I’m sure, like many of you, gaming is an escape. A way to soothe a long days woes, the balm of hurt minds – as it were.
But then you have those days, and those games. And we all have them. I’m having one right now as I’m writing this. One of those days where playing the game you love causes you nothing but frustration. Whether it’s an online game where you can’t seem to get a win to save your life, or it’s that collectible you just can’t find even though you’re 100% you’re in the right area – or just one of those games you sink a couple of hours into only to die and realise – the game hasn’t autosaved since you got up to get a drink…about fifteen minutes after you started playing.
So what do you do when you’re having one of those nights? I know for me, I find myself going on a tilt because of it. I end up playing more when clearly – the answer should be to turn it off. Though, admittedly, I do that too on occasion.
How is it that something that we love doing so much, can also be the source of such agony. And, when it gets to that point – do we need an alternative activity to take our minds off of how much gaming frustrates us? One can liken it to the idea of going on vacation, but then coming back so tired they feel like they need a vacation to recuperate. I know I’ve been there.
It’s a fascinating phenomenon. I can’t recall eating too many meals, only to find myself suddenly hungry for something else.
But as far as passtimes go, being a gamer can be intolerable.
Personally, I think it boils down to passion. I love doing it. So, even though some times I do it to forget about my problems, or to take my mind off of things – like when I’ve had a particularly hard day – it doesn’t mean that it’s going to relax me necessarily. Because I do take it seriously. So losing those games, or that time from when you started to when you died, can end up exacerbating the problems you’re often trying to escape. I have been that guy – yelling at the TV when something doesn’t go my way. And yea, if I’m there trying to relax or calm down – sometimes playing a game isn’t the best plan.
Conversely – I find that playing games on those days and in general, tends to help me resolve some of my problems – or at least free up my higher brain functions to give me some extra computing power.
Today, for example, was one of those days I couldn’t write to save a life. I sat in front of a blank screen for hours, trying in vain to put something substantive down. It just wouldn’t come. But then here I am now, gaming away, having one of those frustrating nights where I can’t seem to play a winner no matter what I do, and finally, this is practically writing itself. So there is definitely something to be said for diverting your focus onto other things – even if they seem to be negative in the short term.
And there is definitely something to be said about the curative nature of gaming. It lets us vent those frustrations that we can’t otherwise, into something healthy and constructive. Even if that means yelling at a computer generated avatar of someone across the country or one that doesn’t even exist. Either way – it’s still catharsis, right? Sometimes even that can be enough.
So as a form of escape – gaming can be both the balm and bane of a sane mind. It can soothe and strain. But at the end of the day, the love of the game is why we continue to do it. At least, that’s the case for me. Let me know how you feel in the comments, on Twitter or Facebook.
– The Ego