I am a student studying English. I plan on being a publisher with the hope of writing urban fantasy novels. I'm critical of the story and writing aspects of the game more than anything else because a fantastic looking game can be utterly marred by a crap story and I really hope that I can show future gamers the importance of this.
On January 7th, I had decided to partake in a fast of games for 21 days. The reason started out as spiritual: to deny myself a comfort in order to grow closer to God. However, I had done this type of fast before with little results and doing food was out of the question. So instead, I did something that I slightly regret doing: I found the most god awful game I could think of and said "Only this." The game I chose was I Wanna Be The Guy, the epitome of the most bullshit game design known to man. It was not created to bring pleasure or even satisfaction to the play. It was made to bring pain, fire and honestly could be a violation of the Geneva Convention. As much as I hated it, I knew that some good might come out of this. I certainly was not let down.
The first week was interesting. I had spent a large amount of time getting my schedule ready for school and readjusting to doing classes, but I had time to play. Normally, I would have reached for some Champions Online, Payday: The Heist, or even some Fallout: New Vegas to kill some time before I called it a day. But, all I had was Guy and it's awfulness. I honestly tried to get some kind of spiritual fulfillment from the game, but I was just looking for an excuse to explain why I was playing it. I was, and slightly still am, uncomfortable with sharing my faith with people because of the problems the topic brings up. Conflict used to be in my nature, but as I become more of a kind person, I tend to avoid things like that. However, explaining why I was playing such an atrocious thing gained more head scratching than anything else I've ever done. "Why play something you hate?" "Why not just play Skyrim?" "What's the point?"
I found myself asking these questions as I entered into the second week. What exactly was I supposed to be getting from this? I didn't spend more time praying or reading my Bible , but I instead was looking for a reason to just not play the damn thing. I found myself stuck in a place that left me more confused than where I started. But on day 10, it clicked together when I looked at a post I made for school. I was able to process information and understand things a lot better. I noticed that I was studying harder and retaining what I read for much longer. Everything seemed clearer and I could focus more. I found what I had been looking for. Gaming was holding me back.
I'm not saying that I decided to stave off games forever. What I realized what that I put more thought into playing games than anything else. Instead of working on school work or practicing my writing, I played games. I actually read the things I used to write and found that it was plagued with things that I had seen in the games I was playing. Gaming had slowly seeped its way into the very thing I hold so dear: the creative process.
By the start of Week 3, I had given up playing the game all together. Instead, I worked on a side project that I had been putting off for months so I could fit more "game" into my schedule. I also threw out all of my old writings and decided to start fresh. Gaming was the last thing I thought about not because I couldn't play, but because I found other things to do. My passion for creating my own worlds was rekindled and that was what I needed.
Of course, that doesn't mean I didn't indulge. I spent a few hours late last night playing Champions Online because the fast was over at midnight. The difference, though, is that while I aim to go back to playing, I'm not going to worry about being a certain level by a certain day or figuring out how to fit yet another game into my budget when I haven't even finished most of the ones I already have. I learned how to balance out my enjoyment of games with the rest of my life. It's something that a lot of people have problems with, especially in a culture like gaming. We're constantly told to go out and buy the next new game because if we don't, we'll never be able to keep up. I can say that unless you review games for a living or work in the industry, that simply isn't the case. You don't really need to buy every new game, just like you don't need to eat that quadruple Whopper. You can if you want, but it's gonna throw some things off in the long run. You look for reasons to justify rather than taking a step back and going "Something's gotta give."
At any rate, the pay off for me was fantastic. However, I would rather get kicked in the face with a spiked sledgehammer than ever go near that game ever again.