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#1 Saphroziac


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Posted 20 December 2015 - 11:14 PM

Alright boys and girls.

It's about time I wrote about this subject because it has been brought up with me and my parents quite often for we both take opposing views on them.


I sit here now in retrospect,  remembering my childhood; which was not long ago for I am about 20 years old.

Looking back I realize that video games played a HUGE part in me growing up. They played such a large part of my life in fact that even today I still play video games because they just keep getting better and better. I remember in elementary school I played a game named Banjo and Kazooie on the Nintendo 64 and then later into Ratchet and Clank on the Playstation 2. Additionally into Middle and High School I played Star Wars Battlefront and Age of Mythology on my mother's Macintosh computer. Furthermore into Halo 3  and Call of Duty on the XBox and finally World of Warcraft on the PC.


For understanding about how far Video games have come take a look at this video because it looks fucking REAL.


Video games played a significant role in my social life too because the "Cool" kids played the games that were violent which my parents never allowed me to play. I went over to friends houses where we played Gory, and violent games like Medal of Honor. The more adult-like the better. When friends would come over to my house we played video games all day. I remember before all this when I was very very young I had a neighbor directly behind me who was my best friend. We played outside with water balloons, and skateboarded on my mini ramp, unfortunately he moved away, I never saw him again and that was when the outside life ended.


My parents signed me up on the Baseball and Soccer to compensate, I never really liked sports because I thought they were boring. I wasn't all for "Physical activity" I was more in the realm of "Mental activity" (as why I am on this site) I would always space out so I was never very good at any sports. 

Now to give you guys some context I was never a social butterfly. Didn't have a lot of friends, nor did I really make any new ones.

School did not have my passion or interest, my mind was ridden with anxiety and confusion about my place in society. 


The only place I had which gave me pleasure and connection was video games. At this point I would play alone; but I wasn't really alone because I could be with 1-24-40 different people at once all playing the same game communicating via voice headset.  We all explored the endless possibilities of the digital world. Games brought us together and we had so much fun. Every day we would log in at the same time and play for hours. 


You see my parents didn't like this. Not one bit. 

They thought video games were an addiction, like a drug.

But it was really a lifestyle.  They thought the friends I made Online were not "real" friends, but the problem was the ones who they thought were "Real friends" on the soccer and baseball teams I could not relate with and who I did not like very much. In the virtual there is no social pecking order, everybody is friendly for the most part.

My parents tried to pry me away from video games as much as they could, and still give me shit for the most part.

This is where we disagree across a schism of understanding. 


Looking back I do not regret AT ALL the time I spent playing video games. It was so much fucking fun I would go back and do it again.

I do have balance mind you, I have a love and passion for backpacking. I appreciate the outdoors and have spent much time out in the wilderness.

I love deep breaths of fresh air and drinking pure spring water. I try to meditate and now I have a passion for school and all things learning. But the existential crisis that youth comes with was quite the struggle; but a struggle we are lucky to have.


As far as computers today society and the workforce is becoming more and more dependent on computers. It is becoming necessary for people to learn how to use a computer very well.  My dream job, Lighting Design for live music shows will be entirely dependent on my ability to program lights to music. In this day so much is possible with computers that it seems like one is missing out on SOOOO much if one does not have a computer. 


It seems like people from earlier generations like my parents are trying to hold on to the way their childhood unfolded by rejecting video games completely. This does not let the new age of the Digerati come about. It doesn't make sense to me to deprive a kid of technology; I had so much fun in my childhood because of video games that it fills me with happiness to think about. Since Video games have evolved so far into the modern age I can't see how a kid is going to relate with their peers w/out experiencing technology. Additionally, I know the internet opens up all sorts of ways for kids to see violence, gore, and sex and to that I say it's all yours kid, welcome to the world we live in.


Additionally, video games have the power to connect people from around the world. They can connect family members and friends who are far away and bring together communities with similar interests.


What do you guys think of video games and technology in general? Is it healthy in a balanced life? Is it necessary for the way the world is evolving?

Edited by Saphroziac, 20 December 2015 - 11:17 PM.

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#2 TVCasualty


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Posted 21 December 2015 - 06:06 PM

My family got one of the first game consoles, namely this one (the Magnavox Odyssey, which was basically just Pong):


So I grew up playing a lot of video games, but mostly restricted to 8-bit (since it was the state-of-the-art for most of my childhood). Since Pong and the Atari 2600 were not particularly enthralling, I also spent a LOT of time running around outside lighting things on fire and such.

I could never get into FPS games like Call of Duty ever since I lived in a tent in the woods (then a strawbale house) for years while battling a horde of trespassing redneck poachers. I was carrying real guns while stalking others who carried real guns (and they had night-vision gear too). I got my girlfriend at the time up to speed on combat-shotgun tactics so at least I wasn't dealing with it all by myself (the look on the salesman's face at the gun store when she requested a "ghost ring" sight for her 12 ga. was priceless; it's an accessory that's usually only bought by cops on the SWAT team).

