|The armies of the Great Kyle-san look something like this. -Ed|
I look up and its four-am. I should have gone to bed three hours ago to get the bare minimum of sleep. And I’ve been playing Total War: Shogun 2 for about six hours straight. I immediately hate myself and realize I told myself “one more turn” about two and a half hours ago.
I know what you’re thinking. This is some kind of confession from a video game addict. I cannot classify myself as a video game addict. I don’t NEED to play video games. I don’t have physical or mental urges to play them, nor do I think about them constantly. My social life has never suffered because I play too many video games, girlfriends have never complained. I just love video games. First person shooters, RPGs, Real time and Turn Based strategy games. I’m a sucker for a good Space Sim. Despite my feeling that I am fairly well adjusted gamer, I have been feeling that it is really time to give them up entirely.
It has always been my dream of being a screenwriter/film director. And its only until recently, where I have once again binged a grand campaign in Total War, that I feel like video games have been getting in the way of this dream. The problem isn’t with the Video Games themselves, however. It is just that as soon as I get stuck on a script or a story, my mind immediately runs to video games. It takes the stress off my brain creatively. I think to myself You need to take a break. Go play a video game. And it’s not until I have defeated Gannon for the umpteenth time or slayed some alien scourge that I realize that I just spent hours I could have been spending working on my story on someone else’s story. I am all for escapism, obviously. I want my readers/viewers to get lost in my world. But I also hope to inspire a little bit and I am only recently coming to the conclusion that no matter how well a game is written, or programmed, or textured, or how much fun I have playing them, I find them uninspiring.
|This game wasn't uninspired. He talks about it in the next paragraph. Pay attention. -Ed|
Bioshock Infinite was one of the first games I ever played where I wish there were a way to skip the combat scenes so I could progress with the story. It was also the first game that, for the first time since probably Mass Effect or Half-Life 2, that I even felt a tinge of inspiration. It’s just not enough. I think Bioshock Infinite is one of the best written anything that I have ever experienced. I still spent more time in that universe than crafting my own.
Another instance is when my Xbox 360 suffered the famous red ring of death. It was going to take a month to get it fixed. In the time I spent away from Master Chief and Call of Duty, I completed a page one re-write of a feature length script I had been working on since college. One hundred and ten pages in a month. And, on top of that, it was good (at least in my humble opinion). The second I got the 360 back, that motivation was gone. I mean, those Borgia weren’t going to assassinate themselves. I try to imagine if I could have kept that up somehow, where could I be? Maybe I wouldn’t be working a job I hate. Maybe I’d be making movies. Maybe I’d be making the Halo movie I always wanted to make (I’d do that shit for food and lodging).
Now I understand that Video Games are not inherently the problem. I don’t blame EA for making games (except when they’re shitty). The problem is clearly with me and how I play video games. I binge, and I binge hard. I don’t do multiplayer anymore, I couldn’t handle the racism and homophobia, so that has never been my problem. But I will power play a campaign from beginning to end. The problem with this is my favorite games are always the ones that have 30+ hours of content. I just can’t trust myself not to power through all that content instead of worrying about my characters motivations and whether or not have a plot hole the size of Skyrim.
|That's a big plothole. -Ed|
So now I find myself at a pretty impressive moment of self realization. I may never reach my full potential if I keep investing so much time and energy into video games, and I simply do not trust myself to simply “cut back.” Maybe that does make me an addict. I did beat Metal Gear Solid 3 in one 13 hour sitting. I don’t think it is as severe as that. I just want to have the ability to focus on what I need to focus on. And maybe I just need to pick and choose which games I play and when I play them. It is just easier for me to think of life without video games rather than managing the time I spend on them. It makes me sad, really, that I feel like I have to deprive myself of something I really love for something else I love more. But losing days of my life to teaching those damn Chokosabe the cost of their betrayal, I feel, is very quickly coming to an end. Maybe after one more turn.