Monday, June 13, 2005

To Play

I was playing warcraft 3 online the other day and my teamate
asked me how old I was. A rather odd thing to ask someone who's
on your team for a mere 20-30 minutes, but I answered nonetheless.
Upon hearing that I was 20, he said something to the effect of:
"wow, and you're still playing games."

Needless to say, this caught me by suprise. Not only do I play
games regularly but so do pretty much all of my friends. I'm
assuming that the kid was around 13-14, we won but he wasn't
that good...

Well his remark got me to thinking on the act of playing, whether
it be a video game, board game, in a sandbox, or what have you.
In observations, I believe that the act of playing is closely
related to happiness. I'm not saying that playing games all day
will truly make one happy, but there is a correlation I believe.

Time to break it down. People have jobs in order to survive. Fair
enough. Yet it is a fact that over 50% of all Americans (I'm not
sure about the rest of the world, but I would guess >50%) are
not happy with their job. This stems from mainly it being a crappy
job or people's lives are consumed by their jobs. I will be focusing
upon the latter.

Obsession with work is easily staved off if one finds an activity
at which they can play, even better, several activities! This in
itself helps to diversify a person's life and prevent obsession with
one sole thing. So while play isn't the answer to all problems, it
certainly can give someone to look forward to. The possibilities of
play are actually endless as well; everyone has a game or activity
available for their age and interests. Games need not be merely
shooters on a console but can engage the mind in puzzles, strategy,
memory, and imagination. The solving of problems or engaging of
imagination are very much needed in many fields of work from
physics to writing. Next time you're feeling bored or down on life,
try picking up a game that will stimulate you.

endnote: this one didn't flow us nicely as i like, so here's a wrap up.
playing is not just an activity for kids but for all people. ever heard
psychologists talk about an "inner child?" this is related. playing
help keeps a sort of naivety that can help one make better decisions
and view life with a different perspective. in fact, this ties in with
seeing, which tom and i have touched on before and doubtless
will again.

as marshall likes to say, just remember, all things in moderation.
while habits and tradition can be good for giving structure to a
lifestyle, variety can keep things interesting. striking a balance
is the beauty of life.


  1. hey! yay playing, I agree. sports are good too. I know when you play sports you get an 'endorphine rush' (i'm guessing that's how it's spelled) .

    Also, I think that people derive their happiness/pleasure/etc just because they're doing something that they want to do, as opposed to something they are being made to do against their will. I find writing pleasurable (though i'm so out of practice it looks like crap!), but most people think it's really tedious. My guy friends play halo excessively but I think it's sorta pointless, etc.

    Also, there's something to be said about the contrast between work and play. When I'm done with my job, coming home and doing something that I want to do is just awesome. If I wake up, don't work that day and decide to play a little, it's just not as fun as when I'm totally exhausted. It's sorta like this: you can't know something's good or bad unless you know it's opposite. I wouldn't know peas tasted so horrible unless I had tasted chocolate before.

    Last thing: sometimes, what you think is fun can become horribly boring and NOT fun if you do it too much. I love swimming, I love kids, but after all the swim lessons I've been giving lately, I'm starting to hate it! I used to look forward to coming home and jumping in the pool; now I'm like "shower PLEASE." Running (which i used to loathe) looks awesome now because I don't have to get wet!

    Anyway, you made me think. Thanks! Sorry for the long comment. Hope you're having a good summer.

  2. hey, wow. good to hear from's been such a long time. no worries about the comments, they are encouraged ^_^ and i'm happy i could make you think.
    yeah, i was actually going to address your last part with another addition.
    hope your summer is awesome, keep in touch.


  3. Andrew, nice post. I've had the same thing happen playing SOCOM. It's amazing how some young people <16 respond. I'm still gaming (and playing) @ 37, and with a new son in my life I plan on going for a long time.

    Keep playing...It helps keep you young at heart.