Recently I asked myself some questions. What is my hobby? What are my passions?
I really could not come out with an answer. So I asked my wife.
And she replied, “playing games.”
I was contemplating her statement in my mind, thinking if gaming actually qualifies as a hobby.
I mean, normal hobbies are reading, sports, fishing and collecting stuff right?
Then she added, “you’re addicted to games.”
“Addicted?”, I denied. “I’m not addicted.”
“Yes, you are.” she said.
Then I started to think when this addiction started (feel free to skip to the end if you have no interest in my life history).
Like any young boy, I loved video games. I still remember we would go to those shops where you can pay RM1 to play for half an hour.
I can’t recall any specific games, but I can still remember Up-Up-Down-Down-Left-Right-Left-Right-A-B-A-B-Select-Start.
I wouldn’t say I was addicted, but I remember games could take up my interest and attention for a long time.
I remember a few things related to video games. First of all, we were always obsessed over video game arcades. For some strange reason, our beloved government only allowed those above 18 years old to go into video game arcades.
This created a desperation to get my hands on Street Fighter 2. I convinced my parents to buy me a Super-NES so I “didn’t have to go to those game arcades with smoking gangsters”.
The second memory is the first time I installed a sound card on my computer. Some of you may remember the days when computers only played silly 8-bit music from the speakers, and you actually had to pay RM300 just for music and sound.
My friends and I messed around with our computers, trying to get games working (and sharing them on 1.2MB 5 1/2 inch diskettes).
I truly fell in love with computers when I was 14, and that decided my career.
There was a year when I stopped playing games , totally abstaining in 1997 when I was in Form 5.
College days were the days when the Internet was starting to become available.
My fondest memory was playing Diablo with a bunch of strangers on Battle.net. The game quickly became boring (due to cheaters and hackers), but I enjoyed the chat forum so much.
The Internet was a pretty boring place back then, so another platform took my attention: the Sony PlayStation.
When I started working I resumed my gaming habits, purchasing a PlayStation 2.
Then Warcraft 3 and DotA came along.
I spent so much time playing games, often until 3 am in the morning.
I remember when I first joined Facebook there wasn’t anything you could do except poke people.
Then they released their platform to developers and games started coming up. Companies started to develop better games and I was totally hooked.
Most of the games had an element of time, where you had to login every few hours to play the game or risk falling behind your competitors.
I would quit a game only to find another new game taking up my attention.
I even started a separate account just to play games!
It’s Not That Bad
I’ve just re-read everything I wrote and I think I should be checked in to some clinic immediately.
I know some of you feel like dragging your children to the screen to point to my blog and tell them, “see this uncle? See he play games all his life? See la, you play games some more la? See this addict? Don’t follow this uncle”
But I hope you take into consideration that I’m just sharing one of the things I did during all those years. It’s not like I played games non-stop for my entire life.
I did finish school, completed college, started a career and had a family at the same time.
I also want to point out that I learned a lot from games, because they force me to explore new worlds all the time.
If you ask me to stop totally, it would not be possible. Games are fun, and I admit I enjoy playing games.
I’ve come to a conclusion and realization that many games offer no real value. They suck you into their world and get you to do repetitive tasks like watering and harvesting crops.
So I’ve quit most of them.
I hardly login to Facebook any more. There are no video game consoles in my house. There are no computer games installed on my PC.
I only have a few games installed on my phone, though I admit I’ve been spending too much time on Defender in the past couple of weeks.
I’ve been playing Glitch, which is interesting because it’s funny, it’s a large world and you get to do a lot. But honestly I’m losing interest. Haven’t even logged in in the past week.
So back to my original question.
Is this my hobby? Definitely!
Is this an addiction? I think my wife is right.