I probably shouldn’t have spent 3,000 hours of my life playing computer games.
I want to be a comedian now, and from those gaming hours, I got only maybe 12 jokes.
To skeptical readers who don’t believe that I have played that much, here’s a quick cred-establishing rundown of my games:
When I was six, I played the demo of Doom on my dad’s computer (when he wasn’t home on the weekends). The game was scary—darkly-lit with loads of monsters.
Then a few years later I got my own computer, and with it played: Warcraft II, Unreal Tournament, StarCraft, StarCraft: Brood War, Need for Speed 2, Need for Speed: Porsche, Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit, The Sims, Command & Conquer: Red Alert, Wing Commander: Prophecy, Free Space 2, [fast-forward to 2016] and Dark Souls!
(Note: Dark Souls I stopped playing after beating Dragon Slayer Ornstein and Executioner Smough. That’s two bosses defeated simultaneously. And after beating them I said, “Alright; I have therefore beaten all video games! I’m 29! Oh! No!”)
Again, the point is I spent my spare time playing computer games instead of making comedy.
I’ll admit it, zoning off into a computer screen has been bad for my comedy career.
I’ll tell my co-workers at the pediatric clinic that I’m pursuing a comedy career, and they’ll ask me what jokes I’ve made recently. Instead, I’ll then give them some video game recommendations.
For example, The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth (with the Afterbirth DLC) is great! And it’s getting another expansion in January!
So, why’s all this really a mistake?
That’s a deep, philosophical question, because it’s also saying: “So, wannabe humorist, you’re 29, and you’ve wasted most of your developed world spare time on video games. So? Just go make comedy now.”
And that’s, kinda a good attitude toward life: So I wasted 10 years. Just don’t waste the next ones.
But, I sweat it!
Spending my leisure life playing games was a big mistake. A huge mistake!
A mistake young readers shouldn’t make!
Because at my current age, I have to make an existential choice:
>> I have to choose between the hard-to-make, precarious, comedy career, and the being financially-stable future husband/dad man.
>> I have to choose between staying in a semi-stable, uninteresting job that pays fine, whilst (maybe) getting married to someone, and (maybe) getting divorced; and then years later finding myself telling the kid(s), “You kid(s) should do for a living what you care about! I didn’t do it! And you should! Listen to daddy; he’s not a hypocrite and a coward!”
So I choose comedy.
And I choose comedy even though it means not having a family. This because I believe the following:
It’s a capitalist world, and you kinda need money. In other words, you need to stay employed at something enough of the time, or have a decent money tree, the latter of which I don’t have.
I love making jokes and maybe there’s still a small chance I can make a living on it.
Making brilliant jokes that encourage people to connect with their fellow man is way better for humanity than being a sh*t husband and a lying dad. The kind of dad who says, “Hey son(s) and/or daughter(s) of mine: you should spend your workdays doing what you love. Just like I don’t. Your mother hates me; and we’re staying together because: money. Please! Don’t spend all your spare time playing video games unless you’re gonna use it to make a living!”
And now before I sign off, I do want to defend computer games. Because I have so far made it sound like they’re the destroyers of the human race—and that’s not quite an accurate depiction.
Here’s the fairer depiction: I believe that computer games are games. And because they’re games, they are great forms of socializing. They’re great reinforcers of social bonds if the players use them that way.
In other words, I recommend we humans play them in the same place with one or more people we’re trying to get along with.
Playing with friends online is okay, but far better is playing with them in the same room.
Yep, great computer games are great, and I still think about them all the time!
So maybe the Onion is onto something when they tell us video game may not be so bad:
Author: Paul C Fenoglio
Image: Denis Bocquet/ Flickr
Apprentice editor: Lindsay Lock Butler; Editor: Travis May