Friday, 29 March 2013

Brain Dysfunction (The Magic Of Games)

Contains language and adult content. Also contains possibly distressing scenes where a guy describes looking and feeling like crap having gamed for too long. 

Oh God. Oh God. Oh God.

So I have been gaming, well, a lot. March has been like, crazy. 11 hours every other day, practically. I have been living off of pure crap. I have not slept well either. I have posted little aside from video game content on here as well. That said, if you want to hear a quick update on ANOTHER new show coming to my blog, skip to the end or just read till the end. 

But I'm not here for sympathy. Oh no. I simply want to ask and answer and discuss exactly what has happened to me: total brain disfunction from so much gaming. 

When you game for long hours, that is fine. When you game for even more long hours, that is fine. But if you game for hours and hours and even more hours practically each day, what does that do to your mind?

I'll tell you what it does. It fucks it. Oh yeah. It screws your hygiene too.

So as the month started out, I was gaming as usual. Then Tomb Raider was released. Let me tell you something: I knew, I KNEW, that March was going to be a total game fest. That is, after all, why I did my Mega March Preview feature. That said, I didn't prepare. Not for the horrors that waited me.

So I started playing Tomb Raider. It didn't take me too long to complete it and by the end of it I felt quite buzzed. I hadn't had a proepr gaming session like that for a while. 

However after I replayed it a couple of times and didn't put my controller down for way too long each day and then wrote a shit load of articles on here, my blog, my brain started hurting. I hadn't been outside for, what? Way over a week. Well, I'd been outside for provisions and supplies, like Monster Energy and Maltesers and shit, but not socially. I was shrivelling up, wasting away.

Then Judgment was released. 

Now admittedly Gears of War: Judgment sucked. I gave it 6/10 in my review which it fully deserved. However I sat down and finished it in a day. Then I replayed it, getting the achievements I'd missed. OK, that's normal, right.

Then I played online for ages. And ages. And ages. 

Then I sat down with a friend and played all of the maps on Survival Mode to get the Survivor achievement, which, by the the way, didn't even un-fucking-lock after we'd completed it. 
Then I did it again, for 'fun'. Well, ladies and gentlemen, it wasn't fucking fun. Oh no, not anymore anyway.

I was unshaven and unwashed. I was dirty and looked like a tramp. I gulped down a Chinese takeaway  as my brian buzzed and my heart pumped from too many energy drinks. 

Then Bioshock Infinite was released.

Oh Jesus! Oh Lord have mercy! PLEASE.

I haven't been that excited for a game since Far Cry 3. 

I made sure to get at least some sleep the night before. Still unshaven and dirty; still in my trackies and fleece, I huddled in my bed, shivering from both the cold and my massive over stimulation from those God-Awful caffeine and crap filled drinks.

Then morning came. 

I waited. 

And waited.

Waited a bit more.

And then he came. 

He walked up to my door like some Holy, Heaven sent messenger come to deliver me the news of my life. Like, there is a Heaven and I had qualified and could enter it or some shit.

This, ladies and gentlemen, was the postman.

He paused for a worryingly long time outside my front door as I hovered only a few feet away from the letterbox. 

What was he doing? HURRY UP MAN. HURRY THE FU-

Oh, OK. Sorry. My bad. Too quick to judge there. 

The post came cascading through, hitting the floor hard. I dived down, searching through the post like a hobo would go through trash after having even a slight whiff of booze or weed.

Then I saw it. It was there, in its Holy light, calling to me, beckoning. Saying 'Don't you worry, don't you worry child, see Bioshock Infnite's got a plan for you. You may be dirty, unshaven and lacking in any social activity for the past weeks, but I am here, to make all of that worse, but also take your mind off it.'. 

There isn't anything quite like seeing the Amazon logo on a parcel and knowing IT has arrived. The thing you wanted. Because, let's face it, we don't use any other website...

I tore it open, got my drinks out the fridge, and then it was time. Time for me to be accepted into Bioshock Infinite's world.

