Guest Post, Well, Sort of..

9:28 PM

It's been ages since I've posted, but I thought I'd start posting again. This is Charles by the way, Big Papa, just kidding, no one calls me that, but this is indeed Charles - after all they're my baby Wagners too, here goes.

I've always been a gamer, back before the term existed.  I would play video games in the arcades like crazy, spending every quarter I made from my door-to-door sales job.  We didn't have much in the way of video games in the house, and for good reason; I was entranced by them and would spend hours playing the few games we did have on our Apple IIc.  We had Lode Runner, Karateka and Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego.  I also got really into RPGs (Role Playing Games), like Dungeons and Dragons.  I would meet up with a few friends in my neighborhood and spend an entire Saturday engrossed in fantasy worlds.  In college, I was introduced to another kind of role playing game: ClanLord.  This was an online game, a MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role PlayingGame).  It was sort of like playing Dungeons and Dragons with a Whack-a-mole aspect to it.  I got pretty heavily sucked into that one, spending countless hours where I did little else.  Later still I found sports games, which is how my passion for baseball was renewed.  The pull of losing myself in an alternate reality, whether a simulated baseball game or a universe where teleportation and rifts of energy abound, has always been appealing to me.  

Lately it's been games on my phone: Scrabble, WordsWithFriends, racing games, "tower defense" games, and Tetris style timewasters, solitaire and CheekyBingo. The end result is that, instead of focusing on reality, I'm stuck (even if just for a few minutes) in this other world, for part of my day.  Some of them are designed to keep you checking back in, or else you don't get the upgrade, waste points or get attacked.  While I'm waiting for my daughter to go to sleep, I'm racing a rally car in Road Trip 2 or piloting a jetpack through an underground laboratory in Jetpack Joyride.  

Here's a review from their website: 

 "What makes Jetpack Joyride truly noteworthy isn't the array of power-ups, the endless customization, the various objectives, or the on death slot machine system. It's really the sum of all these different parts that have created a game that has kept me playing to the point of disregarding real world responsibilities for one more go at Jetpack Joyride." (my emphasis)

And there it is… This is the end result of all the hours I invest in these games: disregard for real world responsibilities.  Sure, it's fun, but so is shooting the breeze with my wife, riding my bike, creating a really well-designed lesson plan or playing with my kids.  My point isn't that you should stop playing games.  Hell, I'm actually recommending a couple I think are awesome by name!  What I am saying is that I can always find more time to be present in the real world.  Anytime I'm feeling stressed out because I'm not getting what I think I need or want, I can look at myself and ask: How efficient am I being with my time?  How am I relating (or not relating) to those most important to me?  What areas of my life am I not as available as I would like to be?

Speaking of which...

My beautiful wife and lovely children are having a blast in the other room, I think I'll go join them... after I check my upgrade status on Clash of Clans.

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  1. Charles, I am happily surprised by your post. I struggle with guilt about playing games on my phone. Sometimes I get sucked into one and then uninstall it when I have a bi-polar moment. But Words w Friends is always one I allow myself. I'll kick your ass, btw!


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