If I may, allow me to break the fourth wall of buttonmashing for a moment.
As some of you may know, I am an associate pastor of a rural church. One of my primary responsibilities is working with young people. A goal of mine is to lead and encourage them to live in faith, morality, genuineness, and to make an impact. In speaking with young people (who may even be like some of our readers) I am always trying to get them to see what is really important in life. Often in this society—especially in America—we spend most of our lives trying to escape it. Video games, movies, music, books, sports, parties, technology, and other such forms of escapism are moderately not bad, but can consume a person’s life.
Sometimes people forget. Why are we here? Many people think it’s to try and be happy, maybe even by pursuing the escape of life. I don’t think that is the reason. I believe it to be all about the impact we make on those around us. If we build a better life for just ourself, does it make it worth it? How about if we build a better life for another person?
You may have heard of Dr. Randy Pausch and may have seen his “Last Lecture” video. This is a person who doesn’t have long to live but is making an impact on those around him. His escapism is his life. The following is a ten minute presentation he did on Oprah that sums up his initial talk. I believe he gets it. He’s not a gamer (that we know of—he is a geek, however), but he knows about gamer responsibility.
Escaping to the world of video games is not a bad thing. Living the world of video games can be another thing entirely. Who does it benefit?
A few years ago I spent over 2,500 hours in Guild Wars. I have nothing to show for it other than lack of sleep, mini-arguments with my wife, and times lost that I could have spent with my first child during his toddler years. My evenings and Saturdays were full getting ultra-rare intangibles. I learned from that experience, and now I spend most of my time with the two boys I have.
Yes, there are times that we spend playing video games. Other times we read, we draw, we paint, we tell funny stories, we watch birds in the back yard, we travel, we disagree, we agree, and we talk. We live. As a gamer my responsibility is to not always be one. Yes it is something that I like to do, but there are a plethora of things that are more important.
I chose this topic for my first posting on gamer responsibility because I think it goes beyond just playing games. It’s foundational for how we should look at them. It’s foundational for how we should play them. I know that many arguments can be made for being immersed in video game culture, and I’ve not addressed any of them. That’s not what this is about. All I ask is who does living a life of virtuality impact?