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The Life of Having No Life?
June 21st 2002, 19:41 CEST by Mank

I recently turned 38, and gaming has always occupied a large portion of my private time since I purchased my first computer(C-64). But the past year or two has seen a dramatic shift in the effects that Real Life has had on the amount of time I am able to spend on gaming related activies. Many of my long time online acquaintances have slowly dissapeared over the past few years, with Real Life demands being the common factor in thier decision to give up gaming almost completely. I've seen numerous web personalities shut down sites, or simply walk away because they don't have the time nor the energy anymore. I've been wondering: Do we all eventually become slaves to the grind, or is being a gamer worth making personal sacrifices for? Or do we all reach a point of burnout at some point?

Paying the bills, and having a job are two things that I've done without hesitation since I moved away from home at the age of 19, and I was almost always able to enjoy 6-8 hours of gaming per day after work, and 12-18 hour sessions on the weekends were not uncommon. I've been called reclusive by some family members who think my gaming hobby is a joke, while they sit in thier recliners with a remote in thier laps watching TV....go figure.

A recent career change has put me in the position of not being able to spend anywhere near the amount of time gaming that I used to. I never considered how my gaming life would be impacted by a career change, and finding that happy medium has been difficult at best. I know that most of the Crappers who post here consider themselves to be fairly hardcore gamers, and represent a rather diverse group of individuals ranging from game designers, to website and marketing personalities. So, let me ask of you:

Is gaming worth the arguments with the spouse/partner over the cost of a new computer or piece of new hardware, or the added cost of that kick ass DSL line? Do you eventually lose interest in gaming as you grow older? Do I take a bong hit and tie a permanent knot in a hemp rope necklace and sing happy songs till Doom3 comes out?
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#1 by "Anonymous"
2002-06-21 19:43:51
How is it any more of a 'sacrifice' than watching a movie or reading? You have no free time or extra time for yourself? Sounds depressing. I'm sure I'll always have 4 or so hours a week I can waste playing a game.
#2 by LPMiller
2002-06-21 19:44:08
lpmiller@gotapex.com http://www.gotapex.com
Yes. And no.

I believe I can fly......urk.
#3 by Phayyde
2002-06-21 19:49:44
Spending hours of real-life time playing computer games is exactly like spending hours of computer game time reading books.  Exactly like it.

Beat to fit, paint to match.
#4 by Warren Marshall
2002-06-21 19:57:04
http://www.wantonhubris.com/
Yeah, I've always found that funny .. my family would bitch about how much time I spent on the computer, all the while spending 2-3 hours a night watching TV.  I never understood the logic ...

"It's pretty common for pussies, dumbasses, and their families to blame their problems on vague influences like the media and society. The truth is, fuck you."
#5 by Leslie Nassar
2002-06-21 19:57:27
http://departmentofinternets.com
No, Yes, No.

i like monkeys.  are you a monkey?
#6 by Mister Nutty
2002-06-21 19:57:45
You're full of it Phayyde.

Nobody ever went crazy and killed people after reading a book!!!

Books are full of great wisdom.  Like The Bible for instance.  

Whereas most games are nothing more than murder simulators.

Smashing!
#7 by jjohnsen
2002-06-21 19:58:44
http://www.johnsenclan.com
Is gaming worth the arguments with the spouse/partner over the cost of a new computer or piece of new hardware, or the added cost of that kick ass DSL line? Do you eventually lose interest in gaming as you grow older? Do I take a bong hit and tie a permanent knot in a hemp rope necklace and sing happy songs till Doom3 comes out?


Sometimes.
No.
Whatever gets you off.

My wife doesn't care if I upgrade the computer as long as I can still buy clothes for my child, and don't stop spending time with her.

