Life hit me with a sledgehammer. I lost my job and it took me four months to find another one. After the third month of not getting work, I was so depressed I wondered where I’d find the energy and vitality that employers look for in candidates.
One thing that helped me get out of the dumps was to play video games. Some people will say that video games are a waste of time. Sometimes they are, but I can’t agree that they always are. I started playing Wartune (my character is Arlene on server 143), and found that I could play it well. I played it well enough that it boosted my self-confidence and my energy levels. I wasn’t feeling so depressed. The game was a placebo for what I really needed in my life, to feel that I had value, that I had skills. Like any good placebo, it helped me help myself.
Playing video games can have an effect similar to having sex. I haven’t taken hallucinatory drugs and I’ve never been drunk, but there may be some similar feelings people get from those activities as well. You feel euphoric, like nothing else matters. You’re lost in another reality, one where you are better than you are in real life. You like it so much, you want to stay there forever. That’s when the addiction starts. Addiction is never good.
In my case, I feel like playing Wartune helped boost my spirits and contributed to my ability to convey enthusiasm and a sense of confidence during job interviews. So in that regard it was a good thing for me.
Getting a job did so much more to bring me out of my depression, of course.
After I landed the new job, I shouldn’t have needed to play Wartune anymore. But there is that addictive aspect to video games, and I’m struggling with that now. I’m still playing Wartune when I really don’t need to. I could be doing other things with the time, like working on my fiction and writing blog posts. I keep promising myself that I’ll cut back on how much time I give the game (writing this blog post is testament to my efforts to keep that promise), and I feel I’m improving in that regard, but some would say I should quit altogether, cold turkey. That’s always the advice I hear given to people who want to quit smoking. Maybe I should flat-out quit, but… There had to be a but, of course. It’s part of the addiction, right? But…I have these powerful sylphs that I want to see evolve when sylph divinity comes to the game. There’s as much curiosity involved in this desire as there is addiction. Or so I tell myself.
After they bring sylph divinity to the game, I’m sure there will be something else introduced to trap my curiosity. That’s the science of online video game production.
If I can strike a balance between my on-game and off-game lives, I’ll be happy. I don’t expect to play Wartune forever, but if I’m going to be playing it for a while longer, I can’t let it take as much time as I’ve been giving it. I’m not depressed now, so I don’t need the emotional lift the game gave me before.
And my stories are not going to write themselves. Every minute I spend playing Wartune is a minute not spent writing.
So I know the answer to my own question, which I will leave unasked, but I’d love to hear what you think about this topic.