Alex Ganon Reviews: Video Games...All of Them
Updated: Oct 6
Disclaimer: Never forget that I am an idiot. You take this seriously at your own peril.
Like most people my age, I’ve done...things.
As a kid, it was baseball, mountain biking, school and such. As an adult, career, kayaking, family, etc. I am happy to say I can look back on a few proud moments where I really completed something difficult. A few tasks I ‘won.’
That’s really how life works, isn’t it?
We have a need to feel accomplished. It’s somehow encoded into us in such a way that we become sick without it (figuratively or literally, either or). Makes sense, right? Without it, we would just stop working and...die.
A human needs motivation. Dogs maybe too. Not kitty though, she doesn’t do f*** all. That dummy doesn’t have a competitive cell in her body.
This is the way it has to be (not the cat I’m talking people now) because the cavepeople said so. If we weren’t motivated 400k years ago we would have all died. However lazy your laziest friend is, take comfort knowing far lazier genes died out long ago.
I know. Sorry. But everything we are is from them. Don’t be so foolish as to think you are some leap of evolution. You're nothing more than one baby-step across the living room of our existence.
A long way to go, and your idiot dad didn’t pad that corner of the coffee table you’re headed toward.
When we’re babies, we find our noses and feel accomplished. When we’re toddlers, we stand up like mom and brother and feel accomplished. When we’re kids we play games and make friends and feel accomplished. When we’re teenagers we get cool with girls, or boys, feel happy, feel accomplished.
When we’re about to become adults we fend for ourselves, play games, are happy, and feel accomplished?
Why are we going back to games now though?
It was fun.
No, but I need a job. Shouldn’t I be starting the “hunter” part of my life. Make money, feed self, make family, feed them?
Ya, ya, I will, but this is fun. I’m gonna do this too.
Well, ok…I guess it should be fine. I can still focus on my academics and then a career. I’ll only grab the controller in-between these things.
And some of us do just that.
We got hooked at some point in our childhood and don’t feel the need to give it up. As if it were a drug, we keep the controller tightly grasped and move on to our adulthood. Some of us anyway, or is it most now? Impossible for idiot me to know.
I do know that the gaming industry isn’t losing money. Their revenue is increasing year over year.
I also have a sneaking suspicion that the top SUCCESSFUL executives at these companies don’t spend as much time ‘using' their product as we do. The same way a successful dealer doesn’t partake in his own stash.
So what? Well, they can’t, is all I mean. They are successful so they don’t have the time. Like any other person who wins, they get there through dedication and moving forward one step at a time. Or let’s say one level at a time.
(I guess the same goes for the drug dealer too…I mean good ones must have a decent business sense, right? Probably people skills too? Ya, they must.)
Either way, these people feel fulfilled and happy through their success.
To be truly happy, or at least fulfilled, a person has to have done something. Has too! (My belief, do not quote me please, I am no psychologist) I think it needs to be something real, something you can see or touch. If you think about it, is there any time an emotion has made you fulfilled? If you answer yes you may be thinking backwards a little. Being happy doesn’t make you feel fulfilled, doing something fulfills you and makes you happy. This can be debated but keep in mind, taking the stress out of your life or even being at peace still requires an effort, there is still something you have done to get to that state.
A huge part of this feeling of accomplishment is what you do in the outside world. How you progress in your career or business. How you grow and strengthen your family. In this effort, you acquire new real-life skills, you grow as a human. You work that figurative muscle seeing it get stronger and bigger through your life. This is needed to be able to move on to the next challenge, the next level.
Eventually, on your deathbed, you can look back on all the levels completed and be content with the end game.
(Why is it ON your deathbed? Instead of IN? it should be IN, right?)
Anyway, you don’t simply jump to the end game, you level up. One level at a time. Level 40 is going to be hard, level 50 even harder.
I should want to work my ass off to be ready. I should want to give my 100% so I can get the legendary loot at the end of life. There’s no guarantee that you will have a high-level friend to carry you past a difficult boss.
Life or evolution has seen to it that we are prodded by drive or instinct to accomplish tasks (or quests haha) so we can win life.
So…what happens if I participate in an artificial means of accomplishment seeking to produce the same feeling? Well, fulfillment is a drug, isn’t it? It’s a great feeling. If I can get that sitting on my ass with the only risk being a stiffness in my hands, I should like to do it. I don’t care that I spit in the face of my evolution.
I have just found a way to cheese life.
Video games are not just simple entertainment. Netflix is entertainment, books are entertainment. Never would I brag about finishing a Mandalorian episode solo to my buddies. I would...and have bragged about finishing the Crota raid on Destiny solo, though. Why shouldn’t I?! It was hard, took me forever!
Let me put what I mean right on the nose.
When I progress in life, each hurdle I pass gives me satisfaction. Through whatever chemical process in my head, I feel joy from the success and this gives me the motivation to head to the next hurdle. (Shit! hurdles are a metaphor as well, if my point misses your nose and pokes your eye I can not help you.) I feel I am worth something, I can take on the next challenge. Video games, as I said, do the same. I get the same feeling of worth and accomplishment. The only difference is, I didn’t get off my ass to do it. I don’t get any return or real-life reward. (Screw you Esports.)
When I put that controller down there’s a cost, this feeling evaporates as fast as ethanol, it doesn’t feel good.
This cost builds and creeps up on you. You don’t like it and it adds to the addiction. Some people won’t even connect the two. They stay awake 24 hours straight playing a game, multiple times a month or week, go to work and do a half-ass job from both the lack of sleep and a fixation on what they want to do next time they log in.
One day, their girlfriend leaves them, their boss passes them over for promotion, their father insinuates disappointment. Very easily you can interchange “video game" with any other addictive substance.
After this, you clearly see you suck at life. So, may as well double down on your game. At least when you’re there you are a success, you are strong. Continue for eternity, when you are done with this game there will be another.
Eat garbage, or forget to eat at all, hygiene sinks, outside life becomes chaos.
One day you pass your prime, continuing until you’re nothing but bones draped in pale grey skin and the mush between, eyes bulbous, the few strands of hair left long and greasy. Saying things to your controller like...
Unfortunately, this addiction doesn’t extend life like the ring of power.
You're now seriously depressed, realizing you’ve accomplished nothing real. You gave half your effort to an electronic device and the other half to your real-life and got half the life you wanted because of it.
I have a prediction, and it’s a dumb one.
Everything else staying the same, I predict that the male suicide rate will increase in the 40 plus age range, 10-20 years from now. Maybe only 5% or maybe 50%, but an increase nonetheless. As we men realize how shallow this artificial sense of accomplishment really is, there will be a mental snap. Or gap more like. Knowing that the lives we lived through our prime years were so incredibly more meaningless than they should or could have been, depression will become the only option.
I say male just because it seems men are more susceptible, to both suicide and gaming. That might be changing though. I mean currently, I’m literally watching my wife play World of Warcraft. I didn’t even know it was still around honestly.