Thursday, May 29, 2014

Damn you Avat... I mean Carbine

This might be my last post, save yourselves! It's too late for me. WildStar comes out in two days and I already know my weekend is ruined. This game is too much fun.

Warning: personal insights that don't generalize nerds ahead. I'm also linking to phrases that come from pop/nerd culture that have influenced my way of thought over the years. It's an experiment to out the random clutter in my conscience.



Like many, I want to be productive. I want to be successful. I want to balance between what is fun and what makes me those things I said. I'm the only one that struggles with this balance, right?

I get it, there is dopamine in the brain that responds quicker to games. The immediate satisfying feedback that I did something awesome (those epic level up lines don't help). What bothers me, is I can feel this way about writing code, or writing creatively, or doing almost anything else. It just takes longer to get into it the flow, and it's easier to fall out of. I believe Jane McGonigal is right. If we can make real life feel like playing games we can solve all the worlds problems.

I hit a good code writing snag and one of two things will happen. It will invigorate me to find the solution, or it will seem to daunting of a task and make me quit for the day (most code I write is for my own projects so I have that luxury). In my defense, after a good nights sleep I'll come back and push through it. I'm almost certain there is a level of complexity versus how tired I am that determines if I'll push through or quit.

On the other hand games aren't like that. They seem to offer just as much challenge as I need to keep going. For some reason I'm not deterred when I do meet something challenging. Remember pre-internet gaming? Someone who reads this post might. It was hard core. I literally walked all over Hyrule burning every bush and bombing every wall because that's how you found secretes. Why can't I be that motivated when it comes to coding? Why is it a problem that doesn't come up with multiple stackoverflow results on a search considered hard? I'm sure developers in a pre-internet age spent just as much time hammering out problems as I did finding secretes in video games. Except now they answer those stackoverflow questions for people like me.

I have to wonder how successful I will be if I'm willing to spend the time to find secrets in a game, but give up when I hit a snag in real life? I take it back I don't wonder, I know. It just makes me sad when the right answers are staring me in the face, but I will still lose this whole weekend to gaming on. You know, instead of updating the template for my blog because it's absolutely horrible.

The struggle for balance continues... In the mean time I will be blowing that balance out my butt by fighting for the Exiles right to a decent (virtual?) life on Nexus. My only hope is that I can get it out of my system this weekend, then go back to trying balance again.



2 comments:

K. L. Phan said...

I remember those games before the internet came around, like the Atari or Chinese Checkers (you know, where more than one person was involved). Everyone feels driven to accomplish something in their own way, they found their push and I think you merely have to look to find yours. It's easy to become enthusiastic about something you're interested in, but finding that way to be as equally enthused about something less fascinating is a trick.

Good luck on that and you don't have to spend your weekend playing a game. You could, you know, find motivation to create an app for the game, which seems more in-line with your interests: coding and gaming.

James Pryor said...

I am working on a game right now, part of the reason I sound a little bummed in this post. I've learned writing code for a game is a little different than other apps. Maybe I'm just slow, but I will persist.

I take solace in the fact I am aware the game is about to kill my weekend. In the past it would have come as a complete surprise to me. I'm working today and tomorrow so I do have the free time to kill (like this blog post for May). Isn't admittance one of those 12 steps?