Flex, Lies and Video Games

All I can say is that I’m glad that personal computers weren’t around when I was a kid. If they had been, I’d weigh 500 lbs, have coke bottle glasses and have no friends that weren’t virtual.

I have a problem. I am addicted to online computer games. Currently, it’s Mahjong II – apparently Mahjong I was so popular they decided to improve it. But that’s the current phase. Before that? Spider, Solitaire, Text Twist, Collapse, Glinx and the list goes on and on. It was innocent enough at first, ‘oh looky here, what’s this. this might be fun.’ Hours later, bleary-eyed, full-bladdered, starving and exhausted I wondered what it was I actually got on the computer to do. Beats me.

There’s a little hook in all of these games or at least the ones I’ve played. The trick is, there is always one screen or level that you can’t quite win. You tell yourself, “If I could just get through this level, I’m done.” Right. They know you can’t get through the level because there is no trick or pattern, it’s random, it’s a bunch of mathematical equations, buzzing through cyberspace at a bagillion bite thingies a second. And the longer you try to get through that level, the more tired you become and less alert and of course now that your brain is fried you won’t ever be able to do it. Or…maybe occasionally, you actually do hit pay dirt. The win is so anti-climatic that you now have to see if you can do it two times in a row. Has anybody got an Advil?

I’ve resolved a bagillion times to just stop. Cold turkey. Stupid video games, I have much better things to do with my time. My brain was meant for bigger challenges. I have a life to live, places to go, people to meet. But then the little whiney computer addict voice chimes in “It relaxes you. Just do it to wind down for a few minutes. Half hour tops.” The next thing you know it’s one o’clock in the morning and even your dog has gone to bed. So, what is a slightly OCD’d writer to do? How can I stop? Where and how will I ever get that lost time back?

Maybe I should take up Yoga or Tai Chi. I should walk the dog. Blow up my computer. Become a vegetarian? I don’t know but I’ve got to stop. Cocaine was never this tough. What do you do? I know you all have the same problem maybe not as bad as mine, but admit it – you too get on the mindless computer game train. It passes the time. You don’t have to think or worry or solve problems, beyond getting to that next level. It’s your secret addictive behavior that you don’t admit to. It’s your little luxury of brainlessness that you don’t want to give up either. But I’m telling you friends, that we must revolt! We must just say no and walk away. We must not look into the light or watch the scoreboard. We must get clean and straight and work on those novels, poems, posts, school play costumes and dinner!

Are you with me? πŸ˜‰

WC

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11 thoughts on “Flex, Lies and Video Games

  1. Could it be? i am first!

    i am a spider-head. i play the four suits and i play to win, jack. And when i win, i play to win three- not two, not four, but three consecutive times. There can be no losses in between or i have to start over. It’s that i am focused on something that does not require me to move. Time passes quickly and it’s better than smoking. Have i rationalized enough?

    My husband hates when i open spider. He can’t stand the constant clicking of the mouse or having to talk to my back. i don’t play often when he or the kids are home because i realize that i can become consumed. But for me, it’s whatever’s handy- spider, pyramid, cigarettes, cookies, good books, laundry. i’m easily hooked.

    Very insightful observation, Chica. i don’t think we notice what we’re doing most of the time.

    P.S. i’ve tried mah jong and sudoku. Those games truly piss me off.

    Indeed you are the first Christine. Ain’t you lucky? πŸ˜‰

    Oh I was a spiderhead for a long time. You know I may have had the three in a row rule too. LOL – I think we make up these rules just so we can keep playing – at least, I’m pretty sure I did.

    You may be right, we don’t notice what we’re doing a lot of the time. Maybe that could be something I should consider. I should start paying attention to what I’m doing. Think that would work?

    Never tried sudoku – but mahjong it’s a tough habit to break. πŸ˜‰

    WC

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  2. i know that i don’t pay attention. i play spider and *poof* an hour of my life gone. Just like that. Crazy, innit?

    Oh yeah, it’s big crazy. What’s wrong with us? πŸ˜†
    WC

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  3. I , err, totally have no such addiction. Nope. None whatsoever.

    Ok, maybe I lied. I love to play those pointless mind waster games, especially those that are boring beyond belief. I dunno why, but the more mind-numbing, the better.

    I’ll bet there’s a video game quitting support group lurking somewhere on the internet.

