January 26, 2015

Video Games Relapse

So, there haven’t been any updates to this blog lately. I have an explanation: I had a video game relapse recently.

I mused in the summer that I didn’t play video games much anymore. But, as I posted in a Facebook post back in November, I felt like Dragon Age Inquisition would be the biggest threat to my training season. It has been so far.

I have been very impressed with this latest iteration in the Dragon Age series. The story is compelling, the graphics are great, and the gameplay is fun. I got very immersed in the story and lost many hours to it. I would sit down and plan to play for an hour, and wind up playing for four hours. That really ate into my sleep time.

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Picture of my character in Dragon Age Redemption riding a horse. With the outfit you could easily mistake this for Red Dead Redemption.

I’m almost ashamed to say that I played over 120 hours. That’s A LOT of time! I’m a “completionist” at heart and so I go out of way to complete all the side-quests. And even though I’ve played over 120 hours, I’m not even done my first playthrough yet.

I’m playing it on my PS3. I feel like the same was designed for the next generation systems (PS4 and XBOX One) because on my PS3 it lags, loads rather slowly, crashes often, and some of the textures don’t load properly. But, I still love it!

And the only reason I stopped, was because I found a new game!

Picture of my 3DS and the title screen for Pokemon Alpha Sapphire
Picture of my 3DS and the title screen for Pokemon Alpha Sapphire

I got Pokemon Alpha Sapphire for the Nintendo 3DS and my inner 11-year-old came out and I played a lot. I had a similar relapse last spring with Pokemon Y. A difference of being on the 3DS is that it’s portable so I can play it at the kitchen table. And, it doesn’t lag like Dragon Age Inquisition.

You and me both, Steven!
You and me both, Steven!

I’ve been waiting a long time for this game. Pokemon Ruby or Sapphire were the only games I didn’t play. Well, sorta. I played a bit of a computer emulated version on a computer many years ago. But, I’ve owned and played every other generation of Pokemon. So, after years of teasing, Nintendo finally re-released this “Generation III” game with the graphics and gameplay of its Generation VI peer Pokemon X and Y.

Double's battle in Pokemon Alpha Sapphire
Double’s battle in Pokemon Alpha Sapphire
These screenshots don't due it justice. The 3DS really does generate 3D images without needing 3D glasses. Magic!!
These screenshots don’t due it justice. The 3DS really does generate 3D images without needing 3D glasses. Magic!!

But, at least the game remembered my birthday!

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Part of the reason why it’s been so easy to lose myself in video games is because it doesn’t require much energy to play. If I’m exhausted from a day of work and/or training, it’s very easy to sit and push some buttons. And the stimulation from the game keeps me awake when other activities like reading or painting would put me to sleep.

But, I’ve taken a drastic remedial approach to it. I’ve packed up the Nintendo 3DS, and unplugged the PS3 and packed away its controller so that I’m not tempted by them. I really want to play them because they’re fun, but this cold-turkey, Machiavellian change will help me get back to important things. I am re-focused on sleep, training, and weight loss. And I can spend more time working on this blog and dating.

What kind of things really distract you from training?


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5 Comments »

  1. Robin says:

    I can’t comment much on the video games as I don’t play but this post made me chuckle. Like you gave yourself an intervention. Sounds like a good plan!! You’re young, get out there and enjoy the world.

    • Hi Robin! It really did feel like I gave myself an intervention! I had withdrawal and bargaining with myself and everything!
      I know I can spare 3-4 hours a week comfortably to do it, especially since it’s the dead of winter and training leaves me prettymuch immobile and effectively bedridden some days.
      But I worry that I’ll want to play more than the time I have available…

      *sigh*

  2. macnic says:

    I’m with Robin, 100%. Actually, my neighbour took their kid’s Xbox away because they played (and fought) too much over it. We got a WII U at Christmas and my four year old is already better at Mario World than I am. We do try to limit the screen time to earn it though. I can see how it can cause problems. This post made me want to get Alasdair the Pokeman game for his 3DS – is it appropriate for an 8 year old?

    • PokeMAN… lol. The massive gaming stereotype is that “grown ups” call it PokeMAN instead of Pokémon :p

      The game is very appropriate for an 8-year-old. It’s less violent then TV cartoons. And since most of it is text based, it’s essentially non-stop reading and I’ll admit helped my reading a bit when I was really young. There are some more advanced mechanics to it that Alasdair probably won’t worry about (i.e. the “catch rate” of catching a Pokémon is a 17 variable differential equation!!).

      The funny thing is that the Pokémon series of games is designed for 10-year-olds, but played most feverishly and often by people my age (men and women). While the brutally violent “Mature” games designed for people my age are dominated by 10-year-olds. If I had young kids, I’d much rather they play Pokémon than Destiny or Grand Theft Auto. The 3DS has some pretty nifty parental controls too (that I imagine few parents know about and use).

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