I have gamed before and I have experiences I can draw on to illustrate my point about balance but to protect the innocent, or well-intentioned, the names and specifics of the stories have been changed. Any similarities to any person, place, or instance is purely
Once upon a time in the magical land of high school a girl named Margie had a boyfriend and he was addicted to a popular MMORPG. She would call him and he would be silent for long stretches and unresponsive. So, Margie decided that she would play the game and they would have something to talk about and they could talk while they played together! It seemed like a good idea at the time and they had one session where it worked, but only one. The relationship suffered.
Loise and Michael were married, and happily so! But then a game came into Michael's life and began to take over! At first it was just for a few hours on the weekend, but it soon became several hours every day after work and late into the night. Sometimes he would even stay up so late he would only get one or two hours of sleep before waking to leave for work. Loise was hurt that Michael no longer paid attention to her and asked him several times to quit playing the game. But he was addicted. He eventually broke free of it though and with the new-found time Michael has been able to develop talents he always wanted.
Don and Amy had 4 kids. And an XBox Live account. Even though the game play was not one sided as it was in the previous stories the ending is not a pleasant one. They played often. And often played alone. There were other issues in their marriage, but one can't help but wonder if perhaps the time could have been used trying to fix things and repair past damage instead of shooting pixels on a screen. Lets just say, the divorce was not pretty.
I saw the documentary "Indie Game: The Movie" today and I was so saddened by how reclusive the development of these games had made their creators. One of them even said that he would kill himself if his game didn't make it to release! I surely hope that Rob, the commander and chief of and real brains behind Game Crossing Studios, has not gotten to that point!!
Everything in our lives needs to be in balance in order for us to be happy. Too much of one thing forces a shortage of something else because, let's face it, we all have just 24 hours in a day. That's a mere 1440 minutes. For example, if I spent more time practicing the piano and less time surfing the internet as a teen I would probably be able to play the piano.
We have responsibilities that must be taken care of and we have goals we make to try and better ourselves. Those are important and good. I'm talking about mindless for hours and hours and hours on end, where days turn into months kind of playing. Especially when it is at the expense of the happiness of a loved one.
It is important that we take time to recharge our personal batteries and that we participate in things that make us happy. When we take care of ourselves we are able to have the energy to take care of others. And gaming can be a fantastic way to decompress. It can also be a fun activity that helps build relationships. I have fond memories of playing Street Fighter, Duck Hunt, Wii Sport, Mario Kart, and others, with those I love and the laughter we shared. So it most certainly can be a good, fun, relationship strengthening thing. But it can easily get out of hand so just remember that on your death bed you probably won't be wishing you beat that big bad boss.
Until next time.
Live life. Play games.