    You’re probably right but if you find one, never tell me how to find them. πŸ˜†
    WC

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  4. i’m all about typer shark and diner dash. i am one of those dorks who thinks it’s cool to constantly test her typing skills and then tell people i can type like 90 wpm and they will really fucking care. kinda like how i just told you.

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  5. The next thing you know it’s one o’clock in the morning and even your dog has gone to bed.

    This one is so my life! The dog gives you this look of disgust at 1am, sighs and plods upstairs, shaking his head and thinking “I just don’t know what I’m going to do about her.” Mahjong II you say?? I’m looking that one up now.

    Yeah my dog should hook up with your dog, then they can complain about us to each other.

    Hey if you get hooked on Mahjong, I take no responsibility. I warned you. πŸ˜†
    WC

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  6. No, not with you on this one. In the days of pacman and space invaders I put $80.00 worth of quarters in a machine in a bar once and when it was gone realized – I’ve got a problem and I can’t play these games, can’t gamble…… and I’ve stuck with that. Just can’t go near them.

    Speaking of novels….. and agents?? Been working on it? Yanno, I realized I don’t even know what your book is about – is that under wraps or a state secret or am I just ignorant of what it is?

    Thinking of you.

    Peace and books.

    ~ RS ~

    Hey Roobs,
    Wow, you got your lesson early on. Maybe I should have done that. I will have to think about that. πŸ˜‰

    Yes, still waiting to hear back from a few – I’ll let you know if anything comes in a good way.

    Nope, not a state secret at all. It’s a murder mystery about a college kid who sets out to approave an acquitted defendent is guilty and will get her to confess to the crime. If you want more of a description, email me. Given the publicness of the internet, I’m chary to be any more specific.

    WC

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  7. Just solitare. Nothing special and no, I do not play often – my mom, however, stays up playing until the wee hours of the night! It’s addicting for some folks. Me, I’m addicted to sleep 😦

    Hey Bella,
    Now I’d love to be addicted to sleep – that way I’d get a whole lot more of it. Unfortunately, I don’t get that much sleep. It would be much better than Mahjong though, for sure. πŸ˜‰
    WC

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  8. oh … i used to be addicted to mahjong, eep, the memories of withdrawel, the beckoning forward, try again … no … am not going to get myself lured back into it all πŸ˜‰

    Hey D!
    Yeah, that little beckoning voice is very persuasive. Stay strong. πŸ˜‰
    WC

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  9. oh the 4 suit spider solitaire, i think i literally lost hair over it….I’m not familiar with mahjong, BUT just the thought of it being that addictive frightens me…but i feel you on this, I was also a huge PS2 gamer as well…I’d look up and it’d be 4 am…all those times I sat down at the computer to WRITE….:)

    Yeah…you know I remember being very resistive to getting a computer and the internet way back when. I really loved my old typewriter and the peace and quiet. Then I got the computer because I reasoned it would be so much easier to proofread and edit, correct typos… and it was. Then having the computer made me jealous of all those people out there having fun on the Internet – so I got an internet connection. Now I long for the quiet days of sitting in coffee shops and writing by hand then going home and transcribing on my typewriter. Funny, eh?
    WC

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  10. Where’d you find that picture, WC? It’s like Darth Vader on steroids. πŸ˜‰

    My problem isn’t so much games (I play them but I’ve always had the power to stop) as much as general distraction. I’ve learnt the hard way that I can’t have more than 2 windows open at a time or I’ll never focus and get any work done. I came on to write a couple of posts the other day and stopped by the WP forums first to lend a hand – 5 hours later I realised it was 1am and I’d been so busy helping, I’d forgotten to write my posts.

    I’m a big solitaire fan myself, and I love Tetris; I found a flash Tetris game online and that’s my latest craze. When it comes to writing, though, I’m with you – we need to get rid of any distractions and just run on inspiration! That’s why I write by hand – no distractions if you’re just staring at the paper. Only doubts in the back of your head. πŸ˜›

    Hey CJ,
    I found it on google images – yes it is darth vader on steroid. πŸ˜†

    I am the same as you. I come on to write posts and something catches my attention, then I’m off to the races, later wondering where the time got to. I’ve started writing by hand again too. At least I try to get the gist of it down first before I fire up the computer. Just what we need, more distractions. πŸ˜‰
    WC

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