I'm twenty-eight.  I still have as much interest in PC gaming as ever, but the love of consoles is slowly going away.
#8 by Caryn
2002-06-21 19:59:30
carynlaw@pacbell.net http://www.hellchick.net
I'm not the norm, I guess, given that my job is games. When it wasn't, I always spent 2-3 hours a night playing something and a lot more on the weekends. But now I can't spend that kind of time just to preserve my sanity -- I can't spend 8-10 hours working around games and then spend another 2-3 playing them. If I do, I have to play something completely different than the games I work with just to make sure I don't get burned out.

Fortunately for me, the games I work with today are the very kind that I've always enjoyed playing, and working with them hasn't dulled my enjoyment of them (and the fact that I love them is important to my job -- the day I stop is the day I need to start looking for another line of work). But I could see that if I spent my work time working with them and all of my free time playing with them, I'd get seriously burned out. To avoid that, I tend to roll my fun playing time into my work as much as I can. For instance, I run a Wolf fan-made maps server that I promote officially, and since part of my job is to foster the map/mod community, it's okay that I occasionally jump into a game to check something out. That's when I can kick back for a few and play for fun as well as work. About two or three times a week, depending on my mood, I'll jump onto a Wolf or SoF2 server for fun after I'm done with work for the day and play a few rounds. But for blowing-off-steam purposes, my game of choice is still Quake III Arena...and I just realized that I haven't really played that at all in the past couple of months. I need to fix that.

Once I've finished work and maybe played for kicks for a few, I get off the computer and away from games for most of the night (I'll usually get back on for an hour or so before bed to either do other stuff or play some Civ III). I spend the rest of my free time on very non-gaming hobbies: I'm either writing, reading, or I knit (or spin my own yarn, took that up recently). Mostly I knit and hang out with the husband.

Make fun of the fact that I knit and I'll stab you with my knitting needles.

If I didn't work with games I'd probably have a serious problem spending most of my free time playing them; back when I wasn't working in games my husband would get cranky when I'd spend too much time playing. Today it's a balance -- I love my work and I love gaming for fun, but I also love doing other things, and those other things keep me from being burned out on what I love to do.

"I don't get mad. I get stabby."
#9 by Caryn
2002-06-21 20:04:32
carynlaw@pacbell.net http://www.hellchick.net
Warren:

Yeah, I've always found that funny .. my family would bitch about how much time I spent on the computer, all the while spending 2-3 hours a night watching TV.  I never understood the logic ...


I never understood that either until I thought about the fact that watching TV CAN be social, whereas if you have only one computer you tend to sit at the computer by yourself, not talking to anyone while you play. Once either my husband or I goes into the office in our place to play, the other one doesn't see them for another couple of hours.

But otherwise, I'm like you: people who sit and watch TV for hours and do nothing else aren't really justified in complaining about someone playing a game for 3 hours.

"I don't get mad. I get stabby."
#10 by Mister Nutty
2002-06-21 20:06:19
I think knitting is cool but will you stab me with your knitting needles anyway? I like the pain.


Also change your icon back to the one with your beautiful face!

Smashing!
#11 by crash
2002-06-21 20:07:52
i still love games as much as i always did, but their importance has slipped in the priority factor as i get older--more things take priority over games than they used to. before, it was "hm, call that girl i met last night or fire up some qw... quakeworld" or "hm, go get some groceries or do some starcraft? well, store's open 24h... starcraft".

now though it's "hm, fix the thermostat so i won't freeze to death tonight or jk2... thermostat" or "hm, cat sounds like he's gonna die if i don't get him to the vet or asheron's call... cat" or "company's coming over at the weekend; clean the house, or dungeon siege... dunge--*thwack*--clean the house".

other non-gaming things necessarily take higher priority. gaming's still my primary hobby, but other things can and do shrink that time. on the bright side, as i've become older and more jaded i'm harder to please, so i don't feel the express need to play every single game looking for that particular rush. plus, as i age i become more patient, so the 0-day need, the "must complete first" need, is largely gone.

i don't mind waiting for reviews for good games, i don't mind picking and choosing only the best, and i don't mind rescheduling my gaming time to meet the RL needs that arise (rather than the other way around). i'm not the target demographic any more--my "disposable income" goes toward responsibilities rather than entertainment, and you need to prove to me i should spend my money on your game before i do, rather than attempting to justify the expense after i've purchased it.

which, in some small part, is why i don't give a shit about previews.

