Video games. They warp your mind you know. At least that’s what most every ignorant, evangelist, Jack Thompson wannabe would claim. Video games don’t just brainwash you, they downright warp your perception of reality. The thing is, they may be right…
It started innocently enough. I was writing a waltkthrough for Transformers: War for Cybertron. Having had the game at the center of my attention for almost two weeks, my thoughts were frequently on the game. Now, Transformers is a game in which you zoom in a lot. That Decepticon on the horizon is just easier to scrap when you have him larger in your sights.
I was driving along the interstate around this time, running errands. There was a road work sign in the distance. My vision isn’t poor, but it isn’t perfect either. Sometimes, from far away lettering can look a bit fuzzier than it would if I were wearing those glasses I lost back in 2005. Wanting to read the sign I squeezed the left shoulder of the steering wheel. Nothing happened. Frustrated, I squeezed it again. Still nothing. Why wasn’t it working?
It was at this point that I realized I was not playing Transformers. I was in fact driving a car in the real world and no amount of squeezing my steering wheel would make my vision jump forward fifty feet. I am grateful I was alone in the car this time.
I wasn’t alone however, when I went hiking this weekend. Working my way up Mt. Philo with my wife and friend, one of us made a joke about how the fastest way to get back down would be to tuck and roll.
I didn’t laugh. Instead, I wondered why not. It would be faster after all. In fact, why not just jump down the side? It might hurt a bit, but we could just wait for our health to recharge. It worked pretty well in Red Dead Redemption.
My wife noted the contemplation on my face and inquired as to what I was thinking. This swiftly brought me back to reality. Laughing, I admitted my earlier considerations. We didn’t jump down the side of the mountain, in case you’re wondering.
While I’ve thus far managed to be smart enough to snap myself out of these moments of confusion, a part of me is just as disturbed as I am amused. I am, admiteddly, not a person endowed with a lot of common sense. I am fairly certain that if my parents had given me the art supplies that I would have attempted to paint a door on the walls of our house, a la Wiley Coyote. That said, that’s usually something you grow out of isn’t it?
Granted, I’m sure everyone has small instances of thought that later on reveal themselves to be silly, but I can’t help but wonder if maybe this is a sign that I play too many video games. Perhaps, I should take a bit of time to read more, clear out some of my Netflix queue or even (and here’s a radical idea) write more of that book I’ve been working on.
Video game are just such a draw, though. I may not be a WoW addict, sustaining myself on Hot Pockets, but that doesn’t mean I can’t understand the joy of that brand of escapism that only gaming can offer. In the real world, I’m just your average guy. I work, come home and try to convince myself that my pudgy belly hasn’t gotten any larger despite the two eclairs I ate for lunch. Turn on a game and I’m an armored medieval tank cracking Darkspawn in the face with my shield. I’m an X-Wing pilot gleefully trying to destroy the Death Star over Endor. I’m freaking Batman.
But I’m not, and in the coming weeks I’m going to make sure I remember that. I may have bested the Joker in Arkham Asylum, but that doesn’t mean I should start flinging batarangs in real life. Maybe I should just focus on the good stuff in the real world. Like my wife…and bacon! Mmm…I’m heading to Wendy’s.