Posted February 17, 2010 by The Gimcracker in Entertainmental
How To Balance Video Games & Facebook
This video presents a conundrum to me. It attacks the video game industry, which obviously offends me. But it also attacks the social media industry, which fills me with great exuberance. I’m left torn and conflicted, bouncing back and forth between emotions, trying to figure out what my overall reaction is. This does not happen to me. The Gimcracker exists to bust you upside your head with knowledge. It is always my goal to f*** you up with some truth. If you can name what show I just quoted I will friend request you on Facebook and follow you on Twitter immediately. Sike. Watch this video and tell me your reaction. I’d love to hear what you think about it:
I think this video attempts to articulate the notion that nothing is good in excess, but things are okay in moderation – with a video game spin. He is not really saying anything new. Though certainly sad that he lost a lot in his life to video games, it really is no different from others who similarly suffer loss because of alcohol, drugs, pornography, zealotry, etc. Anything taken to excess that results in obsession and an inability to balance the important things in life are not good – no matter the form they take.
Also, I thought his comparison section to "all the things I could have done in the time that I played all these video games" was a little skewed. First off, people do the things they are interested in and that provide their life with some sort of value. If it is more valuable to you to play the xbox than to read War and Peace, that is your prerogative. I'm not saying it is the best decision or a better way to spend time, but it is a coice. I don't like the notion that we can be made to feel bad for all the things we did not do in life – but I don't see the value in regret so perhaps I'm biased.
The best part about this video was the emphasis on community – not only in gaming – but in the world at large. I think the value of community can never be underestimated, particularly for those people who enjoy activities that are marginalized. A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending my second ever sci-fi/fantasy convention. It was totally awesome. I have a great community of friends that 100% do not mind my geeky ways, but I could tell that a lot of other people at the convention didn't have that. For them, these geeky gatherings were a way for them to feel connected to a community that valued, rather than judged them. Similarly, I think the need for a community of acceptance is important among gamers. No one benefits from isolation, from feeling alone. A community of support may have helped this man realize he needed more balance in his life, more accountability. Regardless, I think his point remains – nothing is good in excess, moderation is key.
Great points. You expressed what I was thinking when you stated: "people do the things they are interested in and that provide their life with some sort of value." People do things that make them happy to offset the things that make them sad – simple as that. You could not function as a person if you did not do this. Some people go out with friends, some people read War & Peace, some people play video games, some people watch TV, and some people do all of the above.
In excess, I agree that things are bad. However this guy attacks the video game industry, not just overly-addictive playing. He says video games and WoW characters are "not real". What does he mean by "real"? Something you can physically touch? If that's the case, then things like Love, God, and Relationships aren't real. That's where I disagree with him – video games are very very real (much moreso than TV in my opinion) and it's ignorant to state that just because something is virtual mean's it's not real. I guess all that knowledge I gained in college wasn't real either.
Thanks for the comment. As always, superb insights.
I love this video! It helps that he's speaking from experience in a sort of cautionary tale, and I think he really illustrates his point well. I thought that the point at the end was thought-provoking but not well-developed. I agree that things which bring people into **true** relationship can't be all bad but I'm not sure that infrequent gamer conventions can build significant relationships.
Furthermore, I see a huge difference between games like WOW (granted I know NOTHING about WOW, other than that it is apparently an addictive, time-consuming activity), and social networking sites. I also think online communities are not all the same and can be either positive, negative, or more likely a combination of both, and probably vary too much to be lumped together as a single "thing" that is judged to be either “good” or “bad.”
And I don’t think that the idea of moderation makes sense if it means a halfway point between vastly time- and energy-draining destructive addictions vs. total abstinence from them. If someone could play WOW on a very part-time casual basis (say no more than 5 hours a week, which is still arguably a waste of time), then I would not personally get too worried about that, assuming a) they were doing that instead of, not in addition to lots of other merely entertaining activities and thus spending too much time on such activities, b) their participation in the game was not significantly detrimental to their lives and/or health, and c) they weren’t neglecting responsibilities and damaging relationships by engaging in this activity. But I have the impression that it really wouldn’t work to just dabble in WOW; you’re either in or out, right? On the other hand, it’s entirely possible to invest a widely varied amount of time and energy into social networking communities. While you can get addicted to pretty much anything, the nature of a social community may not be as intrinsically addictive as something like WOW. Some people pop in now and again, others never seem to leave, and the rest fall somewhere in-between. This is where moderation makes more sense and seems like a reasonable option to me. Of course, this is assuming that a person chooses a community that has the potential to help them learn and grow and generally move in a positive direction, not one that would contribute to problematic thoughts, actions, and habits.
Thanks for the great comments. I agree that this video is overall good, but it has some lies mixed in with the truths, and it's important not to miss them. You have to take this video in moderation just like you have to take social networking sites and video games.
My biggest problem is that he says video games and characters are "not real". Read my response to Emilee's comment to see why that's baloney.
I have not played WoW in over a year. When I played WoW, I averaged around 5 hours per week, as a matter of fact. I extremely extremely extremely enjoyed playing WoW and I do miss it. That being said, I haven't thought about it even for a second in probably a month. I was not addicted at any point, yet I was able to come and go. Maybe I'm not the norm, but the point is that if I can do it, and it brings me great joy, then there have to be others out there like me, and thus his blanket statements in his video are inaccurate.
One more thing. I am someone who has both played WoW and been heavily involved in social networking sites such as MySpace, Facebook, thesixtyone, and Digg. I can definitely tell you that I made very meaningful relationships (and even increased real life relationships) in WoW – much more so than I ever did on Facebook and the like. WoW is very similar to social networking sites indeed. Sure, WoW has the game element integrated and the whole "level-up" thing, which has been the culprit in all the addiction cases. However, so do social networking sites. Have you ever talked to someone who is trying to increase their Twitter followers? Or someone who is trying to increase their level on thesixtyone? Or someone who is desperately trying to get readers to their blog so they can make more money off ads (or simply have bragging rights for the number of RSS subscribers they have? Or someone who is constantly updating their Facebook profile in an attempt to get as many friends as possible? Let's face it – WoW is very similar to social networking sites. The only difference I can see is that WoW costs money and Facebook is free.
If I didn't have video games in my life, I would fill that time blowing off steam a different way – probably by watching TV. So I'm thankful for video games, especially because video games both A) burn more calories than TV and B) stimulate your mind more than TV.
Thanks for the comments.
Ive just started some hardcore gaming myself, and I am really young, and I know for a fact that I have dodged opportunities to build new friendships and help rebuild old ones.
I know what I need is balance and I know that I wont be happy with it at the start, but I think in the long-run ill be much happier person than what I am now.
I mean to be honest, not all of us have a blue flying box that can bring us back in time?
We really need to take advantage of what we have now, even if your old and think you cant make friends, its alot easier then you think, find people with your common intrests.
Im part of a Guild that regularly meets up even though im not part of that because I dont want them to know my real age, they still make good long lasting friendships, and instead of going to UFC and watching people fight each other in the ring, they go online and help each other fight and play and definitely in a way that brings them closer together as people.
I mean if there was a meaning to life then simply it would just be "happiness" wouldn't it?
And no one is happy alone.
One more thing, for whoever made this would you have any tips what so ever on starting new?
Im not giving up gaming completely but indefinitely cutting back the hours I spend on it.
you can find me at