Whoops, sorry, was my common sense showing again? -HoseWater
#12 by m0nty
2002-06-21 20:10:44
http://tinfinger.blogspot.com
A good topic. One aspect of this puzzles me somewhat: friends of mine find it difficult to incorporate playing team sports into their otherwise nerdy existences. I guess this behaviour has been ingrained into them from younger days, but I manage to find time to captain a field hockey team during winter, and play cricket every weekend during summer. I see this as a key socialising part of my life (for Joker, read: way to meet hot chicks), but it's one that a lot of gamers seem to shy away from. Why is this?
#13 by Charles
2002-06-21 20:12:51
www.bluh.org
The solution to everything, of course, is to get a job in the games industry.  That way you can have your cake, and eat it too.  

Or at least... that's how I look at it.

Bailey:  Beep beep, motherfucker.
#14 by Mister Nutty
2002-06-21 20:13:27
That's an easy one m0nty.  Any team sport automatically brings to mind long years of wedgies and always being picked last in gym class for your average geek.  And people tend to avoid that which caused them pain in the past.

Smashing!
#15 by Mister Nutty
2002-06-21 20:15:36
The problem with getting a job in the game industry is that most people (and I don't mean to imply this applies to you Nova, as I'm sure it does not) assume that working is games is, uh, all fun and games.

Which it most assuredly is not.  It is actual hard work.  Unless maybe you're just a playtester or something making minimum wage.  But what kind of life is that?

Smashing!
#16 by Phayyde
2002-06-21 20:16:02
Mr Nutty:
I could've stated that more clearly.  Spending rl time playing computer games is like spending time inside the game reading the in-game books.

Point is, the bestest rpg is rl.  Entertainment is fine.  The bestest entertainment is the kind where you wind up with something lasting once you finish.

Beat to fit, paint to match.
#17 by Caryn
2002-06-21 20:17:42
carynlaw@pacbell.net http://www.hellchick.net
m0nty:

Because team sports require socialization and teamwork, something that we non-sociable geeks typically tend to find uncomfortable? Just an armchair psychologist's guess on my part.

"I don't get mad. I get stabby."
#18 by Charles
2002-06-21 20:19:13
www.bluh.org
I dislike team sports because then I'm reliant on other people to win...  Guess that's just the rogue programmer in me.  

I prefer one on one sports, where it comes down to just your own skill (or lack thereof).

Bailey:  Beep beep, motherfucker.
#19 by Shadarr
2002-06-21 20:24:40
shadarr@yahoo.com http://digital-luddite.com
Phayyde, you're not a very good troll.  I don't feel the slightest urge to refute your stupid analogy.

Monty,  I love playing team sports.  I also volunteer with search and rescue, which is less of a sport but still has the social/team atmosphere.  I think this may be why I don't care that much about multiplayer--I get my socializing in elsewhere.  Well, that and the fucktards.

But at the end of the day (literally) when other people tend to slob out on the couch and watch TV, I play games.  It fills the exact same niche, but I get more out of it.
#20 by Mister Nutty
2002-06-21 20:26:22
Phayyde, I think I understand now.

So its kind of like The Matrix: The Game?  You leave real life to go into a virtual world to play a guy trying to escape from a virtual world to real life?

It all makes sense now.

Smashing!
#21 by m0nty
2002-06-21 20:36:32
http://tinfinger.blogspot.com
I think all geeks would benefit from playing team sports. If nothing else, it would strengthen their bone structure so they wouldn't get osteo at the age of 38 from sitting on their arses all day.

