Done guessing? OK.
Yeah, it’s that final stat, which shows I’ve spent 51 hours of my life staring at this particular copy of Bejeweled. I don’t have any particular memory of that time spent. I don’t look upon those games with happiness or any other sort of emotion. That 51 hours is a black hole in my brain. All I know is that I spent 51 hours staring at Bejeweled, accomplishing nothing except getting better at Bejeweled.
I know that Bejeweled is a simple logic game, and it probably exercises my brain somehow. I know that human beings, of which I am theoretically one, need downtime upon occasion. But I think the fact that I look back upon this time as a vast pool of nothing, when I could have been doing something else that was both relaxing and actually enjoyable (watching a movie, taking a walk, sleeping), it all seems such a waste.
Here’s a quick list of things I could have done for 51 hours instead:
- Watch around 25 movies off my massive Megalist.
- Watch all of Berlin Alexanderplatz… 3.4 times.
- Drive from Minneapolis, MN to Austin, TX. And back. And then back to Austin.
- Burn 30,600 calories on my rowing machine (that’s around 9 pounds of fat).
- Rally my vast army of lizard people and conquer Belgium.
I know other people actually enjoy playing video games. I do, upon occasion, also actually enjoy gameplay. I enjoyed playing Portal once through, but don’t have a need to play it again. I enjoy playing various Civilization incarnations when I’m playing against real people, in the same room with these real people, with or without beer and pizza.
Yet for the most part, when I play a video game, my brain either gets bored within a few minutes, or drops into some sort of primitive, obsessive strategy state. For days. I’ve never been very interested in games that require grace or reflexes, but anything that is turn-based and requires strategy will eat my life. If I start playing Civilization IV as a solo game, I will not resurface until it is done. I’ve played Civilization for literally days straight. I even called in sick to work once, many years ago, because I couldn’t tear myself away from a Civilization game.
And every time, I come out on the other side, wondering what I did, where the time went, and what I got out of it.
That really can’t be normal.
Thus, I feel that video games are the great pop culture revolution that has passed me by. I don’t get excited about new game releases because I can’t. Because I don’t want my life to evaporate while I don’t even notice. Because my brain just doesn’t know when to stop. It’s like I’m a dry alcoholic. A touch of pixels = instant bender.
So I’ve hidden Bejeweled on my iPhone, so I don’t play it on impulse. I haven’t gotten the courage to just delete it. I must have something to show where 2+ days of my life went, right?