1 Jul 2017

Some gamers already live in the Matrix

From this very interesting article:

Even the most open-ended games tend to offer a sense of progress and direction, completion and commitment. In other words, they make people happy—or at least happier, serving as a buffer between the player and despair. Video games, you might say, offer a sort of universal basic income for the soul.

[snip]

The best of these games overwhelmed my capacity to think about anything else at a time when more thinking wasn't terribly beneficial. They provided distraction, but also direction, and a sense of focused calm. I wanted a job, but I couldn't find one. Instead, I played video games. They weren't as good as a job. But they were better than nothing.

[snip]

Did all those hours playing games make me feel fulfilled? Did they make me feel as if I had made good decisions in my life? Yes—and no. At times, I found video games an entertainment experience as smart and satisfying as any novel or movie or television show I have ever absorbed. At other times, I have let go of my controller late at night, overcome by existential emptiness and the realization that I have, yet again, just spent the better part of a day engaged in an activity of no practical value to me or anyone else. I enjoy games, but not without some reservation. Sometimes I go weeks without playing. And if I had to choose between gaming and work, I know I'd pick the latter.

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