Teamwork in SoF2 inf mode is one thing, but try playing right inner for 70 minutes for two games in a row, which is what I do every weekend. This is my first year as captain, and I think I'm growing a lot as a person from the maturity and leadership I'm expected to show (stop laughing at the back there). That, and I actually have to interact with members of the female hockey teams at our club at some stages, which is all good.
#22 by Shadarr
2002-06-21 20:46:19
shadarr@yahoo.com http://digital-luddite.com
Captaining a sports team is something you can put on a resume, because it does make you grow as a person.  Learning to snipe with a rail gun doesn't garner the same sort of job-interview respect.
#23 by Max Diablos
2002-06-21 20:46:57
Losing interest in gaming as you get older is another sign that the industry doesn't cater for as broad and deep an audiance as is possible. This a sure sign that the game industry needs to redefine itself.

No helter skelter. No over the rainbow bad trip apocalypse. Just us and this moment now. This is how it ends.
#24 by Greg
2002-06-21 20:50:56
m0nty, don't forget you also learn how to deal with humiliation, since you wear a skirt in field hockey.

You should do, what should be done, by you.

-Ancient Japanese Proverb
#25 by Shadarr
2002-06-21 20:55:12
shadarr@yahoo.com http://digital-luddite.com
Diablos (with respect to the real Max, I will refer to you henseforth by your last fake name),

Another weak troll.  Cause y'know, it couldn't have anything to do with having more responsibilities and less free time as you get older.  Even if you don't beget the crawling, vommitting time-vortex that is a child.
#26 by Caryn
2002-06-21 20:58:34
carynlaw@pacbell.net http://www.hellchick.net
I'd like to request a thread where we don't talk about games as art and the broadening of the industry.

"I don't get mad. I get stabby."
#27 by Mister Nutty
2002-06-21 20:59:33
I agree with Shadarr.  Well except I'm single right now and dont have any kids.  Nevertheless as you get older, even in my situation you just have less time for gaming.

But I still love similar types of games. Shit the most fun I've had playing a game in recent memory in The Adventures of Cookie & Cream on the PS2.  Brilliant japanese kiddie-ish game that relies on 2-characters cooperating to make it through the levels.  Nothing "adult" about it, but I still enjoy it.

Don't get me wrong, I think having "adult" games is fine, and I enjoy some of them, but I don't think it follows that we game less because we grow out of kiddie games.  Definately doesn't follow for me anyway, though one could make a case that I am fairly immature for my age.

Smashing!
#28 by Matthew Gallant
2002-06-21 21:00:41
http://www.truemeaningoflife.com
I'd like to request a thread where we don't talk about games as art and the broadening of the industry.


I'd like you to stop feeding the trolls, but we don't always get what we want.

Current market value of the Max Payne IP according to a comparison of the market capitalization of Take Two pre- and post- sale: approx. -$296,000,000.
#29 by Caryn
2002-06-21 21:05:24
carynlaw@pacbell.net http://www.hellchick.net
I'd like you to stop feeding the trolls, but we don't always get what we want.


Fair enough. Perhaps we can both agree that a fair compromise involves violence. Lots of violence.

On the actual subject matter, I agree that team sports make someone a much more well-rounded person. But I wonder if competitive gamers would argue that they get the same benefits from playing CS or something with their clan? Just food for thought.

"I don't get mad. I get stabby."
#30 by Matt Davis
2002-06-21 21:12:23
http://looroll.com
The trolls have been fed so much they can now feed themselves.
#31 by Mister Nutty
2002-06-21 21:14:37
Caryn,

  They would probably argue that, but then they'd be wrong.  I've played team games and team sports, and it really isn't anywhere near the same.  Team game players tend to be much more immature.  They're quick to blame their team (everyone but them) on a loss, and quick to take all the credit for wins.  They'll jump to a new clan at the drop of the hat.....Wait...

Ok well on second though that makes them like professional team sports players...So maybe there's something to that.  

But amateur team sports players are different.  In the right circumstances, members of your team become like family and you all suffer or celebrate together as one.  Truly a great thing.  Ive yet to see that same sort of thing in gaming at anything more than a very superficial level.

Smashing!
#32 by Matt Davis
2002-06-21 21:15:06
http://looroll.com
It's funny, at work I'm a one man army, I hate working as a team I set high standards and no-one else is near to the quality as far as anal me is concerned.