You know the awesome thing about video games? It doesn't matter if you are unclean, unshaven, lonely, sad, freckly, dumb or just weird (like me); video games don't care. I was Lara Croft, climbing around saving people; then I was Kilo Squad, killing locust hordes and being hailed as a hero; and then I was Booker Dewitt, trying to save a girl from a distant city in the sky that was so beautiful my jaw dropped.

I was no longer unclean or unshaven and tired and sleepless: I was Booker-fucking-Dewitt. Badass and awesome guy with a life of guilt.

In reality though, I was pretty shit. I played it for ages. Ages. And then I wrote that ending explanation article, which took even more playing and thinking. Then I wrote the review. 

My sister saw me and said "Are you OK?" To which I said "Yeah, why?" She said "Oh, it's just you look really ill. Really pale." 


I looked at myself in the mirror. Who was I? I was some tramp looking guy. My brain was a dysfunctional mess. I couldn't think. My world was closing. My head. Oh God my fucking head. It hadn't stopped hurting for like, weeks.

Don't worry. I'm washed, shaven (well, not shaven. I just can't be assed...) and clean ol' me again. Yaaaaay.

The point here is that spending ages - and I mean ages - gaming, and generally in front of screens.... it... it... it does things... it does things to you...

The effects of gaming for so long are odd. As I knew March would be a gaming filled month I decided to monitor myself. As the month went on and as I enjoyed these games more and more and gamed more and more, my caring for how I looked and was fluttered away.

It was as if, because I was able to escape into these worlds, that I no longer cared for life outside it. Sad? Dangerous? Normal? Or just what happens when you game?

I usually put what is most important to me first. So friends and family etc. always come first, right? Yes. But during this month of gaming madness, just like during all the other hardcore gaming sessions I have had, that seemed to, worryingly, disappear. 

Gaming is a lot of things. Gaming is magical. Books let you follow scripted stories on their journey and create incredible places in your mind. But gaming allows you to truly visit these places, to explore them, to forget your worries and escape. maybe even create and tune the story yourself. Step into other peoples shoes and explore their lives. Everyone knows that it is one of the best forms of escapism. This is what makes, for me at least, gaming as important and special as books and why it will never die. Or at least should never die.

When you are reading a book you are always in touch with reality. You rely on your mind and quiet surroundings to truly immerse yourself in what you are reading.

Games aren't like that. When you play a video game, you sit down, you prepare yourself, you may put your headset on and then, then you lose yourself.

The variety is massive. Where do you want to lose yourself today sir?
Columbia? Rapture? 1947 L.A.? Or how about the Wild West? Limbo, maybe? Or how about you become an assassin? And old assassin or a new, modern, assassin? A ninja then? 

You can be ANYTHING and ANYWHERE you want to be.

Even playing online games is an absorbing, unique, magical expeirence. In fact, it is so magical it can't be recreated in anything else. Nothing does what games do here.

You can play with both real life friends and friends you have never met in person who live across the world or maybe just people you are not at all acquainted with.

When you play Battlefield online, with friends or strangers, you aren't you. You are a marine, fighting for survival, battling the enemy. 

Games are magical. Their immersion is deeper than that of anything else I have ever experienced. When I gamed for all that time this month, I didn't really learn much, but it made me think. Made me realise just how awesome video games are and can be. And that is just the tip of the iceberg.

I wanted to take a second to thank absolutely EVERYONE who has helped make my Bioshock Infinite ending explanation article get so big. I have had comments, tweets, support, likes and so much I can't even begin to explain how thankful I am. Thank you.

I also wanted to say a new show on the blog called Diaries Of A F*cking Mental Head will be published on here weekly. I love doing blogs but at the same time I am only good at doing large, expansive articles like this one or like my rants or my other gaming articles. This new series will be weekly and list in short paragraphs what my life over the week has been like. Hopefully it will be funny and easy to read. No emotional BS or anything so don't worry about that crap.


1 comment:

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    Reading this post reminds me of my old room mate! He always kept talking about this. I will forward this article to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read. Thanks for sharing!


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