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    Heed the warning: Game Over

    30th January 2007

    Avoid playing computer games.

    The life of a human being is short, definitely short – not enough to travel, invent, implement, act… just because one always has ideas and projects and dreams. If one doesn’t have any of these – one is nearly “dead”, as there’s nothing behind that person.

    Some people say that it’s worth living in order to “make a difference”, to improve something, to push the evolution – any evolution, be it the improvement of education or dedicated environmentalism. What do you “improve” playing computer games? Evidently, you support the computer game industry, which recruits more and more game zombies, withdrawing them from reality, depriving them of the ability to make a difference, and gaining more and more support, growing larger.

    Playing computer games is already a kind of a sub-optimal virtual reality, where one can hide from real life. Suboptimal, because as of now it lacks complete sensual dive – only visual and audio contacts, both handicapped to the extent correlated with hardware and software used. But still, it’s a reality – because MMORPGs are highly addictive, and even single-player games are addictive as well.

    Think of this virtual reality in this way: when you start playing and like the gameplay, you already lose some part of your precious lifetime. As you lose it, your contacts with real world get weaker – so you may spend more time diving into your favourite VR. This process repeats until you maintain only the basic links to the real world – like going to the bathroom once in a while, or getting some food to snatch promptly and continue playing. As you do like your VR, and being interrupted angers you, you start disliking and even hating real life – for the hardships it has in gaining some social recognition, in earning your living, in achieving anything at all. You prefer the other way – the way it’s done in your VR: with magic, dragons, simple economics model, and especially – ability to save and reload as needed.

    The ability to save/reload/restart/pause is a key which makes a difference between your VR and what we call real life. This is a kind of super-control of time and space at your fingertips. This is why you do like the game, even if you get killed once in a while. In reality you cannot pause time, you cannot save and revert back to previous state, you cannot just easily restart – your life is adding up to what you have and what you can do at the moment.

    One can spend years playing a single game, being half-human for that cause – with no real-life ambitions, dreams and ideas. Eventually, the game is studied all across – all the maps are known, all the scripted characters predictable, nothing more to gain or possibly just no more charm and thrill in the game. Swimming out from the private VR, the VR diver finds that nothing had actually changed in his/her life while in the VR. Nothing improved, something probably got worse. Some worldwide events happened (bombings, wars, hungers, pandemics, disasters), but they do not matter – so what if they happened? Nothing makes a difference for a person swimming out from VR, just the desire to dive back – to hide, actually – and continue living as a screen-bound vegetable, getting fat, dumb, and old. Or just getting older – still, the time is wasted.

    For the most of the people who play computer games I was evidently over-exaggerating. But not for all. Some people really get stuck that strong. And – believe me, as once I was going the same wrong way – it’s very hard to stop the VR insanity.

    It was only the understanding of permanently losing time, which will never come back or be given again, that kicked me off the wrong path. Fortunately, I didn’t yet spend years playing – only months in a row, like a gameaholic, with severe back-to-reality remission periods.

    I want this message to reach those who feel they are getting addicted to their own private VRs, and probably those who are already similar to what I described. STOP before it’s not too late. Do not think that you still have time – you will regret it, believe me. You will regret every single minute spent wasting you real-life time. Also, keep in mind that some people already died just because they spent 16 hours a day playing computer games… (no links here, you may have heard of these cases, just search for them)

    I can think of only one exclusion and excuse: if someone wants to win the world computer games championship. This case is not within the scope of this post, I’ll just leave it out.

    I know that lots of people play computer games and hour or two daily, and that they are completely normal and do not get addicted. These are fortunate or just strong/clever enough to limit the escape instinct. But still – is wasting 2*365/24=~30 full days a year in front of the screen a good thing? This means playing the whole year in a 12-year period. This means wasting 1/12 of your lifetime for nothing sensible or important.

    Heed the warning. Learn from the mistakes of others, or at least learn from your own mistakes.

    Do not ignore real life – it’ll get you at the end anyway.


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