But I love team sports and computer games, CTF, Domination, Team DM etc. I don't really enjoy FFA I don't find it as rewarding.
#33 by Matt Davis
2002-06-21 21:16:24
http://looroll.com
oh and football, inter-company baseball in london, Badminton and occaisionally volleyball.
#34 by Shadarr
2002-06-21 21:17:56
shadarr@yahoo.com http://digital-luddite.com
My experience of online team play (listening to other people talk about it) indicates that it doesn't make people grow up.  They may get the same sort of benefits in terms of spending time with friends doing something they all enjoy, but it doesn't make you more mature the same way actual teamwork does.  Part of it may be the fact 90% of the other people on your team and your opponents are fucktards, but part of it has to also be the lack of consequences for immature behavior.  If you cap your buddy in the back, or use a targetting cheat, nothing really happens to you.

Whereas if you're playing hockey and you cheat, you get a penalty.  If you do something stupid and selfish your teammates will get right in your face and give you an earful (which I guarantee is more intimidating than some guy you can't even see typing "what the hell is your problem").  And if you do something really dumb like taking a shot after the whistle or crosschecking a guy into the boards, you will get punched in the face.

Stimulus - response: it's the only way to learn.
#35 by Max Diablos
2002-06-21 21:19:25
#25 by Shadarr

Another weak troll.


That explains the lazy rebuttal.

Cause y'know, it couldn't have anything to do with having more responsibilities and less free time as you get older.  Even if you don't beget the crawling, vommitting time-vortex that is a child.


Do you want to take a close look at what you just said? While it's a reason not to play games I don't see any consideration of why you should play games. Quite simply they don't offer enough to attract someone given the other demands for attention. This is a factor regardless of age. What's different is where the lines of "other interests vs games" cross.

No helter skelter. No over the rainbow bad trip apocalypse. Just us and this moment now. This is how it ends.
#36 by Shadarr
2002-06-21 21:23:35
shadarr@yahoo.com http://digital-luddite.com
Is there some way we can implement a CD check for posting on the 'Crap?  Morn?
#37 by Phayyde
2002-06-21 21:30:46
Shadarr:  Phayyde, you're not a very good troll.  I don't feel the slightest urge to refute your stupid analogy.


That's a win-win situation there, paluka.

Beat to fit, paint to match.
#38 by HiredGoons
2002-06-21 21:32:38
What crash said. #11.
#39 by UncleJeet
2002-06-21 21:35:03
The main reason I don't play as much as I used to is because I'm just worn the fuck out by the time I get home.  I want to shut my brain off and just zone out for most of the evening.

  Of course, I blame a lot of this on games being incredibly dull and disappointing lately.  You can only play Quake so many times before the thrill is gone, sort of thing.

  I'm still an anti-social bastard who hates to go out where the people are, but that's not because I love computers so much.  It's that I hate people so much more.

  Most weeknights the routine is:

1.)  Come home.
2.)  Visit the smooth leg for an hour, then she goes to work.  (waitress)
3.)  Sleep an hour or two.
4.)  Wake up.  Scratch.
5.)  Turn on computer.
6.)  Stare blankly at my insane list of games.  Try and pick something to play.
7.)  Load up game.  Play for thirty minutes.  Get bored.
8.)  Stare at game list again.  Get depressed.
9.)  Go to kitchen.  Get snack.
10.)  Turn on TV, sit on couch, wait for the non-tripod to get home.
11.)  Say hello.  Turn on a movie.  Watch with the pit shaver.
12.)  Wrap up the night.  Sleep.

  Of course, this varies quite a lot, but it's the average.  I think the main thing is that I just don't have as much energy as I used to at the end of the day, and today's games take more and more investment just to try to enjoy them, that I can't play for very long before needing to quit.

  I blame the state of games on programmer.  Why?  I don't know.  Ask Nova.

