When I was a kid I could only play Mario when my father wasn’t around. I was with my eyes stuck on the screen and my ears at the door, so I won’t get caught when he’d come home. He had something that seemed a weird idea about playing video games, my father, as he always told me to play chess or anything that’s not virtual. It was impossible for me to make a difference. A game was just a game in my head. I thought my father was just old fashion. After all, I wasn’t going to play that stupid game he taught me, the one with some stupid beans on a cardboard. Especially if I was going to play it with him. I just wanted to escape reality, to get away and find out where is that damn princess.
When the console broke I found out about the public library and started reading. I had the constant feeling that I was born in the wrong place and time. I wanted to travel the stars, to sail unexplored seas and solve impossible mysteries. It was the time I discovered the The Lost World by Arthur Conan Doyle as well as when I got to meet Sherlock Holmes and share his adventures alongside Dr. Watson. It was the time I found myself friends with Jules Verne and Asimov, when I fell in love with J.J. Rousseau. I’m pretty sure I would have hated my childhood without books – my first peak outside the very religious circle I grew-up in. I have to say I knew little to nothing about how a computer worked, while kids in my class talked about Prince of Persia and Need for Speed. I had books and books were enough even if I read them stealthily as I knew I wasn’t allowed to read such blasphemous words.
But I am slightly deviating from the subject this article is supposed to have. I had my first PC back in 2006 and that was the moment I rediscovered video games. That was also the moment I started to read less and less which brought me to writing less to nothing. It was easier for me to just play hours and hours of FIFA and Counter Strike (I’m happy I haven’t found out about Broodwar back than). I want to make it clear that I am not against video games. I’m just looking back and realize I could have done so much more with my time. That being a gamer took more from me that it gave back.
The time you enjoy wasting it’s not wasted.
So they say. I will have to say I played Starcraft 2 for about 2 years. It made me crazy and it made me mad. I had become someone I never knew I was: spiteful and full of rage. I never really enjoyed playing Starcraft 2. But it was a game designed to make you want to play more. I am not against video games, I’m against games that are designed to be addictive – the kind of games that will make you ignore not reality, but the things that are important in your life – the people close to you, your health and your peace of mind. The simple fact of loving yourself as the person you are today and caring for the person you will become tomorrow. This is something you lose when you play the same game over and over again, either it’s DOTA2, LOL, Starcraft or HOTS. I don’t want to sound like a grandpa, after all not all not all people that drink alcohol become alcoholics.
I love stories. I read and write them and I play them. I love a game that tells a story so good that you feel you lived and extra life. I, for once, I saved the Galaxy and traveled the Universe. I’m thinking back at the times I played Mass Effect and I feel there’s something I won, that story is part of my life now and the characters are almost as real as long lost friends. I don’t want to draw a line that’s too thick and say this game is good, that game is bad. I’ve played a few games of Heroes of the Storm and the feeling I have while I think about it, is that the world is full of idiots. Sometime I just wait for the game to end and hope to get better team mates the next game. And they made that game so that there will always be a next game.
Your time is your most important thing you have. It’s all you have, really. I wrote this for myself first of all and I feel like I’ve learned the things I did, the hard way. Many of the people that will read this are or will be parents, they have someone or they will be in a relationship. Keep in mind what’s important, invest you time in the persons you love. Take interest in what your kids are watching or reading. If your kid has to hide from you to play a game, you kinda failed at being a parent. If you can’t wait for your girlfriend to leave so you can finally play some stupid game, you already failed at being in healthy relationship. I wrote this as a call for moderation. A call for reason. There is so much more you can be. Please be wise about your time as it is your most valuable asset. And as any valuable thing, there are people that will try and take it from you.