Friday, March 18, 2011

On Videogames

I, unfortunately, like videogames.

I always have. From the first NES to the Wii, I have played all sorts of games over the years. Typically I enjoy strategy games, RPGs or flight sims, but they are a challenge I've always kind of enjoyed.

Now that I have decided to try a writing career, however, I am faced with a difficult choice to make. Do I abandon videogames completely for the sake of working on my stories, or is it possible to enjoy this hobby while still producing enough work to make writing feasible?

On the one hand, the benefits of giving up videogames are obvious. More time available for writing means I will most likely get more writing done. I will need to focus and work hard in order to make this plan work. I've also heard multiple times from other authors or creators that they needed to leave videogames behind because they were a distraction they could no longer afford. Given how obsessed I can get with games that I enjoy, I can understand perfectly well how that would be necessary.

At the same time, I likely need some kind of hobby to blow off stream or reduce stress. If I don't play the occasional videogame, will I just waste the time watching TV on Hulu, or surfing something like TVTropes or Wikipedia? Would that really make me more productive, or just channel my wasted idle time in new, equally useless directions? If I can excercise self control with those options for my idle time, why shouldn't I be able to do so with videogames? Perhaps I am just coming up with reasons to not give them up, but the questions are still relevant to my internal debate.

So if you guys have any opinions on the issue, just let me know. I hope you are all doing well, and I will see you later!


  1. In high school/college, I'd always let myself play video games during finals week, to relax between tests and studying. My husband recently introduced me to a great game (Minecraft) and now I play it sometimes to relax...especially if I know I'm not going to get any productive writing done because I'm super-stressed. If the video game isn't an end in and of itself, I think it can work.

  2. I've wrestled with the same dilemma, and found that it helps to find simple, short games to play, like a quick fps or an old abandonware DOS arcade/simulater. I can blow off steam, but come back after ten minutes and continue the writing.

    Another solution, of course, is that you could replace your video game playing time with reading books. Jeff Vandermeer made a very good point in one of his books that reading a novel helps to undo the mental fragmentation that too much internet can do to you.