Solitary Recreation of Consequence
I have trouble playing awesome video games now because every time I indulge so I imagine that I’m burning away time from my increasingly finite life in a solitary recreation rather than performing a concrete deed. My play is fun but is it of lasting consequence? Just the same I write these blog posts know that each one completed and published is a literal record of how I spent that time, so there is an achievement with evidence thereof. Yet I need to pray and beg for each of those writings to be genuinely relevant and consequential, because it must be read to hope to matter and upon reading lessons must be acted upon for only actions have consequences.
Playing Bioshock for Xbox 360 is analogous to reading a book. We read novels primarily as solitary recreation. The book is enjoyed. The books is absorbed. The book is experienced. The book is read. The book is finished. Hopefully the book is remembered. Entertainment is derived. Ideas are synthesized.
Perhaps I should do what Stephan Pastis does: he writes down the title of every book he finishes upon finishing that book.
I really do this. Tell me I’m not the only one. pic.twitter.com/eUQ5nbrgQO
— Stephan Pastis (@stephanpastis) August 18, 2014
One could note that the knowledge of those readings will die with him; perhaps the knowledge will not; yet it is how Pastis marks time and derives enjoyment. To that end reading a book could certainly prove consequential in a more immediate way although everything we absorb and experience can turn us around prove to change us and mold us. Which does not mean that my ownership and reading of two Deep Black novels will help or harm anyone else in this world. In fact I’ll write that I read them, hopefully an impression of those books, and hopefully sell them as $1 will certainly be a more economical use of space than 600 + pages of thriller paperback novel.
This is in part why I ponder the merits of pursuing Let’s Play technology. Wouldn’t recording my play and adding humorous thoughts or attempts at profound observation affirm the worth of what I did? Would it deny that I wasted an irretrievable interval of my life? It is narcissism and even then it leads to begging and hoping that my work gains an audience and has greater meaning among that audience than burning more of their time. Also I’d hope that I could monetize my very own recreation.
I play video games alone. I have very few “Friends” on Xbox Live or the Playstation Network. My only friend of Steam is my oldest nephew. There is no social media network that congratulates me for “trophies” or “achievements”. Online multiplayer has little appeal. It’s filled mostly with teenagers taking advantage of anonymity to maximize opportunities for exercising juvenile behavior. It’s like reading a book. There are no book clubs with Chris Arndt as a member.
It’s a good thing that I’m an introvert. At least I think I am. I hope I am. I better not just be an awkward extrovert.
Games are simulations of action. Novels are prose manifesting mental imagery of events and feelings. These can provide opportunities for personal interaction in the real world, yet as often as not, more often than not, are attempts to achieve a feeling of action through personal inaction. Then again, it is entertainment and entertainment has its place. Entertainment has value.
But surely while I was trying out 007 Quantum of Solace for Xbox 360 I could have vacuumed the kitchen carpet or finished that obituary for my late hero Fred Thompson. Quantum of Solace isn’t a very good first person shooter.
The consequences of the games we play, how we recreate, how we experience recreation, are upon ourselves and are about ourselves. Just as actual experiences within real life change us, shape us, so does our play. The virtual experience, the simulation of life, the immersion into story impacts our respective lives. And in that there is consequences. Still though it is not the same as an actual manly deed. Next I’ll address manly deeds in contrast with mere sentiment, thanks to the help of older, wiser philosophers than I.The consequences of our play lie in how it shapes our selves and influences our attitudes. Yet attitudes are not enough when there arrives a genuine need for action in the real world. This is the next step. We can illustrate that with current events and how we react to them.