The other day I suddenly got all emo and uninstalled all my online multiplayer computer games
in one fell swoop. I have previously vacillated back and forth with how I feel about being a gaming geek; some days I feel like I've wasted colossal chunks of my time doing it and some days I scoff at that kind of silly crap and accept that for some reason or another, it's been an important part of my life. Both of these things are probably true. Computer gaming got me an internship in California with somebody I'd never met before who then became a great friend of mine, and gaming has, if anything, been immensely helpful to my social skills. As a hobby it's cheap, fun, and accessible. I love the imaginative voyage of single-player games and I love the competitive challenge of online games.
However, I guess I just decided I wanted to try and allocate my time in different ways. A large part of it had to do with my gradual disillusionment with the world of online gaming - its inability to advance beyond anything more than a hedonistic playground for foulmouthed teenagers. There is a vast, VAST untapped potential for this medium. And what do we get? Derivative, uninspiring, and often unfinished pieces of software, designed to be ever more efficient at shocking your senses and testing your reflexes. Overall, computer games have actually gotten noticeably LESS deep and mentally challenging in the last decade, and I think most older gamers would agree with my opinion in that matter.
I disapprove of "quitting" games because it rarely works - usually, just wanting to not do something anymore isn't a good enough motivation - you need something tangible that you'd RATHER be doing that takes you away from the other activity. This is why most people who say they are quitting are full of crap. The people that really quit just disappear from the online world, because they've found something that holds their attention more. I guess we'll see if that happens to me or not.
I won't say that I'm done with games because that would be silly - it's something I like to do, and I try not to say things that could make me a liar in the future. It's just that in the last couple of years, I had a chance to get used to not playing computer games very much, and these have been unquestionably some of the best years I can remember. My life was different in a lot of other ways in the Peace Corps so I can't be too sure that those two things are connected, but I'm going to try this idea for awhile and see how it goes. I feel like I'm doing it for the right reasons now finally - not out of shame or guilt for enjoying a "nerdy" or "childish" hobby, but because I want to move on to other things.