Bear with me. I’ve just played COD: Black Ops so this may be a little off subject as it talks about computer games and not very much about comics. As 2010 runs out and the New Year’s hurtles towards me with new resolutions I realise that my greatest wish for 2011 is to have more time. I’m not talking about altering our working week to something more aligned to Neptune’s but more time to do the things I love; after all being a geek is a busy occupation. Everyone has a little nerd in them, whether it is the more mainstream pastimes or the mainstays of geekdom such as comics, gaming and an exhaustive knowledge of Tim Burton movies.
I play a lot of beat ‘em ups. Right now there is a stack of unwatched DVDs, some still in their wrapper, eyeing me contemptuously from the corner of the room. An equal number of books look down on me from the shelf but it is gaming that has taken the real kicking in between other activities that keep you a fully functional, valued member of the human race. This is a worrying trend that I can only see getting worse as game hours spiral ever upwards. I’m lucky in some respects. I get to read comic books and browse the Internet calling it research, and I do have to sleep at some point so films do get watched before bed. However, gaming has been reduced to quick bouts of button mashing and anything that threatens to be a totally immersive experience gets shelved for something a little more passive. I like to sit back and be told a story. Too get that truly all encompassing experience with interactive media you need more than half an hour in between the commute from the office and the inevitable commute back the next morning.
What is he complaining about I hear you say. There are plenty of games still being made that are consumable in a Godfather trilogy sized chunk but it’s the guilt, the niggling feeling in the back of my mind that stops me from really enjoying firing a MP44 at an enemy US soldier or slaughtering a village of peaceful Elf folk. The notion that all my time and effort would be better spent in the real world doing neither these things wins out every time. A valuable skill I have learnt after many remorseful hours immediately succeeding several hours of open ended game play. Like many of my contemporaries who have almost failed courses or taken a self authorized duvet-day, I find these vast open world games can be addictive. Raising stats, completing quests, befriending that NPC can be very rewarding but never personally as rewarding as being fitter, happier, more productive in the real world.
Although as a child and teen I spent days playing computer games on my Amiga 600 alone and with friends, as I’ve grown older I have come to realise I may still be part of the old guard that, to paraphrase Nicholas Negroponte in his book Being Digital, still value atoms over bytes. CDs are more valuable than mp3s, paper comics are more valuable than their digital counterparts but above these, time spent in the ‘real world’ rather than a virtual one is priceless. I don’t have enough time in one life to do all the things I want to do let alone a second one.
Sometimes I wish I was like John Barret from the ill-fated comic series ‘Rest’. First of all I would look like Milo Ventimiglia but secondly I would never have to sleep. Medical experts say that sleep is essential for survival and I tend to agree with them. A week long binge of late nights and energy drinks has taught me that much. However, consider the benefits of a sleepless existence. You could finally turn that idea you’ve had into a novel, maybe catch up with that friend you haven’t spoken to for a while or even take in that art exhibition you’ve been meaning to visit. Although I’m sure the majority of us would just end up playing video games. And I would join them.
Anyway have to go. Thanks for your time.
Last edited by KennyJeffery; Wednesday, November 10, 2010 at 10:26 PM.