I'm fighting terrorism by playing violent video games!
#40 by Mister Nutty
2002-06-21 21:35:39
I lost my PlanetCrap CD...in an accident...

Anyone g0tz a keygen??

Smashing!
#41 by m0nty
2002-06-21 21:36:27
http://tinfinger.blogspot.com
Mister Nutty (#31):
But amateur team sports players are different.  In the right circumstances, members of your team become like family and you all suffer or celebrate together as one.  Truly a great thing.  Ive yet to see that same sort of thing in gaming at anything more than a very superficial level.

The whole bonding experience is something you miss in online gaming. I haven't played much online on public servers, but whenever I do, it always seems like a barren wasteland of ghosts. I guess clans are a bit different, but I'm guessing the clan members don't go drinking every Saturday night at the local pub to toast their victories. Email is so impersonal.
#42 by UncleJeet
2002-06-21 21:36:39
Not programmers, mind you.  Just programmer.  Think of Inspector Gadget's Claw.

I'm fighting terrorism by playing violent video games!
#43 by Mister Nutty
2002-06-21 21:39:43
Correct, m0nty.

To celebrate a victory, clans go to some random IRC channel and continue to act like big jackasses.  A lot of them will make pot-smoking-related jokes and/or claim they are packing another bowl, but in my experience this seems to be some sort of weird fantasy they harbor, not reality, since most of them are 15 and live at home with their parents.

Smashing!
#44 by Max Diablos
2002-06-21 21:41:42
Of course, I blame a lot of this on games being incredibly dull and disappointing lately.  You can only play Quake so many times before the thrill is gone, sort of thing.


That's another thing. I don't think enough people are honest enough about what games give back. At the end of the day if all they are is vacuous entertainment the day comes when you just slam the door in their face because they're a waste of time. While Warren Spector is trying to address this from a bottom up perspective, uncountable numbers of gamers around the world are looking at games from the top down perspective. This isn't something the game industry has really bothered to address, and won't bother to address as long as it can keep conning people into thinking their products are worth playing with. Redefining "games" will serve as a focus for discussion, define future directions, and attract critical attention from more mature mediums.

No helter skelter. No over the rainbow bad trip apocalypse. Just us and this moment now. This is how it ends.
#45 by Hugin
2002-06-21 21:52:00
lmccain@nber.org
What's that smell?
#46 by Shadarr
2002-06-21 21:52:31
shadarr@yahoo.com http://digital-luddite.com
Now, LAN parties or even just playing online with people you know in real life are slightly better.  But I find that people who are generally okay in general can act like 13-year-old idiots in games.
#47 by Ergo
2002-06-21 21:53:50
AAAAAAAAAAAAGHHHHH!!!!!!!!!

"Conductor Fist says the next stop is your face! Choo! Choo!"
#48 by m0nty
2002-06-21 22:02:20
http://tinfinger.blogspot.com
I look forward to the upcoming title from Pocket Books: The New Dictionary Of Gaming, by Max Diablos. Selected highlights include:

a$$hole (n.): anyone who disagrees with me (cf. troll)
game (n.): a creative art form which is being constricted and ruined by everyone in the gaming industry, a situation which only I can prevent.
Spector, Warren (n.): some guy who did some game, but he isn't nearly as smart as me, because he doesn't really "get it".
muse (n.): [as in "To me, posting is a muse."] annoying and completely pointless waste of time for all concerned.
#49 by Funkdrunk
2002-06-21 22:03:04
jflavius@bellatlantic.net
Did anyone here watch the Animaniacs?  There was one episode where the Warners were introduced to a movie exec who just kept talking and talking.  The Warners tried to run away from him, but everywhere they went he was there still talking and talking.....

This episode just jumped into my head for some unknown reason.

Funk.
#50 by jjohnsen
2002-06-21 22:09:59
http://www.johnsenclan.com

.......Visit the smooth leg for an hour, then she goes to work.  (waitress)
.......wait for the non-tripod to get home.
........Watch with the pit shaver.


Three excellent names I can use on my wife tonight.
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