Ever since that experience (which lasted ~6 years and I was off the grid the whole time so couldn't use a computer or TV anyway), video games just bore me to tears within about 5 minutes. I think that's partly because our options within games are (by definition) tightly-constrained to within the arbitrary rules of the game. It's why I can't stand Chess and always avoided martial arts competitions or the MMA scene (I didn't want my reflexive responses to be similarly constrained, and when you're dealing with redneck poachers or a street fight, habituated constraints can get us killed).

Put me in the ring (or octagon, as it were) with a mid-level MMA competitor and I can say with total confidence I would look like a total fool and they would hand me my ass real quick. But put us on the street and I'd even send the reigning heavyweight UFC champion to Intensive Care (or the morgue) real quick. To me, the ring/octagon is like a game (video or otherwise): Lots of rules and relatively low stakes. The street is like reality: No rules and extremely high stakes. I consciously chose to train for "reality" and have never, ever regretted it. Incidentally, training to be a lighting designer is training for "reality," too because design is only limited by your imagination and the stakes (making a decent living at it) are relatively high.

What's funny about how boring I find most games is that while I'll get antsy in only a few minutes while sitting in front of a monitor playing a game, I can (and have) sat mostly-still in one spot in the woods for several days straight.

What's not funny at all is this finding from a recent study (emphasis mine):



In 11 studies, we found that participants typically did not enjoy spending 6 to 15 minutes in a room by themselves with nothing to do but think, that they enjoyed doing mundane external activities much more, and that many preferred to administer electric shocks to themselves instead of being left alone with their thoughts. Most people seem to prefer to be doing something rather than nothing, even if that something is negative.

Source: http://www.sciencema...ent/345/6192/75

IMO, it appears to be very easy to get way out of balance with tech and video games; if I were unable to sit alone with my thoughts in a room for 10 minutes without administering electric shocks to myself then I'd conclude that something was seriously wrong with me (because there would be!). That would be indicative of an addictive/pathological relationship to our electronic devices, and suggests it's time to disconnect and focus on some inner work for a while (namely meditation and eventually a Vision Quest).

Also, the pace of our increasingly-digital world is so fast (and getting faster) that we really don't have time to process the data points we become aware of before the next chunk of information is thrown at us, then the next, and so on. That leaves us in the position of being smothered by the "dots" while lacking a way to cohesively connect them (and connecting the dots is what ultimately makes data useful at all). If we can sense this happening to us, I would strongly recommend unplugging for a while and focusing on the "whys" instead of all the "whats" for a change.

Basically, video games are inherently neutral but can be detrimental to our quality of life if we lack the introspective ability to spot when we're developing unhealthy habits involving them. One good test would be a Vision Quest Lite; just go sit in a nice quiet spot in the bushes (no expansive and therefore distracting views; I'm talking dense bushes) for 24 hours. Bring water and snacks and a comfy pad. Then several weeks later do it again but for 48 hours. Then try it without food for 24, then again for 48, and if you want to eventually build up to the full version of the real thing (4 days and 4 nights, alone, with just water and a blanket). Do your homework before fasting for more than a day though since there are some details you need to attend to (e.g. don't eat grapes to break a long fast or you may sorely regret it).

If you can tolerate the "Vision Quest Lite" exercises without going batshit crazy (everyone goes a little nuts for brief periods during the full, 4-day version; that's part of the point) then you're probably okay in the reality vs. gaming balance department. If a mere 24 hours flips your shit then you might want to consider taking a break until that balance is reestablished.

The fact that most people in the study referenced above could only handle a few minutes before they started losing it is pretty sad; they'll be the among the very first wave of post-collapse fatalities, which will be a huge wave indeed and most of us will probably live to see it arrive. For example, our own gov't has studied the likely effects of a significant EMP shutting down our grid. In their hypothetical scenario it was caused by North Korea detonating a nuke at the right altitude to maximize the EMP effects over North America (which is plausible, but probably less-likely than a random solar flare or massive CME; imagine if this happened today).

Their best-case scenario was this (quote is from Forbes, December 2014):


The EMP Commission, which was set up after 9/11, estimated that within 12 months of an EMP event, two-thirds of the US population would likely perish from starvation, disease and societal breakdown. Other experts estimate the likely loss to be closer to 90 percent.

What a friend of mine familiar with this topic (he worked for gov't for years) told me was a lot scarier; he said the study was downplaying the threat. While it might take a year to lose between 75%-90% of the population, the VAST majority of those deaths will occur within the first seven days (according to the version of the study not released to the public). So about 90% of that 90% are gone in the first week or so.

So whether thanks to a massive solar flare, a nearby Gamma Ray Burst, or a lunatic with nuclear capability it's safe to say that our digital/electrical paradigm is ultimately a brief (but intense!) anomaly in our history. That's why I prefer to train for no-rules, anything-goes "reality" most of the time (we can be the 10%!).



#3 Juthro


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Posted 21 December 2015 - 06:43 PM

I admit it, I'm a closet gamer. Ever since my folks got us kids pong for x-mas. I still like a good video game, though I generally prefer a good interactive strategy over shooting a bunch of tango's (though that can be satisfying at times).

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