Tag Archives: life

How Do You Make Time to Play Video Games?

What’s your secret? I’m sure many people on the internet would like to know.

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Filed under Video Games: Reader Q&A

Go Get an Extra Life

The Earth stood still yesterday.  I’m not sure why. I do know I stared through my window at a bright blue sky for some time and saw no movement.

I had hoped to see something interesting outside, and I was hoping not to spy a Rear Window style murder. I was at least expecting to see or hear something moving on the street or in the buildings nearby. But the only movement came from my clock. Its tick tocks, by contrast with outside, were deafening.

I scanned the never-ending walls of glass and brick apartments that surrounded me. Everything I saw was dark. Was nobody home playing video games? I mean, what else could they possibly be doing with their time? Who would not want to play video games?

Some of the brick building denizens, I imagine, might reply you can’t have a life when you play video games. But there are so many extra lives to be found in games. Go get yourself one.

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Filed under Video Game Misc.

1001 Years before I Finish This Video Game

Woe is me as I lay here crying, for I have started a video game I may not finish.  Maybe I’m afraid of what will happen to me after I finish the game. Or, dare I say it, do I fear success in the game world? No, I’m sure I’m brave enough.

In truth, I must slay a mighty dragon, return a princess to her throne, return her crown that an awful thief absconded with and take out the garbage. That’s why I can’t play yet. When I’m done all that, then I can play my game and tend to my vegetable patch.

Sometimes I feel like all I can do is tend to my digital garden for a couple of minutes. I think the zucchini is ripe, and I’m excited to see it come back next year too. The tomatoes look even better than I could have imagined.

I’m not sure when this game is over. Maybe it’s after the land becomes barren and infertile. Maybe it’s after the soil seems parched, dry, crumbly under foot and returns to dust.

No matter when the game ends, I vow to keep my joy burning brightly in the face of dark days. I will finish this game even if it takes 1001 days.

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Filed under Video Game Misc., Video Games I Play

A Reflection on the Duality of Video Games & Life

Video games are both smooth and bumpy. One side of the disc is smooth, shiny and calm, like a tranquil lake on an early Saturday morning when the mist is settling over the water and no one is nearby. The disc also has faint lines going around part of it, resembling ripples on the surface of the lake. The machine is able to read and reflect on this side of the disc, and the metal box does this work quietly as if it were meditating near a calm lake. Then the machine can display something beautiful and creative for all to see and enjoy.

Sometimes playing this disc is a smooth experience, one without hardship that flows from beginning to end. The game doesn’t punish small mistakes during a smooth experience. The game doesn’t offer strange design choices that keeps gamers from playing until the end. Instead, the game lets you play, and encourages you to do so, without interruption.

We might also say that a gamer could be smooth. What do I mean by “smooth” gamer? I mean someone who sails through a game calmly without hitting any waves. Maybe he does see waves, but he knows how to avoid them. The smooth gamer’s actions are deliberate, well-thought-out and appear effortless, but not everyone acts in this way.

By contrast, there is a bumpy aspect to video games. One can feel this by picking up a video game disc and touching the side that has the game’s title and possibly other images. This bumpy side is like a rough path that is uneven to the touch rather than a tranquil lake.

The rough path is not inherently bad, for this side lets one know that one is holding a video game that a machine can run. However, some people will not see it as self-evident that the bumpy side faces up as the disc goes into the machine. You have to walk the path to understand, you have to put the game into the machine, or read or hear some instruction, to understand this is how you play a video game.

Once you play the game, you can sometimes expect a bumpy ride. You might get knocked off the path because of an increase in the game’s difficulty, just as you start to enjoy playing. You might get frustrated and lose your temper. Perhaps this angry person might throw a controller at some unfortunate bystander or some unfortunate peace lily.

Some of us might feel this anger and frustration in a more intense way than others. This person might be a gamer who cannot experience the bumpy side without exploding in rage. They are unpredictable and antipathy of the cool, smooth lake, the cool, smooth gamer.

Perhaps all gamers, all people have some degree of the cool, calm lake within them and the potential to lash out in anger. Although the path can be a little bumpy sometimes, one need not give in to aggression, to hate. Play like a smooth, calm lake, live like a smooth, calm lake.

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Filed under Video Game Misc., Video Game Technology

When I’m Old and Grey

When I'm Old and GreyNeon lights blind passers-by as they shine through the window on the house’s second floor.

Move inside and noise blasts hard enough to deafen anyone. The sounds of explosions almost knocks down pedestrians outside. A voice cuts through the noise, “How was that a critical hit?”

In the kitchen, two children sit while a young woman cooks dinner. Garlic and onions hit the pan, sizzle, jump and try to escape, but they settle down and release their special perfume. If the house had taste buds, its mouth would water.

The children ask, almost in unison, “Mom, what are all those lights and sounds upstairs?”

“Grandpa’s playing.” She rolled her eyes up and screwed up her lips as if some thought was developing in her mind. “Uh, I think they’re called video games and he’s playing them on a TV.”

“What are video games?” asked the little girl as she titled her head.

“What’s a TV?” asked the little boy with a squeaky voice.

“Oh, they’re old things people used to do for fun about 50 years ago.”

The children’s eyes grew wide and their mouths were agape – almost long enough for flies to buzz in – at this news.

“Wow! Did you say 50 years? That’s like a thousand years ago.”

The mother saw their earnest faces and smiled.

“Uh huh and he still plays them today,” the mother continued. “You know, you should run upstairs and let him show you.”

Their eyes sparkled like diamonds. The news excited them as if they had received both their Christmas and birthday gifts at once.

The children took off for upstairs. Their mother only saw a cloud of dust where they once sat. Now their feet made the second loudest sound in the house.

“Grandpa, Grandpa,” they yelled, “show us TV and video games.” Then they scurried into a room full of light and good cheer.

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Filed under Video Game Misc.

Are You a PlayStation Vita Addict?

PlayStation Vita addictIs your PlayStation Vita stealing the best years of your life?

It’s ironic: a product named after life could rob you of it.

The first step to recovery is to admit you have a problem. Now let me tell you about the symptoms.

  • You play games on your PS3 non-stop.
  • Then, you take your Vita and play while you’re on the go, even when you’re in a rush.
  • You play the Vita while walking around the city by yourself, even when you have to meet friends.
  • You’re an hour late for work but your boss doesn’t notice or care. That’s because she’s glued to her desk and playing her Vita too!
  • You’re cooking white rice for a stir fry but you burnt it. The rice looks like a black sky on a moonless prairie night. It’s all because you couldn’t stop playing your Vita.
  • You were going to bed early, but you slept for only one hour. That’s because you stayed up all night playing Vita and woke up with bloodshot eyes.

Maybe all of these Vita problems will mean our species’ extinction.

Uh oh! All this talk about the Vita has got me interested in buying one. I think I’ll just go for a meaningless walk to the nearest GameStop now… for no reason. Ok, fine, I’ll stay honest here. Maybe I’ll play Vita games on the subway until I ride from one end of town to the other.

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Filed under Video Game Technology