Wednesday, February 10, 2010

You ride your horses, I'll stick mine in a zoo, thanks

I have been an addictive computer gamer in the past.  Man I played the crap out of some Sims games back before I had kids*, and this one pretty cool action game called The Longest Journey, and and and!!!!.  I remember even back before I had a computer and it was all about the Nintendo being up 'til like 4 am thinking "just this one more level and I'll go to bed."  It's definitely a place I know better than to go because I do get obsessed, and there's a level of fun/pleasure there that people who never "game" probably don't have any clue about.  Maybe they don't have the same buttons that get pushed by the games, maybe they do but have just never tried it. 

Addiction is addiction, whether it's morphine or sex or-- computer games. 

I don't know WHAT inspired me a couple of days ago to click on the stupid games.  I tried the Farm one-- thought it was kind of boring and didn't get into it.  I'm really NOT interested in the Mafia game, or the cafe game, or even the City game or the island fish.  Still not interested.

Then I tried the Zoo game.  I remember playing it once ages ago, actually, and finding it stupid and saying no thank you.  Oh, and I played with it idly for a few minutes and then left it alone for a couple of days.  I wasn't all that into it.  So I don't know if it's changed or what, but I played it this weekend, just because I was a little bored.  I figured it would keep me a little entertained while the hubby worked on taxes, the kids watched ANOTHER episode of WonderPets & I wasn't quite ready to write more on my novel.

And then, the other day, my mom got sick.  Almost died, AGAIN, for the second time in several months.  May still not be totally out of it.

And, like any natural addict does, during a really stressful day, I reached for something addictive to keep me from thinking.  To numb me.  An opiate, of sorts. Man I played the CRAP out of that game yesterday.  I tried to keep the notifications from clogging up the feed but there's a certain level of things you can't actually accomplish in the game if you don't "share" the information.

I didn't pull out a belt and a needle, thank god, but I did fiddle, way more than is healthy, with a computer game.  It's fun, and there's a certain level of pleasure that comes with the organizing, like having a doll house.  You put the animals in neat little rows because you can't order your own world so easily.  And there's observable progress from it-- you "level up" when you do something simple that you can track.  In real life, the level up process is not nearly so clear.  And you can very easily go "up" and a few days later be smacked back the hell down, like, far far far. 

I've made fun of the facebook games before.  I joined a "not playing" XYZ games group in the past, just to tease.  And the endless invitations are kind of a pain.  Everyone knows that.  But they are part of the way you play the game.  When I was playing in the last couple of days, I was careful to only invite people who I knew were actually playing the game.  But I also know that Facebook is weird and it's possible that folks were being invited without my knowledge, that the application is sending out more than the basic notifications folks can block.  And facebook, as a whole, has been glitchy the last few days so it's possible it's been a pain in the ass to see all those notes.  It does only take ONE "hide Zoo World" click for it to go away (in fact, I think it's still hidden on my feed).  And it's no more annoying, to me, than the ads for Lap Band surgery I constantly get on my FB page-- probably because I talk about food a lot.

So let me say this.  If my feed adopting bears and tigers and levelling up was really annoying, I ask that you realize that it's a shitload better than me going out and shooting up, or getting drunk and driving, or whatever other addicitons I might have used to keep me from thinking about the fact that my mother is STILL on a ventilator, and still not out of the woods and I could be hours away from being a literal "motherless child" and all that entails.  I really don't want to think about it and I'm really hopeful still. 

But we never know what that "game" is doing for someone.  Maybe they don't "have a life" maybe they are hiding from the life they do have.  We all have something we use.  I promise to not mock my friends who play games and you know what?  Sometimes, when I'm not busy, I'll send you some freakin' nails.  It's no skin off my nose; I'm wasting time anyway.

And go play your own quiet hobbies.  I won't send you an email notification about Zoo World if you don't try to knit me an ugly green & yellow sweater.


Facebook, in general, is a waste of freakin' time.  If you have more productive things to do and didn't have a touch of the same bug that causes others to spend hours rearranging their Zoos or Farms then you would be reading a book or something.  I see people "quit" all the time who just don't dig it.  I, myself, am probably close to being done playing my game because I'm at a place in it that is getting increasingly too much time suckage.  It isn't worth it if the payoff is quite that long.  Cause I'm also a quitter. 

Rehab, you know, is for quitters.  What have I got til I'm done, now?  28 days?  Here goes.   Zoo, Cold Turkey. Wait.  You have a  turkey for adoption? Really?  Is it on your wall now?  Hmmmm.  Can you send me one?  ;)  Just this last Turkey.  And then I'll level up, and I'll quit.  Really. 


*Even wrote a pretty cool conference paper about it.


Celina said...

My Farmville and Cafe are for my "brain dead" hour before bedtime. After spending the whole day on a "higher level" of thinking, then a few hours tending to baby girl, I need to just zone out. I usually turn to a book (have a whole stack of trashy romances in my nighstand), but I get bored reading a book for several weeks OR I'll end up staying up until 2am with it!
Hope everything goes okay with gramma--we're thinking about her a lot!