Tag Archives: video games

Watching Myself Play Video Games

Maybe I committed some heinous act deserving of painful punishment, for I felt myself burning. My feet felt as if I had run across burning coals in Hades, but there were no coals — only scorching sand. I was on an island that didn’t exist on any map. I was miles away from the nearest collection of human beings or human things. I thought I was alone on this desert island, yet I discovered that wasn’t true.

I opened my mind and took a good, long look at the thoughts bubbling within. In my mind’s eye, I saw myself wandering through a personal library of towering mahogany bookcases that were crammed full of glittering video games. I found myself wishing I had Santa’s bottomless bag to haul away all the cases. Alas, I’m too honest to do that and can only play one game at a time. I began to wonder what other thoughts, perhaps more positive ones, might be brewing.

A second thought bubbled up to the surface. I peered through the wet border to get a closer look, and I saw myself playing a game. But I could also switch between the two bubbles: sauntering through the library or tapping buttons on a controller until sweat poured down my face. In this bubble, the joy of playing in the moment had replaced the oppressive heat of the day. Surely, I thought, my mind could not expand any more.

That’s when a final bubble popped up as I was enjoying the experience of watching myself play. In the final bubble, I took a deep breath, cleared all of the fog from my head and put the game back on the library shelf. I sat down, closed my eyes and meditated. My lips turned from an indifferent horizontal line to a ruddy rainbow. That was my final bubbly thought.

I noticed, though, that the experience didn’t end there: I could toggle between these three bubbles on demand. I also noticed each bubble stacked inside the previous one, like a matryoshka doll set. These cognitive observations exhausted me. I stepped back from my thoughts for a second and zoned out of focus.

I found myself back on the island’s scorching sand, sitting and smiling. I didn’t notice the heat anymore.

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Filed under Video Game Misc.

Petty for Your Thoughts

Am I a small person because I wish my video game character was taller?

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Eyes Glued to the Screen

Do you ever walk while playing video games on a device? Why or why not?

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Filed under Video Games: Reader Q&A

Do You Feel Fulfilled?

“Hey Laura, how about this weather? We’re stuck inside all day, and the grass isn’t even greener.”

Mike stared out the window at his red bike at the end of the driveway, and he started to wimper. For a moment, if one stood outside looking in, it would seem as if a tear was falling down Mike’s face. But it was just a rain drop slowly dripping down the glass.

“Mike, you’re just sulking and talking about depressing things. What about the video game I got you? Surely that brought you some joy.”

“Meh! It was alright. It wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. I was thinking I’d call the fulfillment center’s number on the box the game shipped in. Maybe they could make things better.”

Mike raced for the phone and dialed the number while sporting a big grin. He sighed again but this time it was a hopeful sigh: he expected the call would make his problems disappear.

“Hi fulfillment centre, I’m calling about Bloodbath II: The Ultimate Killing Frenzy. While I won’t deny it was a top speed roller-coaster adrenaline rush as advertised, I was left feeling empty. Something’s missing.”

“Hi sir, I’m sorry, but we do not offer complete fulfillment. We just put things in boxes. You’ll have to look outside the box to find fulfillment.”

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Luke Screenwalker Goes on an Epic Journey

Luke felt like going for a walk, but he was bored with the world around him and the blue sky above him. He decided, instead, to stare at his screen while walking. Here’s his story.

***

Luke walked passed two women who texted and talked, and he bumped into one of them hard enough to leave her sore for days. It was as if he thought himself a harmless bumper car that could hit others without causing damage. But he nearly caused her serious damage because he knocked her phone loose from the iron grip of her left hand. Fortunately for her, she had good enough reflexes to catch the delicate thing before it smashed into a thousand pieces of plastic.

“Ugh! Scuse you,”  she said.

“Whatever,” said Luke.

He crossed the street like a sleepwalking zombie who was completely unaware of his surroundings. Yet, he didn’t seem as scary as a zombie because he blended in with the pedestrian horde who were also glued to their devices as they crossed the street. Luke was the last in the crowd to finish crossing and, while ignoring that the pedestrian timer had run down, came within a hair’s length of becoming a hamburger. See, a cabbie pumped his breaks, his tires screeched like a banshee and passersby gasped at the close call. The cabbie put down the device he was holding with his left and horned Luke.

Honk! Honk!

“Hey buddy, you don’t get bonus points for nearly getting hit by me. Watch where you’re goin’, alright?”

“Hmm? Sorry, I’m in the middle of something important.”

Luke walked around the car and continued on his merry way as if nothing had happened.

Then Luke started adjusting his phone between landscape and portrait mode and, as if life imitated technology, he swerved back and forth while walking on the sidewalk. He then had a small fall off the curb, plopping his massive feet into a puddle. The water rose like a wave and splashed a cyclist who was zipping by in adjacent bike lane. The cyclist could barely see, swerved and nearly clipped Luke with his handle bar.

“The sidewalks are for walkin’, pal. Stay in your lane.!”

Luke looked up for a second, sensing someone was speaking to him, and said, “Can’t you see I got the game on here?”

At long last, Luke came to a quiet area without bikes, cars or any other visible person. The cars must have frozen somewhere up ahead at the nearest intersection because only tumbleweeds were visible. He was now free to walk defiantly down the street’s sidewalk while glued to his phone. He and his screen were alone until a door on a nearby side street swung open and a stranger emerged. The stranger accelerated down the sidewalk rapidly, as is her right, and nearly collided with the wild-walking Luke, who couldn’t stay in a straight line for more than two seconds. His erratic behaviour almost led them to share bloody noses.

“Hey, hero, get a life! I’m sure you got a high score, but put down your phone and keep your eyes off of that screen.”

Luke kept walking until he reached the end of the block before he stopped to process what had occurred.

“Huh,” he said, “what was that sound?”

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The Left and Right Side of the Console in Dialogue

Yesterday, I conducted live research on the left and right sides of my video game console. Allow me, dear reader, to make the obvious observation: I do not purport to be a clinical psychologist with years of experience. Furthermore, it’s nearly axiomatic that one should not snoop on another person’s conversations. However, I decided to make an exception for two reasons. First, I do not consider video game consoles to be “persons.” Second, I thought it would be fun.

***

“I’m the left side of the console. I enjoy processing massive amounts of data and turning it into bleeps, bloops and colourful images. I often sit here in the dark and have a dark mood to match.”

“I’m the right side. I like to take the colourful images and sounds that the left side creates and project them on the screen for you to enjoy. We can’t play video games without me!”

“Sure, you so all the work, right side.”

“Oh, brother, this again. You always ruin my good time.”

“Hey, righty, I asked you stop saying ‘always.’ You promised.”

“Yeah, you promised to say more positive things about me when we introduce ourselves to people.”

“Look, righty, I think we’re moving in different directions here. Why don’t we go run some video games together and forget this whole thing ever happened.”

“Sounds good.”

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Where the Video Game Consoles Roam Free

“As you can see, Mr. Pants, we’ve doubled down on making our business socially responsible.”

“I see. It’s very impressive. What’s going on at the corral down there?”

“Those are our free range consoles; we don’t keep them locked up in living rooms. They need fresh air and plenty of space to run properly.”

“Uh huh.”

“Yes siree, our consoles are all certified humane: we treat them with the greatest care.”

“What about the gamers?”

“That’s not part of our business model.”

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