GAMING

The numbers don't lie. 99.99% of every Diablo 3 player wants the game to be offline. This is a FACT.

OH SHIT IS THAT A WEBCAM? HOLY CRAP GET THAT AWAY FROM ME! (I am terrified of being spied on, because I am a very interesting person)


I dunno, I actually really related to this guy's story. I have it easier in that I had very supportive parents and got into a good college and have a good job, but I know exactly what he means about 'the cycle'. I'll frequently get it into my head that I want to write a novel or start a business or some other grand undertaking, work hard at it for a day or two, and when I'm not immediately amazing at it I'll just slink on back to videogames, because, well, there I can conquer the (virtual) world in the space of a few hours, so why the gently caress not? The longing for real world, exceptional success is still there pecking away at my mind, but videogames are so much easier that it's hard to dig myself out.

I think this speaks more to some personal failing of mine rather than some failing of videogames, but I still respect this guy for calling light to what seems to be becoming more and more common among young men. It's easy to laugh at, but videogames do provide a power trip/wish fulfillment pretty much unrivaled by any prior form of media, and I definitely think the potential for 'addiction' is certainly much more prominent than, say, books or films.

Little Mac
Jan 3, 2006

Super Mario Bros 3

I got so hooked on it, man. Strung out on the streets, suckin' off guys in back alleyways for a quarter I knew I'd lose. The 70s and 80s were bad for a lot of us, but it didn't matter to me. I knew I had a problem but it didn't seem like a problem when everyone else had it. Caught a friend from high school down by the Rialto the other day. Told him about my girl and my job. Didn't tell him my job was plumber and my girl was Ms. Pac Man. Didn't tell him none o' that as I got a damned quarter from him, too.

You give me twenty-five cents and man, I'm the brokest rich dude in the world.

signalnoise
Mar 7, 2008



People play video games in search of specific feelings of satisfaction? I play them cause theyre fun I guess

ArbitraryC
Jan 28, 2009
Pick a number, any number.

keyvin posted:

You know, I am not saying that video games are evil, or that video games ruin lives. I am just saying that they provide a false sense of accomplishment that I don't think very many other hobbies do. Yes, I played video games as an escape, but I also played them because other things just didn't seem as rewarding. What is more appealing - picking up an instrument for the first time, and not even being able to play hot cross buns on it, or picking up a controller and playing the first level of a game designed so that you succeed? Think of all the hours people played guitar hero - why didn't they just learn how to play a guitar? IMHO its because it takes you years of practice and dedication to play the solo from freebird on a guitar, but just a month to play it on guitar hero.
I can really agree with this. I'm still friends with the tight group I hung out with in highschool and see them occasionally. In highschool we played mtg competitively and ended up being pretty serious about fighting games and WoW. As we went off to college I slowly got out of time consuming games (like mmo's and competitive games) because my studies took up a lot of time and I was beginning to get a social life but my friends kind of doubled down. Now they're actually pretty good at the games and are involved in the fighting game community around here, but at the same time you can see what they traded their time for and aren't doing too well in terms of job/career prospects, don't have much of a social life outside their game communities, and don't have much in the way of hobbies that could make them more relatable to people.

One of them has even told me that he's a bit depressed with his life as a whole but that it's hard to take time away from video games to work on other things because the sense of accomplishment he gets from success with them is pretty much his main joy in life at the moment.

Evil Fluffy
Jul 13, 2009

Nothing stops this train. We're just getting started.


Lieutenant Dan posted:

As an employed video game designer, I can confirm that we make all our video games in an earnest effort to ruin the lives of others.

Zynga employee spotted.

keyvin posted:

You know, I am not saying that video games are evil, or that video games ruin lives. I am just saying that they provide a false sense of accomplishment that I don't think very many other hobbies do. Yes, I played video games as an escape, but I also played them because other things just didn't seem as rewarding. What is more appealing - picking up an instrument for the first time, and not even being able to play hot cross buns on it, or picking up a controller and playing the first level of a game designed so that you succeed? Think of all the hours people played guitar hero - why didn't they just learn how to play a guitar? IMHO its because it takes you years of practice and dedication to play the solo from freebird on a guitar, but just a month to play it on guitar hero.

BeatingSurviving Dwarf Fortress is an accomplishment.

the black husserl
Feb 25, 2005



Video games are an amazing part of daily life. My memories playing Fallout 2 in 6th grade slot comfortably next to my memories of being on stage, or my first kiss.

