Sunday, November 17, 2013
WHAT I LEARNED EMOTIONALLY FROM VIDEO GAMES
Let me preface by saying I use the term "gamer" lightly. Having worked in the video game industry for almost 6 years, I can't claim to be on same level as my colleagues. I don't own a headset and to me "MMO" sounds like a genetically modified beef cut. I dabbled in console gaming with my PS3 but my heart belongs to IOS games. It started with Angry Birds, plateaued with Draw Something, reinvigorated with Cut The Rope and solidified with Rayman Jungle Run. (Throw in some Minion Rush for flavoring). As someone who hadn't played a game since the PC gem "You Don't Know Jack", it was a slow but complete conversion to video game lover.
I have learned some incredible life lessons over the past few years and sometimes it's shocking that it came from an unexpected place: video games. They have changed me.......emotionally. SAY WHAT? But video games are for killing war criminals and stabbing robots! Don't put your touchy feely emotional awareness on this! But here are some of the lessons I gleaned from my cube.
IT'S OKAY TO START OVER
Until now, I thought of life as a linear experience. Time moves forward, we make mistakes but you cant go back and change the past. You can only move forward. But with video games you CAN start over. Sometimes I get a few seconds into my mission and decide I don't like where this is going and I start over. Easily. Bing bang, we're back at the beginning with a clean slate but to an extent I know what to expect so I am confident in going back to the front and foraging forward. I cant go back to the first day of high school but I can make a decision to end something in the middle and start over. For instance, if I am making dinner and this pork isn't rendering the way it did on the Youtube video, I can scrap it and start again. At work, if I am writing a script and it's sucking, I can start over. We don't ALWAYS have to muddle through a situation we've created for ourselves and be a martyr. Start over! Rayman does it all the time.
ACHIEVE NOTHING LESS THAN PERFECTIONDid you know that video games are the perfect breeding ground for Type A overachievers? In school you get straight A's but after college, everything is relative. There is very little opportunity for undeniable perfection in life other than while playing video games. No one in your job or your relationships can honestly say you are the BEST at what you are doing but on Cut The Rope you KNOW if you ate all the stars and finished with all the points, you won. It's black and white. There is no point in just playing a game if it's not for a perfect score if you ask me and THAT my friends is the source of all my woe in reality. Play to win. And no one can make you feel like a horrible greedy success monger in a game.
FREE YOURSELF FROM GENDER
Most of my life I give into the reality that I live in a man's world. Men get the promotions, men get the better salaries and men have the last say. In video games, I am genderless. I am a bird or a blob or a brain or a gun. I am not the girl who sometimes cries at work, or has PMS or is an incredibly greedy friend. I just need to cut that rope and feed that frog OR ELSE HE WILL DIE. Is that what it feels like to be a man? Sign me up in another life, please! We should all aim to be more like pacman eating dots.
TIME SUCKS ARE REALLY FUN
I could be writing, reading, changing the world, volunteering, sewing, cooking, calling my parents, paying my bills, cleaning my apartment, making small talk with neighbors, hiking, exercising, working, writing my will, traveling, seeing comedy, listening to podcasts, dancing, catching up with my grandparents, finally making my wedding album, learning spanish or painting my nails but for this 10 minutes before I do all those things, give me a break. It's my life. I'll suck time if I want! I learned that I can eat cake for breakfast or play this game instead of washing my car and everything will be okay.