It's 10 pm. Do you know where you and your loved ones are? Here is a collection of experiences from those who live / have lived with an obsessive MMOG gamer and from those who have lived the experience of obsessive MMOG gaming.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

I was just thinking a little while ago about how running seems to be one of my latest obsessions... or addiction, if you will. Of course, to me it doesn't quite seem that way, but the strange looks that I am getting from people on the street or in their cars for running on the street in snowy, icy conditions at nosehair-freezing temperatures attests to the fact that OTHERS are certainly thinking that I may be a little... well, you get the point.

Now here is the kicker though... yes, I am running about 4 times a week, so it can certainly be compared to another obsessive hobby that I used to have (namely, EQ) - but that's where the similarities end. Running: between 1-2 hours each session, so at most 8 hours a week of actual running; then count in about 30 minutes each for stretching; on average about 1-2 hours a week maintaining my running blog, reading running news or browsing running items online; 30 minutes a week a emailing my running buddies. So now we have a high end range of ... 12.5 hours a week! Woa, mama!

Actually, not really? It's rather pitifully minimal compared to the 30-50 hours a week I would put into MMOGs during my heydays.

If I actually spent 40-50 hours doing running stuff, I doubt I'd still be alive and kicking. I can't imagine being out and about running for 16 hours a day... I can't even imagine doing that every weekend day, like I used to do with EQ on a regular basis.

So now what do I do with the rest of the time I have? Watching TV (sometimes it's nice to be passively entertained), cooking, reading, browsing junk on the Internet, playing guitar, debating with friends, writing ... the point that I am trying to make here is that I am doing such a variety of activities that won't make me an expert in much, admittedly, but that certainly keeps me more sane and responsive to the external world than sitting in front of the computer every bloody single minute that I have to myself. I still like D&D, I still like the Internet, I still like to try out new games. Just not MMOGs, because of all the computer games I have tried, none have left me as grouchy, mentally checked out and low in feelings of self worth as MMOGs have. The latter is just a god-awful feeling... have you ever felt it?

Let's face it: You are spending 10-20 hours a week on your MMOG of choice? Move along, you likely have little to worry about MMOGs impacting your well-being negatively. 30-50 hours a week? It's time to stop being such a fierce defender of your game existence and insist that it's yo choice to live your life, buddy. After all, you're not ACTUALLY fighting for the last tree on earth. Or trying to find the cure to save the world from Armageddon.

At best, you are only harming yourself. At worst, you are causing some heavy-duty damage on others who rely on you being in this world.

P.S.: And before you start thinking that it is "only" time that is the difference here, think again... time is limited and at the same time pervasive in all aspects of our lives - the length (and sure, the type) of your commitment to a particular aspect of your life and the combination of those commitments shapes who you are as a person.

3 Comments:

Blogger Neils said...

The ending theme of the book is that with the new forms of behemoth media that may or may not show themselves in the next few years, the key is balance.

Some gamers learn it after the cycle of binge, repair and repeat. Sometimes they don't, with some taking a longer time to learn their limits than others. What I'm really hoping to do is to show why the immersion, the sidelife, the psychology and the human body all go into keeping some people from being able to keep the addiction in perspective.

You briefly mentioned one of the things that bothers me the most: failing to balance your gaming impacts other people. In fact, I'd suggest that the binge culture is one of the key obstacles that gamers and developers need to set their sights on. Having people who keep you playing by threats and embargo is a design flaw.

Check out my last gamasutra article - I go into some cool places with regard to developer responsibility.

Apr 16, 2008, 4:55:00 PM

 
Blogger Paul said...

I used to always read your blog because I could relate. I play eq way too much (still) even though I know what a waste of time it is. I was interested to read your latest because I have been filling a lot of my time with running these days. Have you ever read ultramarathon man by Dean Karnazes, it reminds me of eq culture. I could go on for a long time but it is interesting to me because they are related in a weird way.

Sep 13, 2008, 12:11:00 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does no one else think it is tragically ironic that there is a Matrix MMO?

Mar 23, 2009, 9:48:00 PM

 

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home