I have never felt a sense of "success" from playing video games. Maybe thats the problem, dorks thinking that this poo poo matters. This is why people try to tell me I'm playing single player RPGs "wrong".

SerCypher
May 9, 2006

Everything has gone horribly wrong

sentientcarbon posted:

I'll frequently get it into my head that I want to write a novel or start a business or some other grand undertaking, work hard at it for a day or two, and when I'm not immediately amazing at it I'll just slink on back to videogames, because, well, there I can conquer the (virtual) world in the space of a few hours, so why the gently caress not?

Most businesses fail and most people can't write a good novel, so videogames just saved you some time and money there.

Sloppy
Apr 25, 2003

Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere.

sentientcarbon posted:

I dunno, I actually really related to this guy's story. I have it easier in that I had very supportive parents and got into a good college and have a good job, but I know exactly what he means about 'the cycle'. I'll frequently get it into my head that I want to write a novel or start a business or some other grand undertaking, work hard at it for a day or two, and when I'm not immediately amazing at it I'll just slink on back to videogames, because, well, there I can conquer the (virtual) world in the space of a few hours, so why the gently caress not? The longing for real world, exceptional success is still there pecking away at my mind, but videogames are so much easier that it's hard to dig myself out.

I think this speaks more to some personal failing of mine rather than some failing of videogames, but I still respect this guy for calling light to what seems to be becoming more and more common among young men. It's easy to laugh at, but videogames do provide a power trip/wish fulfillment pretty much unrivaled by any prior form of media, and I definitely think the potential for 'addiction' is certainly much more prominent than, say, books or films.

Yeah, me too. I'll wake up in the morning with some big idea or plan, but then and I just find myself back on Borderlands or whatever. It's not the game's fault, but none of my other hobbies (and I have quite a few) are so alluring and easy to fall into as video games. If I'm not careful it becomes the default for being bored.

When I was younger I had a pretty bad problem with EQ, but I once I quit I was so much happier and I haven't fallen into the MMO trap again besides a little dabbling in WoW that quickly turned into boredom.

Still, the writer is a sad sack and I hope I never fall that far.

Edit: This thread motivates me, time to get off the computer and go do stuff!

keyvin
Sep 9, 2003

My flesh and blood lives. No matter what.

Tincans posted:

As embarrassing as this is, I feel similarly.

I can pin-point the exact moment my teenage years (and the lives of my peers) changed forever.
We were both 14 when a friend had popped round to my house and noticed a jewel case on our dining table. "What's this?", he inquires. It was a 15-day free trial of Ultima Online that came free with an issue of PC Gamer. "Can I borrow it?", he asks.

There was no way any of us could foresee the impact this game would have on our fragile lives. Gaming had become wide spread and really popular however this was a disruption to childhood development our parent's generation had hardly encountered let alone knew how to handle. "Sure dude, I'm not interested in it", I reply.

My friend disappears back to his house and rather quickly all our whole social group are playing it on their own personal computers. While we weren't very sport-inclined, we would often go round to each other's houses to play games together or *gasp* venture outside and play a bit of football or climb trees in a park.

They eventually persuaded me to join them in their on-line adventures and, while I wasn't all that keen on it, I gave it a go as this poo poo was all they would talk about at school. It was as if some shift had culturally taken place and while I couldn't qualify it properly into words I felt deeply unhappy this was happening.

The point being it's not the games themselves, no matter how carefully designed at being rewarding/addicting. It's the level of escapism afforded for such little input.

Though I'm no white knight. Revise for GCSEs? Nah, another play-through of Deus Ex more like

I never played UO. It seemed like everquest was designed to keep you playing as long as possible to maximize revenues and as a result it eventually took forever to get the "reward" you were conditioned to expect and as a result of that people spent way too much time playing that game.

ApexAftermath posted:

If someone beats Dark Souls is that is a false sense of accomplishment?

People are taking issue with this because not everyone is a man child that acts this way with video games, and also many video games are actually quite challenging and you are really not giving credit where it is due.

Why is beating dark souls any bigger of an accomplishment than reading the gormengast trilogy? At the end of the game, all you can say is I beat dark souls. Sure video games take skill, not saying they don't. But what is that skill useful for? After playing a game, do you know how to make a game just like it?

Edit:
Actually, if you wanted to recreate a work as lovely as Titus Groan, you could make a reasonable stab at it after finishing the book AND it wouldn't be any less lovely than the original work you were attempting to copy.

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Volume
May 2, 2008


I have no idea who Matthew Duhmel is so I googled his name. Apparently he's into child porn?

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